The Progress of Love is an unprecedented, transatlantic collaboration between the Menil Collection in Houston; the Centre for Contemporary Art in Lagos, Nigeria; and the Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts in St. Louis that explores the universal emotion of love. The three concurrent but unique exhibitions that make up The Progress of Love constitute a narrative arc, addressing love as an ideal, love as a lived experience, and love as something lost.
The presentation of The Progress of Love at Centre for Contemporary Art, Lagos will explore the question or problem of love through a series of unfolding events and of works in a range of media, highlighting performative artistic practice that has yet to receive adequate presentation or critical engagement within the field of contemporary art in Nigeria or, more broadly, in West Africa. The performance work of Jelili Atiku (Nigeria) and Wura-Natasha Ogunji (USA) will explore the subject of love within the contexts of familial bonds and personal memory, while performative installation works by Temitayo Ogunbiyi (Nigeria) and Valérie Oka (Ivory Coast) coerce viewers into interactive projects that take the technical and ephemeral dimensions of romantic emotions as subjects of inquiry. The moving image forms an integral aspect of the exhibition through the works of Zanele Muholi (South Africa) and Andrew Esiebo (Nigeria), with their insightful and topical documentary projects as well as Adaora Nwandu's (Nigeria) short films which foreground lived experiences and fictional stories from the perspective of same-gender love confronting a continent that considers such affections taboo. Inspired by personal experiences, family ties, tradition, technology, and local literature, these works express joy, loss, absence, pain and difference; they invoke memory, challenge prejudice and articulate togetherness in lyrical and at times satirical ways.
The Progress of Love is on view from 13th October 2012 – 27th January 2013. The Centre for Contemporary Arts is located at 9 McEwen Street, Sabo, Yaba, Lagos, Nigeria.