The Museum of Modern Art Announces New Photography 2023: Kelani Abbas, Akinbode Akinbii, Expand the Moon, Amanda Iheme, Abraham Ogobase, Carl Ohiri, Logo Oluwamui.
On display from 28 May to 16 September 2023, the exhibition explores the photographic work of seven artists, all at different stages of their careers, who are united by their critical use of photographic forms and their connections to the art scene in the port city of Lagos (Èkó ), Nigeria.
It is the latest edition of MoMA’s acclaimed New Photography series and will mark its return as a gallery presentation after five years. New Photography 2023 marks the first time any of these photographers will present their work at MoMA and is the first group exhibition in MoMA’s history to include the work of living West African photographers. New Photography 2023 is organized by Oluremi C. Onabanjo, Associate Curator, Department of Photography, with the assistance of Kaitlin Bucher, Beaumont, and Nancy Newhall, Associate Curator, Department of Photography.
Since the program’s inception in 1985, New Photography has presented MoMA audiences with works by more than 150 artists from around the world. Launching the next phase of the series, New Photography 2023 will be the first in a series of exhibitions emerging from specific art scenes around the world. Following the cues of the featured artists, the show takes Lagos – Nigeria’s largest city and one of the most populous cities on the African continent – as its starting point. The seven international artists included in the exhibition put pressure on the idea of the “photo as document” by interrogating different forms of visual representation. Many of the artists take as their subject scenes of daily life in Lagos, providing new visual expressions of the city through formal experiments and poetic compositions or through a chronology of personal narratives at the heart of political action. Others use archival photographs to reveal the psychological traumas and possibilities embedded in physical structures, spatial objects, and historical figures.
“In a world where global systems of relations are a given, photographic images occupy a crucial position. Photography is no longer a mere means of recording our surroundings, it has become the central prism through which lived experience is created and shared,” says Onabanjo. “New Photography 2023 brings together the work of seven artists who delve into the depths of the photographic medium and mine its spatial, social and historical undercurrents to make room for more nuanced forms of perception and encounter.” Taken together, the works and approaches of Abbas, Akinbii, Emezi, Iheme, Ogobase, Ohiri and Oluwamuyiwa contribute to a global conversation about the role of photography in public narratives.
In addition to the exhibition presentation, Onabanjo organized a photography portfolio review and critique workshop through C-MAP Africa in collaboration with The Nlele Institute (TNI), a pan-African, autonomous non-profit organization focused on lens-based media. The program will run from October 31 to November 2, 2022 at Angels and Muse (5 Sumbo Jibowu St, Ikoyi 101233, Lagos) during Art X Lagos and is generously supported by MoMA’s International Board.
Kelani Abbas (b. 1979) lives and works in Lagos.
Akinbode Akinbiy (b. 1946) lives and works in Berlin.
Yagazie Emezi (b. 1989) lives and works in Lagos.
Amanda Iheme (b. 1992) lives and works in Lagos.
Abraham Ogobaz (b. 1979) lives and works in Toronto.
Carl Ohiri (b. 1983) lives and works in London.
Logo Oluwamuyiwa (b. 1990) lives and works in Lagos.