Topic: [The Guardian] The big picture: a beach of her own, Lagos, 2006  (Read 309 times)

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The big picture: a beach of her own, Lagos, 2006

In a city of nearly 20 million people, Akinbode Akinbiyi captures a moment of calmness amid the frenzy

Akinbode Akinbiyi has lived and taken photographs in many cities. He was born in Oxford in 1946, went to university in Ibadan, Nigeria, is based in Berlin and has spent long periods in Khartoum, Bamako, Cairo and Dakar. He has suggested that the cities choose him: “They call out my name, and if I am fully awake, I hear the call and gradually wend my way toward them.” 

He took this picture at Bar Beach on Victoria Island in Lagos in 2006. The woman in her white Sunday robes stands in curious relation to the three deck chairs. In other pictures in an ongoing series from the beach – Sea Never Dry – white tourists sit in similar chairs watching the procession of workers and schoolchildren pass by on the sand. Here the chairs are empty, and the woman expresses a quiet gesture of expectation or supplication, almost lost against the pale greys of sea and sky. The picture sets the tone of a retrospective of Akinbiyi’s work in Berlin entitled Six Songs, Swirling Gracefully in the Taut Air. Lagos is a city of nearly 20 million people, yet in among the frenzy of street scenes, Akinbiyi’s camera invariably locates little moments of stillness, like cool alleyways of time. 

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