Truly, anything that has a beginning definitely has an end. This is true for Emeka Udemba’s art curation—Stretched Terrains, which also featured fellow contemporary artists from Gabriel Goller (German), Monsuru Alashe (Nigerian), Ray Agbo (Ghanaian), Souleymane Konate (Ivoirian) and Bay Dam (Senegalese).
These internationally recognised artists embarked on a contemporary art adventure through five West African countries (Benin, Togo, Ghana, Ivory Coast and Mali) by road in a bus popularly known as “Molue” for the International Biennial Dak’Art in Dakar Senegal.
Renamed Mobile Museum of Contemporary Arts, the museum left the start line on April 10th, 2018 from Lagos (Nigeria) arriving in Dakar, Senegal on the 25th April, 2018. Covering a distance of over 10,000 kilometers, the contemporary artists both on departure and arrival encountered hurdles which contributed as inspirations towards their individual and collective goals and mission for the Stretched Terrains project.
One of such memorable hurdles was the “transit” in French speaking West African countries. The citizens were demanding attention (rewards too) from the artists. Most important there was communication gap since the Nigerian, Ghanaian and German artists do not speak French. Another remarkable hurdle was in Mali where the “Molue” developed a mechanical fault in the middle of nowhere. But the people were human enough, despite the cultural differences, to support the artists with the basic human needs for survival—food and water.
The entire trip across West Africa changed the perception of Bay Dam and Gabriel Goller about Nigeria as a country and its citizens. Both disagree and disapprove all negativity about Nigeria and Nigerians. They look forward to working with more Nigerian artists in the future.
Stretched Terrains, curated by Emeka Udemba, a Nigerian-German based artist, is a Goethe Institut Nigeria project and supported by Lufthansa and Brussels airlines.
To crown it up, it was a beautiful experience for the participating artists as they look forward to participate in subsequent art adventure.