• 30.06.17: Emeka Okereke participates in "Biafra's Children" Conference, Athens Documenta 14

    Organized by Olu Oguibe, with Faith Adiele, Phillip U. Effiong, Okey Ndibe, Eddie Iroh, Vivian Ogbonna, Obiageli Okigbo, E.C.Osondu, Emeka Okereke

    Fifty years ago, in 1967, a bitter civil war broke out in the newly independent West African nation of Nigeria, a war that would create one of the greatest humanitarian disasters of the twentieth century. Lasting over thirty months, the Biafran War claimed an estimated three million lives, mostly children who died due to malnutrition and starvation after Nigeria imposed a global blockade on Biafrans, who were demanding a secure homeland. The previous year, tens of thousands of Biafrans had been murdered in waves of ethnic cleansing pogroms in different parts of Nigeria. This forced an estimated two million survivors to flee back to their ancestral homeland in then Eastern Nigeria, in search of a safe haven. The ensuing humanitarian crisis and continued violence against this population eventually led them to declare independence from Nigeria, upon which Nigeria declared war on the breakaway nation.

    The death and carnage in Biafra caused global outrage. So did the collusion of global powers, especially Britain and the Soviet Union, in suppressing the Biafrans and their struggle for survival. In 1968, it was estimated that nearly 6,000 Biafrans were dying daily, most of them starving children. Photographs of Biafra’s malnourished children with their bloated bellies adorned the covers of news magazines and evening television news programs worldwide. John Lennon returned his knighthood to the Queen in protest, and Jean-Paul Sartre described Biafra as the conscience of the twentieth century. Even Winston Churchill, grandson of the British prime minister, wrote a series of newspaper columns deploring the situation in Biafra. Around the world students staged protests, sit-ins at embassies, and even a hunger strike in Norway. On May 29, 1969, Bruce Mayrock, a twenty-year old student of Columbia University in New York set himself on fire in front of the United Nations to protest Secretary General U Thant’s failure to take measures to stop the war of genocide against Biafra. Mayrock died the following day. Musicians like Jimi Hendrix and Joan Baez held concerts to raise awareness and generate relief aid for Biafra. A group of young French medics who volunteered in Biafra would go on to found the charity, Doctors without Borders (Médecins sans Frontières) in response to the human suffering that they witnessed there.

    For two days this summer, June 30–July 1, 2017, child survivors from the Biafran War gather for the first time in Athens as part of documenta 14 to share their stories of living through the monumental tragedies and traumas of conflict, mass displacement, and separation from family as well as bereavement, famine, and hunger. They will also share stories of survival, which are indebted to the resilience of the human spirit and the humanitarian intervention of people around the world who sent relief aid to Biafra or opened their doors to Biafra’s refugee children.

    Biafra is relevant today, not only because it represented the nearly impossible struggle of a persecuted people in their fight for self-determination and the establishment of a safe homeland, but also because the subsequent humanitarian disaster is mirrored in the plight of refugees fleeing similar crises in Syria and the Middle East today and their attempt to find safety in Europe and other parts of the world. The survivor testimonies of Biafra’s children reiterate the human cost of conflict. Alone the presence and the survival of these women and men, some of who now have children of their own, underline how humanitarian intervention can help save generations and preserve nations.

    The event has been organized by Olu Oguibe, one of the child survivors, whose archival meditation on the war, Biafra Time Capsule, is on display at the National Museum of Contemporary Art (EMST) through July 16, 2017.

    For More information, see: The Parliament of Bodies: Biafra's Children: A survivors' Gathering 

  • 31.03.2017: Emeka Okereke, Panelist at 'Inhabiting The Borders', Paris Art Fair 2017

    This day of encounters and talks entitled 'Inhabiting the Border' is part of the fair's programme linked to Africa*. Open to one and all, ‘Inhabiting the Border’, is based on an idea by Marie-Ann Yemsi. It aims to foster meetings and exchanges with the key players and cultural producers who are committed to promoting contemporary artists from the African continent and the diaspora. Comprising 4 round tables, it brings together artists, exhibition curators, institutional representatives, collectors and thinkers, all of whom are working in various ways to reflect upon, construct and elaborate different outlooks and new perspectives on the contemporary artistic production of the African continent. Organised by Art Paris Art Fair with the support of the Institut Français, this conference day is hosted by La Colonie, an independent space for free thinkers that was founded by artist Kader Attia. 

