A futuristic intersection of art, music & technology.
When TSEE (The Self Expression Exhibition) first announced that they had partnered with Alté Studios, early last month, to bring Expo Lagos ー a one-of-a-kind experience exploring different mediums and forms of artistic expression – to life, there was every reason to be excited. Not only did the lineup seem promising, Alté Studios has also slowly garnered a reputation as one of the finest creative hubs around while TSEE has been putting on notable yearly art events showcasing select works by some of the finest contemporary artists around. Hence, the event held a lot of positive expectations.
The major aim of the event: “To disrupt the event space in Africa by creating one of a kind stimulating immersive experiences that lie at the intersection of art, entertainment, and technology.” While what was on display wasn’t exactly a far cry from their objective, it wasn’t particularly disruptive either. The two-day event, which was scheduled to open at 2 pm at the Freeme Space Lekki on the 7th of August, wouldn’t kick off until hours later.
The event spanned two distinct quarters. Entering into the venue, you’re initially met with pop-up stands from brands like waf., Clones, JBottoms by Jal and a couple of others with various merchandise for sale. The moderately-sized hall, on the other hand, featured the main attraction – Blaring music, a large top to floor projection displaying digital animations and films from artists like Niyi Okeowo, Moyicii, Kamal Adisa, Ademola Falomo and Stephanie Amata, as well as paintings from artists like OC George, Vofo, Blossom Oyeyipo and Roanna Tella.
“We got the inspiration from the Van Gogh exhibition. Most of the team, we’re artsy and we’ve all been to a Van Gogh exhibition. We were then thinking, what else could we do besides the typical exhibiting style popular here. Then we thought of replicating Van Gogh’s immersive exhibition with a nice vibe to it.” says Korede J, one of the key organizers, explaining the inspiration behind the exhibition. While the idea is undoubtedly laudable, there’s a sense that the execution could have been better. For one, the Freeme space could have been utilized better. The digital projections took up a large chunk of the space, and as a result, there were fewer physical artworks than expected. While the event was heavily publicized as an art event, looking to marry it with technology and music, the art seemed to have taken the back burner, with the music – which wasn’t exactly fitting for an art exhibition – taking center stage.
Nevertheless, the live performances were spirited and refreshing. “....you know we’re in Lagos, party has to follow,” says Korede J, ending his comment. Ninety opened things on the first day performing a couple of songs from his small but impressive catalogue. SGaWD stepped up next, upping the energy and delivering a strong showing and a memorable performance of her new single “Popshit” to a receptive and lively audience. The event came to its climax when Lojay capped things off, delivering an enthralling performance of songs off his latest drop with legendary producer Sarz, LV N ATTN. The different performances were also punctuated by lively Dj sets that kept the spirited momentum going. The following day also featured performances by Zoro and Kida Kudz who kept an animated and vibrant audience entertained.
Being its maiden edition, Expo Lagos was an interesting experience, marrying art, technology and music. In truth, there were clearly some avoidable hiccups. The space could have been managed better and they could have done a better job at focusing attention on all the artworks on display. Regardless, the event was ultimately commendable. With their sights set on further editions and hopefully a better put-together show, the only way is up.
See photos from the event below.
All images courtesy of the B.Side Team