A Slice of Lagos

On September 3, A Slice of Lagos, a cinematic journey and photographic exhibition of multicultural 19th century Lagos opened to the public at the Rook & Raven gallery in London. The exhibition runs till September 9. Curator of the show, British-born Nigerian artist Sesu Tilley-Gyado, whose work is also featured in the exhibition observes that several people assume the past, as “black and white” consequently visualizing it like this. She therefore felt the need to capture historic Lagos in vibrant colours.

According to the 2013 Winner of the National Art Competition in Nigeria, “Black and white didn’t quite capture the excitement that I felt when hearing and telling the stories of vibrant 19th century Lagos. We were delighted and shocked to see how immediate the past became with colour added to black and white photographic images, and modern verve added to historic storytelling. Here, I have re-imaged / re-imagined a past that is present, and together with an amazing team, show a colourful slice of Lagos.”

A Slice of Lagos is also a debut film from Nigerian avant-garde filmmakers Francesca Tilley-Gyado and Bolaji Kekere-Ekun. It tells the story of the multicultural origins of Lagos – the Yoruba, the Brazilians, Cubans, the Creoles, and the British who all made Lagos their home in the 19th century and examines questions of identity and heritage.

Sesu Tilley-Gyado. Copyright Helen Ogunbiyi

Sesu Tilley-Gyado. Copyright Helen Ogunbiyi

Based between London and Lagos, Tilley-Gyado works in multiple contemporary mediums (film, music, prints, installation text, poetry, graphics, design) to convey concepts and tell unknown African stories and histories. Her works are in the corporate collections of FCMB Bank, Afren PLC and the Kola Aluko Foundation. They are also in several private collections such as Gen T.Y Danjuma, Labi and Helen Ogunbiyi.


Oliver Enwonwu is founder and Editor-in-Chief of Omenka magazine, Director, Omenka Gallery and Chief Executive, Revilo. He holds a first degree in Biochemistry, advanced diploma in Exploration Geophysics (distinction), Post Graduate Diplomas in Applied Geophysics and Visual Art (distinction) and a Masters in Art History, all from the University of Lagos. He is the founder, Executive Director, and trustee of The Ben Enwonwu Foundation. He also sits on the board of several organizations including the National Gallery of Art, Nigeria and the Reproduction Rights Society of Nigeria. Enwonwu is also president of both the Society of Nigerian Artists and the Alliance of Nigerian Art Galleries.

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