What happens when advertising space is used to represent daily life on a grand scale, replacing the usual aspirational images of commercial marketing? When advertising space is used to celebrate daily life, rather than sell new products, what impact does this have on our experience of reality?
In Nigeria giant advertising hoardings are commonplace, pasted with billboard images on a vast cinematic scale. On these billboard structures three artists will explore the relationship between advertising and daily life in the city of Lagos.
The project, Your Ad Here brought together people living and working in Lagos and Abuja in Nigeria with British artists to create new art works that will be pasted on billboards in both cities.
Commissioned by Create and Whitespace in Nigeria and funded by the British Council artists Karo Akpokiere (Nigeria and Germany), Matt Stokes (UK) and Nick Waplington (UK and US) developed three new works that brought art into an unequivocally public context. Each work is the result of extensive research and conversation with people living in Nigeria.
For Your Ad Here these artists pay tribute to the social networks and complex economies of day-to-day life in Lagos found in restaurants, music shops and exemplified by street sellers.
Artwork 1: Stranger ~ Karo Akpokiere (In partnership with Stranger Lagos)
Three Billboards located opposite Voda Paints (after 4th roundabout, Lekki), by 6th Roundabout (Ojomu-Lekki) and after Ojomu (facing traffic to Victoria Island).
A graphic image drawn by the artist celebrating creative freedom, vision and independence in Lagos. The work was inspired by Lagos-based Stranger Boutique which has a dynamic creative ethos – celebrating Nigerian creativity and encouraging independent thinking. The work is designed to seem like a work on display in a Gallery with an information label included as part of the image.
Akpokiere made this work in response to the the Lagos-based clothing shop Stranger Boutique which for him exemplifies the maverick spirit and cultural energy of Lagos.
Artwork 2: Hear Your Heritage ~ Matt Stokes (In partnership with Jazzhole Lagos)
Billboard located opposite Jazzhole, Awolowo Road, Ikoyi (facing traffic towards Falomo).
Stokes’ work occupies the billboard and window of the Lagos music and bookshop Jazzhole. The design is inspired by vintage Nigerian album covers and the legacy of Jazzhole, a celebrated meeting point for music and literature, which also includes a record label that highlights influential, but often overlooked Nigerian musicians. Via the work Stokes introduces a quote taken from a conversation he had with a Lagos musician that questions the relationship between ‘old’ and ‘new’ music in the country, as well as his own slogan suggesting that passers-by should ‘Hear Your Heritage’.
Artwork 3: Lagos Life ~ Nick Waplington
Billboard located by Officer’s mess, (towards Onikan, Apongbon, coming from Victoria Island).
Waplington has made two dynamic documentary photographic images portraying daily street life in Lagos. These images capture the cultural processes of street selling in Lagos and the networks of entrepreneurial activity that exist across the city.
Renowned artist and documentary photographer Waplington has made two dynamic photographic images capturing daily street life in Lagos. These images set out to record the rich cultural heritage of street selling in Lagos. The image portrays Lagos as a dynamic entrepreneurial city.
Selection and Deployment
All the billboards were carefully selected to align the designs with the locations by British Council and booked via VacantBoards.
The billboard materials were printed using direct imaging technology on vinyl to retain the high definition of the artwork design.
Inspired by these three works, artists in Nigeria, at all stages of their careers, are invited to enter the Your Ad Here Open Call, to propose a new artwork that represents daily life in Lagos or Abuja. Artists from all disciplines are encouraged to apply including fine artists, photographers and designers.
The best entries will be selected by a panel, with one overall winner’s work fabricated and installed as an outdoor billboard in Abuja. Up to 20 runners up will be exhibited in Lagos at A Whitespace and online.
Click here to learn more.