Arts & Entertainment

Odusanya, Ajayi, Others Headline 2023 GPN Exhibition

Notable members of the Guild of Photojournalists Nigeria have showcased a body of works on the sidelines of its Annual Guild of Photojournalists Conference/ Exhibition and Awards 2023 held at the luxurious Nigerian Bar Association in GRA, Ikeja on Friday, December 08, 2023. 

The Exhibition with a theme centered on ‘Environmental Pollution: A Threat To Human, Economic and Social Rights’ exemplified the short and long-term effects of human activities on air, land, and water especially in Lagos, Nigeria.

Odutayo Odusanya, a former staff of PUNCH Newspapers and general secretary of GPN in the works exhibited at the event, captured a landfill of over 50ft high and located in a residential community of Igando, Lagos State. The stench and sight emanating from this landfill, especially in the rainy season was enough to create health-related issues for the inhabitants of this place. The same situation was also buttressed in his workpiece titled, ‘Submerged 2017’ where dozens of buildings were submerged by the wastewater from the same landfill making inhabitants flee for their lives.

In another work titled, ‘Black Pool’ a photograph shot at Badia, a suburb in Iganmu end of Lagos, depicted a major confluence of wastewater that has become a lake for all manner of microorganisms causing diseases to inhabitants. 

Again, another set of visuals were seen that focused on air pollution.  A workpiece titled ‘Smokey Machine 2018’ typifies the theme with dense fumes containing carbon monoxide from a commercial motorbike exhaust into the air at a mechanic workshop. Same with ‘Air Choke 2018’ which describes a gaseous diffusion in the air, causing hazy and unclear vision to motorists and pedestrians at the Alausa-Ojota axis of Lagos State where a major landfill at Olusosun was situated.

L-R: Odutayo Odusanya, Bolaji Olasunkanmi, Dele Onatade and Segun Raphael

Another of Odutayo Odusanya’s great works was a portrait of a lonely little girl in a canoe at the Makoko area in Lagos. The background of this piece reveals human wastes being disposed into the water body and also the foreground of the young girl tells a lot about the unhygienic practices of the inhabitants. 

Another exhibitor and photo editor of Daily Independent Newspaper, Mr Kunle Ajayi showcased solid wastes on the major road in Iyana ipaja, Lagos where heaps of refuse littered the environment and could endanger the lives of motorists.  In another frame, Ajayi captured a moving vehicle emitting dense fumes covering the skyline with black smoke and making motorists grope for visibility. This speaks to the safety of people and the relevant government agencies responsible for upholding the rules.

Pollution is said to be a major problem in many cities around the world, especially bad in some of the world’s biggest cities and notorious for their large population, high concentration of motor vehicles, and industrial pollution. 

Lagos, the largest city in West Africa with an estimated 20 million people living in an area of less than 100 square kilometers is a suffocating mix of air pollution, single-use plastic pollution, and solid waste in the city’s streets causing respiratory problems, floodings and other illnesses among the locals.

 According to a World Bank Group report in 2022, it is estimated that at least 30,000 people die every year in Lagos due to pollution.

In an opening remark by the curator and Head, of General Studies, Nigerian Institute of Journalism, Ogba, Lagos, Dr. Adeboye Ola commended the efforts of members of GPN and urged them to take the project and own it for a greater result.

“The works reveal the positive side of Nigerian photojournalists with the home media. Unlike the usual visually uninspiring news photographs in their newspapers,  the exhibited works show powerful single images of candid and feature on the theme of environment.  The exhibitors should explore the theme deeper as personal projects that can lead to in-depth visual stories.”

Other photojournalists who showcased their works included Saheed Olugbon, Olusegun Raphael, Benedict Uwalaka, and Pius Okeosisi among others. 

The exhibition had a fair share of camaraderie, networking, and entertainment.


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