In ‘6 Hours’, Alonge, Ottograph express passion for street art, photography

The Lagos visual art community is in for a big treat as a Nigerian-Netherlands exhibition debuts.

Titled ‘6 Hours’, it is a collaborative art project by Bolaji Alonge (from Nigeria) and Ottograph (from Netherlands) that brings together painting, street art and photography. The art exhibition will be held at Didi Museum, Victoria Island, Lagos from September16-24, 2023.

6 HOURS investigates contrasts and similarities of life in the home cities of the duo, Amsterdam and Lagos – two cities with a six-hour flight time between them – to deliver a narrative that is thought-provoking, engaging and inspiring. It will also explore a number of themes such as; life in a megapolis on the seashore, dance, music, masquerades, freedom of expression and others.

It is organised with the support of the Consulate General of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Lagos.

The artworks will be produced during an immersive art residency in Lagos. It is the first time the artists are working together – combining their passion for street art and street photography.

Bolaji Alonge explains, “I aim to capture the everyday reality of any society I get immersed in, with Lagos, Nigeria mostly presented. In the course of documenting our history, I take photos of people, architecture, animals, our busy lives, nature and the ecosystem of my environment.” For Ottograph, street art “is a form of total freedom in art, you can do it whenever, wherever, to spread your message and creativity. There are basically no rules.”

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Alonge continues, “Life for many today is on the phone; art is what brings us to the moment. The power of the art of photography in reflecting who we are goes a long way in boosting the confidence of a people.

“I believe in spreading the knowledge of how we live today, using the internet, sharing our beauty and pride with the rest of the world. One of the best ways to document history is through photography, it brings the past back to life.” Ottograph said a lot of the symbolism in his murals constitute a long ongoing story. He wants people to come up with their own interpretation when looking at his murals and paintings.

Alonge is convinced that in today’s world, artists should work together. It broadens the scope and presents more opportunities. “From my experience, the right collaboration amplifies the message jointly put forward by artists. Collaborations gives the audience and collectors more to enjoy and experience.”

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6 HOURS exhibition is special because it brings two countries, Nigeria and the Netherlands together in a grand way. Ottograph, a world-class street artist visiting Nigeria for the first time whose very recognizable pop art syncs with the positive message of Eyes of a Lagos Boy.

Ottograph, a Dutch large-scale muralist, has been slinging paint since the age of ten. He started out in Amsterdam to become an internationally acclaimed artist. Ottograph has established himself firmly in the heart of the global street art movement. Simultaneously, Ottograph has bridged the fine art gap with his work, as a result of decades of dedication to painting. Ottograph’s work is full of color and life. His work reflects on society and invites people to search for their own truth.

On his own or together with his fellow artist/friends Ottograph has also set up several successful projects such as CIA (Central Illustration Agency), as well as the KMDG, a group of artists with a background in illustration, graffiti and street-art from around the world. The Modern Art Museum of Antwerpen (Belgium) is home to a giant Ottograph’s mural. Otto also painted murals in Moscow, Tokyo, Berlin, New York and San Francisco. Ottograph has worked for clients like Greenpeace, Tommy Hilfiger, Nike, Mars, Ford, and Mercedes-Benz. He recently took part in the celebration of 50 years of Hip Hop in NYC.

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Bolaji Alonge is a Nigerian journalist, artist, photographer and actor from Lagos. Also known as Eyes of a Lagos Boy, he has two decades of experience in documenting history, always looking for beauty where it is least expected. He shows his beloved Lagos from unexpected angles. Images of everyday life in Nigeria carry deep social messages. Alonge makes the viewer reconsider what we have seen with our own eyes, through the Eyes of a Lagos Boy.

Since 2016, his website has developed from a personal blog to a news portal with a focus on culture and lifestyle, from the African perspective. Since 2017 he has presented his work in a series of individual and collaborative exhibitions in Lagos, NYC and Brighton (UK) to critical acclaim, including “Greener Pastures” in 2021 and “Iconic Lagos” in 2022 at Didi Museum.

The exhibition opens on September 15,2023 with a press view at 12noon, amid special performance on September 16th at 4pm after the public opening same day from 1-7pm.

It will also feature kids play, art workshop for children between 5-15 years and finissage on the last day.

Didi Museum is located at #175 Akin Adesola Street, Victoria Island, Lagos.

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