Emeka Okereke is a Nigerian visual artist and writer who lives and works between Lagos and Berlin, moving from one to the other on a frequent basis. A past member of the renowned Nigerian photography collective Depth of Field (DOF), he holds a bachelor’s/master’s degree from the Ecole Nationale supérieure des Beaux Arts de Paris and has exhibited in biennales and art festivals in cities across the world, notably Lagos, Bamako, Cape Town, London, Berlin, Bayreuth, Frankfurt, Nuremberg, Brussels, Johannesburg, New York, Washington, Barcelona, Seville, Madrid and Paris. In 2015, his work was exhibited at the 56th Venice Biennale, in the context of an installation titled A Trans-African Worldspace.
Okereke is the founder and artistic director of Invisible Borders Trans-African Project, an artist-led initiative that addresses gaps and misconceptions posed by frontiers dividing the 54 countries of the African continent. The project’s flagship undertaking is the Invisible Borders Trans-African Road Trip, wherein a dozen artists, including photographers, writers, filmmakers and performance artists collectively travel across Africa to explore and participate in various photographic events, festivals and exhibitions, while engaging on a daily basis with, and producing work about/in collaboration with, the people and the places they encounter.
Okereke's work oscillates between diverse mediums. He employs photography, video, poetry and performative interventions in the exploration of one over-arching theme: that of borders.
Another aspect of his artistic practice lies in the intersection between art-making and pedagogy, specifically, lecturung and project organising – coordinating artistic interventions that promote exchanges cutting across national and international platforms. In 2008, he organized the first ever photographic exchange project between schools in France and Nigeria – the Yaba College of Arts and Technology Lagos and Ecole Nationale supérieure des Beaux Arts de Paris. This was followed by Crossing Compasses: Lagos-Berlin Photo Exchange and Converging Visions: Nigeria-Netherlands Photo Exchange (2012).
Okereke has served as guest/visiting lecturer in several art platforms and learning institutions – most recently Hartford University’s MFA program in photography and Summer Academy of Fine Arts, Salzburg Austria (July 2018).
In 2018, Emeka Okereke was conferred France’s prestigious insignia of Chevalier dans l’ordre des Arts et Lettres (Knight in the Order of Arts and Letters) by the Ministry of Culture of France as recognition of his contribution to the discourse on art in Africa, France, and the world at large.
Image credit: Ayotola
- 2018 Insignia of 'Chevalier dans l'ordre des Arts et Lettres' by Ministry of Culture of France.
- 2016 Nominee, Prix Elysée for Photography (2016 - 2018)
- 2016 Long list nominee, Prix Pictet, 2016
- 2009 Artist of the Year, Future Awards Nigeria
- 2008 Winner, Visa Pour la Creation for project "Bagamoyo", Maputo Mozambique
- 2004 TV5, Paris Prize for Best Photography at the Exhibition "Made in Africa", Milan Italy.
- 2003 Best Young Photographer of the 5th Festival of photography. Bamako, Mali.
- 2009 – Present Founder/ Artistic Director of Invisible Borders Trans-African Photographers Organisation.
- 2018: “Exploring a Void”. Salzburger Kunstverein, Salzburg Austria (Solo Exhibition)
- 2018: “Whose Land Have I Lit on Now?”, Savvy Contemporary Berlin
- 2017: "Collective Intelligence", Centre Gorges Pompidou, Paris, France.
- 2017 A Trans-African Worldspace, Amsterdam Photography Museum (FOAM)
- 2017 “History ASAP”, Kunstraum, Dusseldorf, Germany.
- 2017 “Collective Thinking, For Freedom”, Aperture Foundation Gallery NY
- 2016 “No Borders” Gallery Dominique Fiat, Paris, France
- 2016 Unseen Art Photo Fair, with Invisible Borders Trans-African Project
- 2015 56th Venice Biennale of Arts, International exhibition curated by Okwui Enwezor.
- 2012 New Museum of New York, exhibition with Invisible Borders Trans-African Project.
- 2011 ATOPIA – Art and City in 21st Century, CCCB, Barcelona.
- 2009 Photoquai Biennale, Musée Quai Branly Paris.
- 2009 2nd Pan African Festival of Arts of Algeria, Algiers.
- 2009 2nd Thessaloniki Biennale of Arts, Thessaloniki
- 2009 10th Havana Biennale, Havana.
- 2009 A Tale of One City, Oslo Museum, Oslo.
- 2008 Bagamoyo – Photography and the Useful Space, Catembe, Maputo. (Solo)
- 2008 Unspoken Hero, Neukölln Museum, Berlin. (Solo)
- 2006 Snap Judgement, International Center of Photography, New York. Curated by Okwui.
- 2003 5th Bamako Biennale of Photography, Bamako, Mali.
- July 2018: Lecturer at Summer Academy of Fine Arts, Salzburg Austria. Photography class “Exploring a Void”
- May 2018: Guest lecturer Hartford Art School MFA Photography Student Critique Berlin Session
- October 2017: Guest Lecturer, Hartford University MFA Photography. San Francisco, California.
- May 2017: Guest Lecturer, Hartford University MFA Photography. Berlin, Germany.
- February 2017: Critical Writing Workshop, Nlele Institute of Photography, Lagos, Nigeria.
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