    Emeka Okereke will be speaking in the following panels:

    10am - 11:30am: Contemporary African art… to what end? 
    The visibility and recognition of contemporary African artists is on the rise, with the artists themselves taking an active role, as well as being the witnesses of this evolution. Their wish is that this affiliation with the African continent, which is often a complex one, no longer just comes down to an ‘original’ and simplistic identity, one that is instrumentalized to boot. What is the place of these artists in the art world today and in the future? 
    Moderator : Simon Njami, Philosopher, Writer, Exhibitions Curator 
    Joël Andrianomearisoa, Artist 
    Emo de Medeiros, Artist 
    Katia Kameli, Artist 
    Myriam Mihindou, Artist 
    Emeka Okereke, Artist, Writer, Founder and Artistic Director of Invisible Borders - The trans-African Project.

    4:45pm - 6:15pm: Inhabiting borders: what are the ‘geo-aesthetic’ perspectives? 

    How can one endeavour to change the focus of ideas and imagination in order to find another way of inhabiting borders? According to Edouard Glissant, one of the functions of writing is to ensure that there is a coming together of those places where the world is envisaged. Guest authors, thinkers and culture professionals explore crucial aesthetic and ethical domains and, in so doing, find themselves at the heart of current debate on the meaning of art and culture and their potential in terms of changing imagination and knowledge. What is the current state of play? What remains to be done and what challenges await in the near future? 

    Moderator : Dominique Malaquais, Art historian and Political scientist, Researcher at the Center for African World Studies (IMAF / CNRS) 
    Nadia Yala KisukidiPhilosopher, Conference Lecturer and Programme Director at the International College of Philosophy 
    Jean-Pierre Bekolo, Filmmaker, Author and Film Producer 
    Emeka Okereke, Artist, Writer, Founder and Artistic Director of Invisible Borders - The Trans-African Project.

    * This first sentence has been modified from its original version as published on the website of the Paris Art Fair, to exclude the term "Africa Guest of Honour" as used by the organisers of the Fair. Emeka Okereke has made it clear from the onset that this notion of Africa being a "Guest of Honour" in a Paris Art Fair is highly problematic. This invariably informed his decision to be part of the talks at La Colonie, which although organised by the Art Fair, happens outside its central premises. Here, Okereke hopes for a platform and setting where productive conversations can be had amongst key players and audience sensitive to Africa's place and relationship with the rest of the world, and to further converse the agency of Africans in moving the notion of 'Africa'  forward beyond narratives or positionings of otherness and limiting definitions.  

    To see the full program information as published by the Art Fair, click here

  • 02.02.2017: History ASAP, Dusseldorf Photo Weekend

  • 03.12.2016: Emeka Okereke participates in "Promised Land", a London Symposium focusing on Border Politics

    Promised Land symposium – Saturday 3 December – Central Saint Martins. Culture and Conflict CC.

     The next event in our Promised Land programme, in partnership with the Goethe-Institut London, is a one-day symposium on Saturday 3 December at Central Saint Martins in London. This symposium provides a platform for artists, curators, writers, intellectuals and experts to address the promise of Europe as a place of human rights, security and prosperity; and the Europe of borders, refugee camps, populism, and heightened nationalism.

     The event will include artist presentations, discussions and screenings of artists’ films. Confirmed speakers include Ulrike Guerot, Berlin’s European School of Governance; artist Tobias Zielony whose several projects addressing refugees in Germany culminated in a major installation at the German pavilion in Venice in 2015; Emeka Okereke, artist and initiator of Invisible Borders, Nigeria; Nanna Heidenreich, Professor of Digital Narratives at the International Film School, Cologne; artist Phoebe Boswell whose work is anchored in an exploration of ‘home’; Giacomo Orsini, conducting research into borders at the University of Essex; and artist Nikolaj Bendix Skyum Larsen. The day will begin with Christoph Schlingensief’s film, Foreigners Out! (2002); and include a new work commissioned for this programme, Quicksand, by Nikolaj Skyum Bendix Larsen; and in the evening Philip Scheffner’s Havarie (2016).

    For more information, visit:

  • Emeka Okereke nominated for the "Prix Elysée 2016 - 2018"

    Emeka Okereke is one of the 8 nominees for the second edition of the Elysee Museum "Prix Elysée". For more information visit:

    Discover Emeka Okereke's Project titled "As We Recede" which he will be working on with the nominee's production grant:

    Keep checking for updates on the progress of Emeka Okereke's project. 

