ROOTS Project puts Lagos on the route of the arts and thinking about slavery

In 2009, preventive archaeological excavations prior to the construction of a car park in Lagos uncovered a cemetery […]

In 2009, preventive archaeological excavations prior to the construction of a car park in Lagos uncovered a 140th-century slave cemetery with XNUMX skeletons.

The way in which some of the skeletons were found, mixed with animal bones, as if the area were a dump of things and not a graveyard for human beings, sparked debate in Lagos, with the city rediscovering its six-century-old past, when was a slave depot.

Based on these facts, LAC – Lagos Creative Activities Laboratory is currently developing the ROOTS (Roots) project, which includes the creative residency of artists Fefe Talavera (Brazil), Abraão Vicente (Cape Verde), Jorge Dias (Mozambique) , Isabel Lima (England) and A. Pedro Correia (Portugal).

But, in addition to the artistic creative process, which will be made known to the public in due time, the ROOTS project foresees other initiatives. Thus, this Saturday, the 5th, at 11 am, there will be a visit to the Slave Market, while at 14:30 pm, at LAC, under the theme “Weaving webs in contemporaneity – How material evidence belies literary news”, Jorge Rocha ( Plastic Artist) and Rui Parreira (Archaeologist) will talk with Rui Loureiro (Historian), Maria João Neves (DRYAS – Archaeology) and Fernandes Dias (AFRICA.CONT).

And, through a digital connection, they will also talk with César Piva (Brazil, Cultural Manager, Cultural Incubator of Audiovisual and New Technologies) and with Mary Hark (USA, Design Studies – School of Human Ecology University of Wisconsin-Madison).

This initiative, called «ROOTS Connections» is an informal meeting that aims to stimulate reflection on the principles that support the creation of the artistic residency currently taking place at LAC.

In this sense, LAC invited some people who, due to their cultural background and action, could enrich the debate, in a perspective that could stimulate the strengthening of creative research being carried out by the artists and stimulate connections with the public.

The program was designed to allow for the discussion of the various views of slavery, whether in its historical matrix, which is articulated in the knowledge raised by the most recent archaeological studies, or in the connections established by some interveners in contemporary times. This conversation, which promises to be very interesting, is open to the public.

What is the ROOTS project?

The ROOTS project is an artistic residency, which, according to its promoters, intends to address the issue of slavery «through a contemporary vision, creating new routes and transcultural flows, through the reflection of the cultural diversity of formerly colonized and colonized countries and their influences on the creation of a global and plural miscegenation, questioning and identifying the roots of this process».

«ROOTS takes us doubly to the original meaning of the word, either in the sense of having been the slave torn from its ancestral roots, or of the roots that, over time and successive generations, were created in the countries of destination, shaping its contemporary cultural identity, for example, becomes evident in the cases of Brazil and Cape Verde».

«It also refers us to the idea of ​​route, route and journey, departure and arrival point, of which the city of Lagos is an example and an active participant».

The four artists already in residency at LAC – Fefe Talavera (Brazil), Abraão Vicente (Cape Verde), Jorge Dias (Mozambique), Isabel Lima (England) and A. Pedro Correia (Portugal) – are developing until 12th of November, an individual and/or collaborative creative process, which will culminate in an exhibition that opens on the same day and continues until December 30, to show the works developed, promoting contact with the region's artistic communities and with the various types of audiences.

The project also includes a Cinema Cycle, featuring, on November 24th, December 1st and 8th, a set of films that outline the triangular look at cinematographies that cross in the Atlantic space, as well as the launch of the Roots Catalog, in the December 8th.

LAC also took this opportunity to launch its new website with a section exclusively dedicated to the ROOTS program.