Articulations of Nigerian Politics in the Visual Arts (ArtoP) – Project

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Conference participants
Conference participants

ArtoP, is a United Kingdom, Art and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) funded project which   investigates the articulations of political discourse in Nigeria through still and moving images in the visual arts by utilising the 2019 national elections as the field of study.  The research which started in December 2018 during the political party primaries will culminate into a book publication and archival repository on Nigerian election visual expressions as well as an empowerment workshop for some selected visual artists in Nigeria by June 2021 - the project will run for thirty months. It is being led by Dr. Paula Callous of Bournemouth University and assisted by Dr. Charles Gore from University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies SOAS.

I am involved in this project as an advisor, being a scholar of art and political discourse with focus on visual satire. Other advisors are Prof. Abdallah Uba Adamu, Bayero University, Nigeria, Prof. Tejumola Olaniyan, Wisconsin University, USA, Prof. David Pratten, University of Oxford, United Kingdom, and Prof. Peter Limb, Michigan State University.

The first Artop seminar/workshop took place between March 4 and 7, 2019 at Bournemouth University, United Kingdom. Research assistants and advisors on the project were invited to Bournemouth University for the premier seminar to address specific ethical concerns related to research on the arts and politics in contexts that are considered to pose risk to the researcher. The workshop worked towards producing a report with recommendations and guidelines for good practice in qualitative research methodologies within the context of data to be collected and the location. Advisors also presented papers on their ongoing research in the area of media studies.

My presentation focused on internet memes and political discourse in Nigeria.  Electoral memes circulated on social media platforms were examined within the context of dissention against dominant governmental narratives.  By hiding under the shroud of anonymity, armed with easily manipulated smart phone apps, the masses create, interrogate and circulate recontextualised images of power brokers on social media platforms with the aim of changing the undesirable status quo through satire.

An internet meme satirising Nigerian 2019 presidential elections

An internet meme satirising Nigerian 2019 presidential elections main contestants as boxers -  Atiku Abubakar,a former vice president (standing) and Muhammadu Buhari, the incumbent president on the floor. 

Top Photo; Front Row from left: Dr. Malcolm Corrigall , Prof Abdallah Adamu, Dr. Nura Ibrahim. Standing from left: Dr. Ganiyu Jimoh, Dr. Charles Gore and Dr. Paula Callous

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Ganiyu A. JIMOH is a Post-Doctoral Fellow with the NRF/DST SARChI Chair Geopolitics and the Arts of Africa, Arts of Africa and Global Souths research programme headed by Prof Ruth Simbao at the Department of Fine Arts, Rhodes University, South Africa.


Source:  Rhodes University

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