In March, Guest Artists Space Foundation welcomed artists Evan Ifekoya and Raymond Pinto to G.A.S. Lagos. The opportunities were initiated following a collaboration with Lagos Biennial who approached G.A.S. about hosting artists participating in the 2024 edition as a means of facilitating research, networking and project development opportunities ahead of their presentation at the bi-annual event currently scheduled for February 2024.
Whilst the projects being refined for the Biennial formed a loose framework for the residencies, both artists also used their time to further expand, interrogate and evolve their respective practices using the context of Lagos, and more widely West Africa as a point of resource, information and knowledge exchange.
Evan Ifekoya during their event Water is Life, O! hosted at G.A.S. Lagos.
Sonic architecture, sacred and ritual space, physio poetics of water are the current preoccupations of Evan's practice. They used much of their time during the residency visiting and exploring various water bodies and sacred sites both in Lagos and upcountry, They were also able to connect authentically with Nigerian indigenous sound, with a specific focus on percussion instruments which in turn helped them generate a body of sonic material that will form the basis of future sound work.
To conclude their residency Evan hosted Water is Live, O!, an experiential listening session that invited embodied participation through the artist's investigation into water in different states. Visitors were encouraged to move with water; absorb the waves of sound, participate in the flow of the session and submerge themselves in sonic vibrations.
Evan interacting with visitors to Water is Life, O!
The second resident sharing the space with Evan was multidisciplinary performance artist Raymond Pinto. Their practice focuses on performance and sculpture, centred on the African diaspora and sourced through queer and Black archives. Raymond used the residency to conduct research and development for new work that will evolve their subsequent thinking. During their time in Nigeria, they were able to visit culturally significant sites such as Osun Osgbo and the Badagry Slave Port Museum.
Raymond Pinto with artist Muyiwa Akinwolere at his studio in Badagry, Lagos State.
To conclude their residency, Raymond hosted Carry My Not Knowing, an exhibition, interactive workshop, performance, and screening at G.A.S. Lagos. The series began with a movement workshop attended by various members of Lagos' cultural and creative community. During the session, guests had the opportunity to explore the interplay between tension, movement, and space with the artist acting as a guide. It was followed by Atunbi (Rebirth), a new performance developed by the artist during his residency. The following day, visitors were invited into the space yet again for screenings of two new films; The Pour and Carry My Not Knowing.
Members of the Lagos creative and cultural community during Raymond Pinto's Carry My Not Knowing workshop at G.A.S. Lagos.
ABOUT EVAN IFEKOYA
Evan Ifekoya (b. Iperu Nigeria, lives in London) is an artist whose work in community organising, installation, performance, sound, text and video is an extension of their calling as a spiritual practitioner. They view art as a site where resources can be both redistributed and renegotiated, whilst challenging the implicit rules and hierarchies of public and social space. Strategies of space holding through architectural interventions; archival and sonic investigations; ritual and sound enable them to make a practice of living in order not to turn to despair.
They established the collectively run Black Obsidian Sound System (B.O.S.S.) in 2018. They have presented exhibitions, moving image and performances across UK and Internationally, most recently: a solo exhibition at Migros Museum Zurich (2022); Herbert Art Gallery and Museum as nominees of the Turner Prize (with B.O.S.S. 2021); De Appel Netherlands (2019) and Gasworks London (2018).
ABOUT RAYMOND PINTO
Raymond Pinto is a multidisciplinary performance artist whose work is centred on the African diaspora and sourced through queer and black archives. Born in Bridgeport, Connecticut, Pinto studied dance and graduated from the Juilliard School in 2013, and holds a master's degree with a focus in Performance Studies from New York University.He has worked with internationally touring dance companies, notable choreographers, and artists such as Les Grands Ballet Canadiens de Montreal, Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet, Gauthier Dance, The Royal Ballet of Flanders, Jaamil Olawale Kosoko, Bill T. Jones, Darrell Grand Moultrie, Shikeith, Kevin Beasley, and Kyle Abraham/Abraham.In.Motion.
As an artist himself, Raymond has presented his own work at festivals, theatres, galleries, workshops, and conferences both locally and globally, including the Judson Memorial Church, MoMA PS1, the Amsterdam Fringe Festival, La Mama Experimental Theater, Participant, Inc., CUE Art Foundation, the Architecture Centrum in Vienna, the Queer Arts Festival in Skopje, Macedonia, and the Venice Biennale. He has also been an artist in residence at Movement Research in NYC and Dance Fellow Art Omi.