OZANGÉ | 1st Biennial of African Photography

From 3 and 4 November 2022 to 29 January 2023

The city of Malaga will host the first OZANGÉ African Photography Biennial, which aims to promote reflection between the African and European continents. Following in the footsteps of the great African photography festivals, the biennial will not only be an exhibition space with the presentation of a selection of works by current photographers from the continent or the diaspora, with special emphasis on the works of women artists, but is also conceived as a space for exchanges, encounters and opportunities for this new generation.

Produced by La Térmica and La Malagueta Cultural Centre in collaboration with Malaga City Council, the University of Malaga, LagosPhoto Festival, the Círculo de Bellas Artes of Madrid and the Adama Toungara Museum of Contemporary Art, OZANGÉ is structured around a series of exhibitions, meetings and dialogues with artists with which to expand territorial borders while sharing and reflecting on photography.

This first edition is nourished, in part, by the pioneering work of other institutions that have been committed to contemporary African art for years. OZANGÉ pays tribute to LagosPhoto Festival, since 2010 the first and only international photography festival in Nigeria. The biennial will exhibit a selection of the most emblematic images presented throughout the history of this event, which has been running for 13 editions.

Thanks to the collaboration with Malaga City Council, OZANGÉ will have an urban exhibition in the Alameda Principal, opening a window at street level from 3 to 16 November with the photographs of Stephen Tayo. And next to the Contenedor Cultural de La Universidad de Málaga there will be a meeting with the participating photographers on the 4th of November.

OZANGÉ will be divided into various sections spread over four spaces that will house its exhibition programme and calendar of dialogues and meetings. Up to 36 African and diaspora artists will participate in this edition in which more than 20 countries are represented, including: Zimbabwe, Senegal, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Cameroon and Angola, among others.

La Térmica, the CC La Malagueta and the Alameda Principal will host the exhibition part of the biennial with three large exhibitions, while the Cultural Container of the University of Malaga will host a meeting between several photographers participating in the biennial.

Owanto, a prestigious artist of Gabonese origin whose work has been exhibited in Europe, Africa and the United States, will be in charge of the artistic direction. Owanto has dedicated her work to denouncing the genital mutilation of women, using contemporary art as a weapon for social and cultural change.

In addition, to carry out this project and give greater visibility to contemporary creation and participate in its dissemination, La Térmica and the CC La Malagueta have allied with important institutions recognised for their commitment to the promotion of intercultural exchanges. After its exhibition in Malaga, the biennial will begin its itinerancy, from 2023 to 2024, to the Círculo de Bellas Artes in Madrid and the Adama Toungara Museum of Contemporary Art in Abidjan with the aim of developing cultural activities that invite reflection on a continental scale.

OZANGÉ: Light

On clear days, the North African coast can be seen from the coast of Malaga, a view that feels like a revolutionary vision. The horizons, each from its own shore, remind us that, beyond those 14 kilometres of deceptively calm waters, we can see each other.

At present, the African and Eurasian plates are in a constant state of rapprochement. With this in mind, it is easy to imagine the opposite process: a slow rifting that began some 225 million years ago which turned Pangaea, a unique land surrounded by a single ocean, into the broken pieces that are our continents today.

Since that progressive event where earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanoes, shaped the new landscapes, climates, physical boundaries and places to be, much has happened for humankind. While we live in human time, the earth continues to change at its own pace and Africa and Europe are approaching in a powerful slow way.

The new frontiers have been endlessly redefined in the course of that ancestral geological union, a conflicting journey that has challenged our bond to this day. From this present moment we can perceive how borders have evolved in complexity but at the same time, in the virtual space in which we all live, we are witnessing the creation of new ways of crossing, of meeting, of apprehending each other.

This new bridge is built of travelling questions that go back and forth, driven by the journey itself. As humanity and as artists we are in a constant search for meaning and we ask ourselves how to enlighten this path, how to make it more tangible to be crossed with conviction and without fear but with curiosity for the unknown.

One Biennial, three exhibitions

Centro Cultural La Malagueta

The exhibition at the Centro Cultural La Malagueta, which opens the biennial on Thursday 3 November, features the work of 36 African and diaspora artists with decidedly brilliant proposals from Benin, Swaziland, South Africa, Mali, Kenya, Cameroon, Angola, Nigeria, Morocco, Ghana, Eritrea, Zimbabwe, Algeria, Senegal, Mozambique, Ivory Coast and Ethiopia, Mali, Kenya, Cameroon, Angola, Nigeria, Morocco, Ghana, Eritrea, Zimbabwe, Algeria, Senegal, Mozambique, Ivory Coast and Ethiopia, with the exception of Cristina de Middel (Spain), Nicola Lo Calzo (Italy) and Elsa Bleda (Turkey/France).

La Térmica

Ozangé would not be possible without the pioneering work of previous initiatives that have paved the way and made it possible to design this bridge. Therefore, in this first edition we want to pay tribute to LagosPhoto Festival, organised by the African Artists Foundation (AAF), founded and directed by Azu Nwagbogu.

The exhibition ‘Capturing Cultural Evolution’ hosts projects and artists that have been part of LagosPhoto, a key festival that, since 2010, has become a reference platform for the development of young talents.

Alameda Principal

The Alameda Principal is one of the main spaces located in the Centro district of the city of Malaga. With roots dating back to the end of the 18th century, this artery of the city has witnessed progress over time.

In collaboration with Malaga City Council, Ozangé aims to showcase an urban street exhibition under the signature of Lagos-born photographer Stephen Tayo. A total of 33 portraits full of vibrant colours and creative freedom. The urban exhibition can be visited from 3 to 16 November.

Owanto – artistic director

The willingness to make way for the light is what has encouraged the creation of OZANGÉ, a brightness that does not blind but directs our attention to the highlights as well as to the shadows and shades that are generated by each of our partial gazes.

It is for that reason that I accepted the honour of being part of this first edition where the South of Europe, Malaga, becomes that bridge, that meeting point illuminated by a multiplicity of perspectives that raise the questions that we must look at together.

Photography has always been a powerful medium and today it is also an easily accessible source for reporting not only the state of world matters but the many and diverse perspectives on them.

Being an artist as curator, I am enormously grateful for all the help and advice given by fellow artists, curators and friends from the creative community. My gratitude also goes to my ancestors, for it is my mother tongue that lends its beautiful Omyènè word to the title of this Bienniale, OZANGÉ.

It is my utmost hope that we will be motivated to celebrate our oneness and embrace the positives.

Owanto.

Schedule

The first Spanish Biennial of African Photography OZANGÉ will be exhibited between November 4, 2022 and January 29, 2023 in Malaga. Later, it will travel to Madrid and other Spanish cities to be determined, to continue his journey through Africa in Abidjan and Essaouira, between 2023 and 2024.

Parallel to the exhibition, throughout the Biennial, associated cultural events will be organized such as conferences, workshops, photography contests and events, whose program is still in process.

 

Exhibition places in Málaga

The exhibition will be situated in four locations in Malaga:

Centro Cultural La Malagueta, Paseo Reding, 8
La Térmica, Avenida de los Guindos, 48
Contenedor Cultural Universidad de Málaga, Bulevar Louis Pasteur, 23
Calle Alameda Principal, Málaga

Confirmed schedule for the touring exhibition

From 2023 to 2024, the Biennial will travel to the Círculo de Bellas Artes in Madrid and the Muséé des Cultures Contemporaines Adama Toungara in Abidjan (Ivory Coast).