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Nigerian Sound Artist Emeka Ogboh Brings His Lagos Danfo Bus To NYC

Nigerian sound artist Emeka Ogboh brings his Lagos Danfo bus to NYC for a special installment at "Meet The Africa Center" in Harlem.

Last month we profiled the work of Emeka Ogboh and his Lagos Soundscapes. The Nigerian sound artist is in New York this week and brought the vibrant, active sounds of a Lagos Danfo bus along for a one-day installation at the "Meet The Africa Center" event this Saturday in Harlem (where Okayafrica is also curating a stage). Comparable to NYC's iconic yellow taxi's, Danfo buses are emblematic to Lagos public transport. In his installation titled Lagos State of Mind II, Ogboh installs the intensity and diversity of sounds from Lagos in and around a Volkswagen Danfo bus. Accompanying the sounds on exhibit is a photographic tour of the bus driving through NYC's historic African-American neighborhoods and iconic landmarks such as the Apollo and the Empire State Building. Through audio-visual components, Ogboh will be taking visitors on a vivid, trans-national journey between Lagos and New York City. In an interview with Another Africa Ogboh explains:


"A lot of people would consider Lagos’ soundscape as being very noisy, and they’d call it noise. But I stopped calling it noise since I started listening to it... When I relocated the soundscapes to my studio, I started hearing and feeling them as compositions, something that could be musical. And when you feel the multilayer aspect of it, you start paying attention to individual elements in the soundscape like the bus conductor, the hawker, the vehicle noise or the sounds of the horns…you start breaking it down into different components, elements, and it looks like a symphony or orchestra. So it has a kind of musical connotation for me, it can feel like poetry and not a chaotic noise."

As an artist, Ogboh works primarily with sound and video, sharing his ability to interpret isolated noise into a multitude of metropolitan compositions. His past works include Verbal Maps of Ojuelegba, which features a Lagos Danfo bus driver calling out the Ojuelegba route, and The Ambivalence of 1960, an audio collage of early Nigerian politicians and their hopes for a decolonized Nigeria which was recently showcased at Casino Luxembourg. For a glimpse of what to expect Saturday check out Ogboh's Lagos State of Mind and pictures from his photographic tour of NYC below, or click here for more Lagos Soundscapes.

Join Okayafrica this Saturday, September 20th, at "Meet The Africa Center" in Harlem, featuring art by Emeka Ogboh and Beninese conceptual artist Meschac Gaba, dance by the Dance Theatre of Harlem, food trucks, and the Okayafrica Stage with live performances from Sierra Leone’s Janka Nabay and the Bubu Gang (with special guest Bajah from Bajah + The Dry Eye Crew) and Chop And Quench (The Fela! Band) plus DJ sets from Rich Medina, DJ Underdog, and DJ Birane (Côte d’Ivoire), and so much more. Find out more on the Africa Center here.

>>>Find Out More Details On "Meet The Africa Center" (Sat., Sept. 20th in Harlem)

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Photo by KOLA SULAIMON/AFP via Getty Image

#EndSARS: 1 Year Later And It's Business As Usual For The Nigerian Government

Thousands filled the streets of Nigeria to remember those slain in The #LekkiTollGateMassacre...while the government insists it didn't happen.

This week marks 1 year since Nigerians began protests against police brutality and demanded an end to the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS). The #EndSARS protests took the world by storm as we witnessed Nigerian forces abuse, harass and murder those fighting for a free nation. Reports of illegal detention, profiling, extortion, and extrajudicial killings followed the special task force's existence, forcing the government to demolish the unit on October 11th, 2020. However, protestors remained angered and desperate to be heard. It wasn't until October 20th, when soldiers opened fire on demonstrators at Lekki tollgate in the country's capital, Lagos, that the protests came to a fatal end. More than 56 deaths from across the country were reported, while hundreds more were traumatized as the Nigerian government continued to rule by force. The incident sparked global outrage as the Nigerian army refused to acknowledge or admit to firing shots at unarmed protesters in the dead of night.

It's a year later, and nothing has changed.

Young Nigerians claim to still face unnecessary and violent interactions with the police and none of the demands towards systemic changes have been met. Fisayo Soyombo the founder of the Foundation for Investigative Journalism, told Al Jazeera, "Yes, there has not been any reform. Police brutality exists till today," while maintaining that his organization has reported "scores" of cases of police brutality over this past year.

During October 2020's protests, Nigerian authorities turned a blind eye and insisted that the youth-led movement was anti-government and intended to overthrow the administration of current President Muhammadu Buhari. During a press conference on Wednesday, in an attempt to discredit the protests, Minister of Information and Culture Lai Mohammed hailed the Nigerian army and police forces for the role they played in the #EndSARS protests, going as far as to say that the Lekki Toll Massacre was a "phantom massacre with no bodies." These brazen claims came while protesters continued to gather in several major cities across the country. The minister even went on to shame CNN, Nigerian favorite DJ Switch as well as Amnesty International, for reporting deaths at Lekki. Mohammed pushed even further by saying, "The six soldiers and 37 policemen who died during the EndSARS protests are human beings with families, even though the human rights organizations and CNN simply ignored their deaths, choosing instead to trumpet a phantom massacre."

With the reports of abuse still coming out of the West African nation, an end to the struggle is not in sight. During Wednesday's protest, a journalist for the Daily Post was detained by Nigerian forces while covering the demonstrations.

According to the BBC, additional police units have been set up in the place of SARS, though some resurfacing SARS officers and allies claim to still be around.

Young Nigerians relied heavily on social media during the protests and returned this year to voice their opinions around the first anniversary of an experience that few will be lucky enough to forget.



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