  • 11.12.15 - 27.02.16: "NO BORDERS", Emeka Okereke at Dominique Fiat Gallery, Paris

    Galerie Fiat Gallery
    16, rue des Coutures Saint-Gervais
    75003 Paris
    11 December 2015 - 27 February 2016. 


    Emeka Okereke
    Safâa Erruas
    Abdoulaye Konaté
    Nicola Lo Calzo

    Emeka Okereke:  Fire to Ash #surfaceofthings #abuja #kubwa #borderbeingproject #fire #borderbeings #transgressingfrontiers, Instagram series. 2015. 20 cm x 20 cm Courtesy of Artist/L'Agence à Paris/ Galerie Dominique Fiat.

    “The border exists but for this plenitude so as to go beyond it, and through it to share the differences fully.” -Edouard Glissant

    The border, real, symbolic or imaginary, has never been so present in our approach and understanding of the world and its movement. Are we the contemporaries of this world, mere observers of the threats and promises of a heavy time, or are we "of this world," full participants of the disasters and possibilities? Let us leave the question open and unresolved. But consider for a moment that only imaginations, in all of their diversity, can, without visas, pass through the walls and cross the borders that separate us in a very real way. In this perspective, the association of the work of Safaa Erruas, Abdoulaye Konaté, Nicola Lo Calzo and Emeka Okereke, is part of the free movement of imaginations that stimulate each other, are mutually revitalized, and shared. The finesse of Safaa Erruas’ monochrome installations responds to the polychromatic explosion of Abdoulaye Konaté drapes. The black and white images of a world that is both unified and divided by Emeka Okereke’s goods are in counterposition to the color photographs of a living world that remembers the crime of slavery in Nicola Lo Calzo’s work. We could develop at will these visible and invisible links between these four imaginations, without ever exhausting their irreducible singularities, but on the contrary, deepening the questions raised by each work. The border is a paradox, a work of art is a paradox. If pain is tender for Safaa Erruas, the collective is singular for Emeka Okereke, if memory is alive for Nicola Lo Calzo, the conscience of the world is secret for Abdoulaye Konaté. Memberships to a territory, a language, a community, are never just starting points; an artistic expression is a journey whose stake is more than ever to “go beyond” all borders. No Borders or Cross Borders? Once again, let it remain an open ended question as with all human endeavor that is escaped and not a closed world. 

  • 14.07 - 31.08: The Rabat Residency – A Collaboration between Emeka Okereke and Emmanuel Iduma

    Title: The Rabat Residency
    Artists: Emeka Okereke and Emmanuel Iduma
    Date: 14th July - 31st August 2015

    Themba is Dead. Lagos, 2015. Copyright Emeka Okereke, Courtesy The Rabat Residency 

    From July 14 until August 31, Emeka Okereke and Emmanuel Iduma will embark on a journey which explores the route and stories of many travelers and settlers caught up in border tensions between Rabat, Tangier and Melilla. Their focus will primarily be on the everyday lives and stories of the people they encounter, with hopes that the works created will be reflections, questions and deductions from their experiences.  This collaborative work is premised on the ability of narratives to uncover the tensions in migration and vagrancy. They will find unique ways to interview and make portraits of immigrants they encounter, hoping to portray in the process the impulses that give rise to (sometimes) ill-fated movement.This will not be a research-oriented trip as such, neither is the aim to produce a scholarly work. Their goal during these six weeks is to implicate themselves, as visitors and strangers in Morocco, in the everyday lives of travelers and immigrants.

    The process and outcome of this project will be presented at intervals at Appartement 22 during which the artists will share their experiences and thought processes with the local artists and audience.

    In the course of preparation, Emeka Okereke was refused Moroccan Visa by the emabssy in Abuja, Nigeria. However, this obstruction has provided an opening for the rethinking of the conceptual premise of the project. 

    Therefore the collaborative project continues regardless of the outcome of Emeka Okereke’s visa application. In the first place, a photographer’s inability to get to the site where he intended to make photographs, based on bureaucratic restrictions, can be the impetus for a conceptual response. The photographic work produced will be triggered by generative conversations Emeka and Emmanuel will have by proxy. The photographs would be based on the intersection of experiences—one in Morocco, the other in Nigeria. In other words, at points where the conversation strikes a remarkable (or familiar) chord between the two realities. It will resonate with histories of performance photography, and expand on the possibilities for the kind of collaborative work artists can produce remotely, and in collaboration. 

