In a two-storey building posed on the sands of Ikoyi,
Resides a white space, hidden yet open to you and me,
A space, thought we, would be empty,
Just one step in, and swallowed we were, deeper into its belly,
Thrown back, drawn back in history,
We saw a Nigeria we missed,
Oh Yes! We reminisced.
In photos and paintings, both coloured and black & white,
In furniture of bamboo, straw and finishes of local print textiles,
In lamp-holders, pillows, stools and benches- all made from local materials…
We saw the Nigeria of our fore-fathers,
A Nigeria we all yearn to bring back.
A Whitespace, located at No. 58, Raymond Njoku Crescent, Ikoyi, takes the look of a regular residential building, but have been creatively transfigured by Lost in Lagos into a multi-media exhibition space for visitors seeking to get lost in the beautiful city of Lagos. Lost in Lagos is an organization that aims to help visitors to Lagos discover the city with its comprehensive directory of restaurant’s, shops and more.
A beautiful and neat set of bamboo benches and tables welcomed us as we entered the premises of the building, and Tannaz Etebarian Bahnam, the beautiful and gorgeous founder of Lost in Lagos, with a pleasant smile ushered us into the belly of her creatively crafted Whitespace.
After collecting numerous old photos of different people and places in Nigeria, documenting the everyday life of Nigerians, Lost in Lagos decided to make them up into a beautiful collage called "The Nostalgia Project". Standing before this huge collage, one cannot but be overwhelmed by the beams of reminiscent light exuding from the photos, as one is uncontrollably thrown back in time to the Nigeria of 1950s-1970s. The scenes included family photos, graduation photos, high school sporting events, election campaign photos, people in rural areas, wedding ceremonies, old posters, several portraits of military and traditional people, photos of old currencies etc. The characters in the photos appear happy, peaceful, promising, confident and contented. The men wore afro hair styles with ‘partings’, ‘conductor’ shirts, ‘trumpet-shaped’ trousers, Agbádá and boogie shoes. The women dressed gorgeously and neatly with lovely flowing ball gowns, traditional Ìró and Bùbá and boogie shoes.
Another collage on display featured scenes from different places and people in Lagos. It is a multi-media gallery show-casing the various sights in the city, such as shopping scenes, fashion, beaches, self portraits, markets, parks, public tricycles (Kèké Márwá), Dánfó (public buses), foods, restaurants, schools, post-office etc. taken and submitted by people through their mobile phones. The collage as well as a number of paintings on the walls aim to show the influence of social media on the lives of people in the city of Lagos.
We kept snapping and tweeting away photos of the Whitespace as we moved from one room to another, thanks to the efficient and free wifi network within the building. We left A Whitespace with a deep sense of appreciation of Nigeria’s past, better understanding of the present and a hope that the diminishing cultural values that sustained and held the ancient Nigerian society can be brought back.
We stepped back into the sun-tanned street and strolled down to our next stop which is a few doors away from A Whitespace.
- The Nostalgia Project.
- Tannaz talking about the painting in the background… “Social media in ancient Nigeria.”
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