Imaginary Safaris – Images and Imaginations of Past Futures in the Nairobi Exhibition and Curatorial Project PigaPicha!
In the closing week week of this exhibit at MOA, join the conversation in the Community Lounge (entrance by MOA’s Café patio) Friday, 27 March 2015, 10am-12.30pm
Visiting a photo studio and getting yourself portrait is far more than an act of documenting your contemporary self; creating images is an inscription into the visual archive. These pictures, either stored in a shoebox or in golden frame, tell the history of individuals, families and, in the end, of Nairobi and the Kenyans. Taking a portrait picture is an act aiming at future remembrance. The portrait depicts how the person in front of the camera wants to be seen and remembered in future. This is one facet of portrait praxis. The photos that we found in Nairobi studios like Ramogi, Studio One, Neela Studio, Camera Experts, Expos Photos or Maridadi revealed yet another wide spread praxis that reaches beyond showing your bright side, as there is a bulk of images that are playful and more fictional than documentary. Yet interpreting this sub-genre of studio photography as imaginary safaris, a spatial metaphor proposed by the local scholars that we cooperated with, leads to several other methodological and theoretical questions that the paper will try explore.
Ulf Vierke is director of Iwalewa-Haus, the centre for contemporary African Arts at the University of Bayreuth. Simultaneously he is head of DEVA, the central archive and database system for African Studies. He is principal investigator within BIGSAS, the Bayreuth International Graduate School of African Studies. As a curator his major focus is on photography and contemporary media art with regional focus on East Africa and Lusophone Africa.
Due to the limited number of seats please rsvp to firstname.lastname@example.org