    The writer could, in one sense, possess the eye of a photographer, writing about Moroccan encounters and experience devoid of photographic representations. The photographer, in another sense, becomes freed from the constraints of producing merely physical evidence of migration in Morocco; he turns instead to the traces of movement and estrangement in his immediate community, creating photographic works anchored to the carriers of these traces and underlined by the experiences of the writer-photographer conversations.  As collaborators, the writer and the photographer exchange, and work with, conceptual toolboxes. 

    Their work together emphasises borderless artistic communication. Consequently, the restriction placed on Emeka’s movement is subverted by the continued dialogue he has with Emmanuel. The possibilities for this dialogue are endless. The artists would exchange notes, photographs, video clips, audio recordings, found documents; materials with which they construct a bridge between absence and presence, and with which they deride the illogicality of borders.

    Hence, the following elements will shape the continuation of the collaborative project:

    1. There are carriers of the experience of estrangement and obstruction of movement in many African countries, including Nigeria. Their narratives ensure that the previously endangered link (Emeka’s contact with Morocco as a landscape of movement) is reconstructed.
    2. Conversations between Emeka and Emmanuel will occur within the framework of the residency, ensuring that the photographs and writings produced are generated from mutual considerations. 
    3. The considerations for the work will be informed by materials exchanged in the six-week conversation process: drawings, notes, photographs, found documents, audio recordings, etc. 
    4. The outcome of the collaborative project will de-emphasize the absence of Emeka, instead making that absence integral to the process of reflection, and using it as a fodder for an imaginative response to the problem of borders, movement, and estrangement.

    The materials generated during the course of the project are components of a final presentation, in Rabatas well as intermittent diffusion in Appartement 22's Radio 22. 

    This project is in collaboration and hosted by Appartement 22 with Abdellah Karoum as the curator.  

    See links to the outcome of the project so far:

    Recorded conversation featured in Radio 22:

    More details and to follow the progress of the project at Appartement 22's website:

  • 09.05 - 22.11 : Emeka Okereke at the Venice Biennale with the Invisible Borders Trans-African Project

    Invisible Borders has been invited to participate at the #Venice Biennale, titled All the World's Futures and curated by Okwui Enwezor. Emeka Okereke is the Artistic Director of Invisible Borders. His photographic and video works will created over the course of 5 editions of The Road Trip Project will be prominently featured alongside works of other participants. Below is an excerpt of the the Invisible Borders announcement.

    "We are excited to be a part of this renowned event, showcasing artists, film makers, theatre productions and much more from all over the world. 

    Our presentation in the 56th Art Biennale includes a space-installation under the title A Trans-African Worldspace.  It aims to present the Invisible Borders project as a complimentary association between process and outcome. It will emphasize on the collective, dynamic and organic nature of the project while preserving the individuality of the body of works created by various artists. Moreover, we will present in the ARENA a feature length documentary about Invisible Borders followed by a discussion on the State of Things in the trans-African contemporary art scene and the critical ideas at the center of our practice.

    Congratulations to the 136 artists invited to participate, including John Akomfrah, Karo Akpokiere, Sammy Baloji, Nidhal Chamekh, Marlene Dumas, Kay Hassan, Samson Kambalu, Goncalo Mabunda, Ibrahim Mahama, Abu Bakarr Mansaray, Wangechi Mutu, Cheikh Ndiaye, Emeka Ogboh, Joachim Schonfeldt, Massinissa Selmani, Fatou Kande Senghor, Mikhael Subotzky, Barthelemy Toguo,

     Hosted across various venues in Venice the Biennale will open to the public on 9th May and will run until 22nd November. This opportunity to experience some of the world's most current and exceptional artists is both a pleasure and honour and we look forward to sharing our vision, ideas and creativity.

    Click here for more information and details of all participants. "


  • 02.06 - 31.10.14: 5th Edition of the Invisible Borders Road Trip: Lagos to Sarajevo

    Emeka Okere is the Artistic Director and one of the partcipants of the 5th edition of the Invisible Borders Road Trip from Lagos - Sarajevo. You can discover his works and more information on the project on his personal channel on the blog of the project here