Abraham Oghobase (born 1979 in Lagos. He lives and works in Lagos, Nigeria)
– Is your photographic art work committed to dealing with the context in which you live?
My experience and emotions play an important role in my photographic work, as a result I’ll say it is committed within the context I live in. I explore socio-economic conditions (of my home environment as well as elsewhere) and how they affect the human psyche, often using myself as a point of reference.
– How does your photography integrate the evolution of your society?
The social, political and economic situation of my society plays a pivotal role in my work. I am interested in using photography to explore the way people live and how they are affected by the different systems that exist, and how conditions evolve to meet or take advantage of certain needs (for example, with this series “Jam” I explore how rural-urban drift, among other things, has led to inflated rents in Lagos and congested living spaces.
By socio-economic conditions I mean such things as homelessness, poverty, a lack of affordable and adequate housing (as seen in “Jam”), immigration and ractial prejudice, corruption (which leads to a breakdown in services and infrastructure that create other social and economic conditions), rural-urban migration (which leads to congested and chaotic cities), etc.By rural – urban drift I mean people moving from rural areas to cities in search of a means of livelihood. As elsewhere, a city like Lagos, with all its hustle and bustle, holds the (sometimes false) promise of money to be earned and a better life to be had than that of surviving on subsistence farming in a rural village.
– Are the marks of the past influencing your way of taking photographs? If they do, how do history and collective memory affect your work?
In my work I am very much interested in the now and how it is experienced, but of course the present is rooted in the past. My exploration of identity through self portraiture in Nigeria and abroad, for example, is often a function of how I am perceived as a photographer, an artist, a black male, a Nigerian, and so on, which in turn is based on social and cultural points of view that have their roots in history.