June 14, 2024

‘See My World: Manchester, Lagos & Me’ premieres, exhibits cross-cultural landscapes

  • March 15, 2024
  • 4 min read
‘See My World: Manchester, Lagos & Me’ premieres, exhibits cross-cultural landscapes

By Editor

SEE My World: Manchester, Lagos & Me, a short-film exploring cultural and political conditions for artists in Lagos and Manchester, will premiere in three cities this month. These are Manchester, UK and Lagos and Abuja, Nigeria. The Lagos premiere will take place on Thursday, March 21, 2024 at British Council, Ikoyi, Lagos and the Abuja premiere will be held on Thursday, March 28, 2024 at Cavic Hub, Wuse II.

The illuminating film documents makers, thinkers and doers as they create, interpret and evolve their crafts. A learning experience for the beholder, it sets out to demystify the stereotypes that haunt Lagos and Manchester cities whilst amplifying the true cultural progressions that are consciously and subconsciously taking place in both cities, always just outside of the gaze of mainstream media.

The film journeys through a globe-trotting incubation experience for four artists, handpicked by Manchester’s art and culture organisations – Big People Music (BPM) and Big People Community CIC (BPC) and The Book Buzz Foundation (BBF) – an essential literary charity in Nigeria. The collaboration facilitated a cross-continental exchange of art and culture, a week-long residency in Lagos where the artists connected face-to-face for the first time, and a journey connecting the art worlds of Nigeria and Britain.

At its heart is the centring of ideas from artists of the African diaspora, and a unique depiction of the beauty of two oddly connected cities. It’s as much a memoir of the residency experience itself, as an education into the minds and creativity of Pan-African artists who make these cities pop. The subjects of and behind the camera are music producer and visual artist Joshua Inyang of Space Afrika, multi-disciplinary artist Papa Nii Akushey Quaye (aka Renzniro) from Manchester, poet and performance artist Deborah Johnson, as well as musician and film-maker Ayokunle Odunsi from Lagos. The film showcases their experiences over the course of a year, and their processes as they write, shoot, edit and score the film themselves.

Described as a ‘cinematic exhibition’ by BPM & BPC Founder and Artistic Director Tunde Adekoya, who adds: “Bringing the vision of the exchange to life has been intensely beautiful. An extension of See My World Festival, this is an archive of the stories, art and dreams of the Pan-African diaspora which we launched back in 2020. The film has provided us with another medium to platform new narratives. In addition to providing meaningful opportunities for artistic collaboration which is a beautiful thing.”

Josh Inyang added: “The See My World residency provided an eye-opening, rewarding and personally fulfilling experience to celebrate, share and re-learn my Nigerian culture, uniting me with friends and family overseas, and engaging with local culture and creatives simultaneously alongside an amazing team of people who I can now call friends.”

The film and the residency that birthed it have been co-produced by BPM and BPC in association with BBF, and funded by the British Council as part of BPM’s See My World series of multilingual, intergenerational and Pan-African experiences. The film will premiere in Lagos on Thursday, March 21, 2024 at British Council, Ikoyi, and the Abuja premiere will take place Thursday, March 28, 2024 at Cavic Hub, Wuse II.

Big People Music produces artistic, cultural and music transformation experiences worldwide, specialising in programming artists, creatives and talent within the music industries while Big People Community CIC is a network of creative and social entrepreneurial change-makers, developing communities of excellence. The Book Buzz Foundation is an NGO that was founded in 2012 by the award-winning writer and cultural activist, Lola Shoneyin. The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities. They build connections, understanding and trust between people in the UK and other countries through arts and culture, education and the English language. Last year the council reached over 80 million people directly and 791 million people overall including online, broadcasts and publication.

Produced by Big People Music (BPM), sister company Big People Community CIC and partners The Book Buzz Foundation (BBF), the project idea follows the mantra of See My World, a festival brought to life in 2020 to document and archive the stories and experiences of the Pan-African diaspora. See My World Festival 2021 brought together 62,000 participants from over 80 countries, with 120 organisations involved. The project has been funded by The British Council as part of its New Narratives Co-creation grant. The aims of the project are to strengthen the creative infrastructure between Manchester and Lagos, to develop artists’ repertoire as collaborative international artists and to document candid stories.

The partnership between BPM and BBF was initiated in 2019 when BPM’s director Adekoya linked with BBF’s director Shoneyin in Lagos. The relationship developed in 2021 when Shoneyin appeared on the women’s panel at See My World Festival 2021. Fast forward to 2023, and it inevitable for both organisations to collaborate on this international residency.

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