Living on the Edge  |  October 14 – November 22, 2017  |  Lagos.

To re-think. To re-imagine.

The former suggests a logical mental exercise, while the latter reaches to the fringes of fantasy. Art, for too long, has proffered beautiful but unrealistic and unachievable solutions to the issues of society; asking more questions than it answers. Should art remain in its most essential form, whether or not it achieves a tangible goal? Does it become necessary to examine the role of art in society especially in the dimension of large-scale biennial interventions? The city of Lagos in its peculiarity as a commercial center and melting pot for diverse endeavors and cultures holds a reputation for spewing out whatever does not add up materially. A historical slave and trade route, Lagos developed the culture of gate-keeping and taxation – where foreigners were welcome only to the reach of their pockets. In an attempt to juxtapose the historical and contemporary realities in this dynamic space, it would be natural to place the spotlight on the current expressions of these ancient values which have invariably become urban culture. The danger would be to subsist in a bubble and alienate ones reality from a global politico-economic climate which is submerged under the currents of capitalism. It may be savvier to investigate the realities of the losers in societies around the world – the unseen majority who are pushed to the brink of their existence; in both political and cultural ramifications. This by far offers a more realistic starting point for conversations set to engage the city of Lagos in years to come.

The vision is not to mystify or demystify, but rather to embark on a journey to explore multi-faceted scenarios which will undoubtedly question the very essence of our humanity, spirituality, and the interconnectedness of the universe. If we were to take a portrait of the world, would it be life-giving? Would it be a collage of despair? The greatest challenge of this exercise would be to solicit the interest of local communities who are a key to the eventual plausibility of the continuum.

In essence, art will be put to the ultimate test; can it save the world or at least make an attempt? The narrative of the biennial, which shares its title with the 2012 project of Mozambican artist Mário Macilau, is expanded to accommodate the geographical, spiritual, and most importantly, the psychological ramifications of living on the edge.

Folakunle Oshun
Artistic Director
Lagos Biennial 2017

Lagos Biennial 2017 Team

Artistic Director
Folakunle Oshun


Guest Curators
Kwasi Ohene-Ayeh
Kelvin Haizel




Talks Program
Erin Rice
Akor Opaluwah


Technical Director
Jolomi Awala


Opeyemi Balogun


Architecture Design
Jeanne Schulz


Feranmi Ogundipe


Social Media
Oluwatobi Afolabi

Graphic Design

Sodiq Abiola


Anthony Monday

List of Participating Artists for the Inaugural Edition of the Lagos Biennial

Oct 14 – Nov 22, 2017

Jelili Atiku                 

Rahima Gambo

Lena Athanasopoulou           

Sam Hopkins and David Lale

Saba Zavarei             

David Palacios

Arrigo Reuss 

Lamis Haggag 

Fati Abubakar

Delio Jasse 

Kris Russo

Dunja Herzog 

Abdulrazaq Awofeso

Rita GT                 

Niyi Olagunju

Phoebe Boswell

Mawuenya Amudzi

Adeola Olagunju 

Ro Caminal

Ala Kheir   

Wura-Natasha Ogunji

Sébastien Mazauric

Yara Mekawei   

Eca Eps

Obuh Christopher Nelson

Amina Zoubir

Ayo Akinwande

Olivia Jasinski

Tito Aderemi-Ibitola         

Kathleen Hearn 

Poku Mensah

May Okafor      

Tori Wrånes

Januario Jano

Taiye Idahor

Silas Mensah

Jerry Buhari   

Youngjoo Yoo 

Ayo Akinwande