In Lakin Ogunbanwo’s newest photographic series, he documents the buzzing street culture of Lagos.
By using street hawkers as an allegory for the city’s socio-economic culture of buying and selling, he revives the cultural value of the population’s entrepreneurship; known to be so intrinsic to the energy of Lagos.
In these vibrant images, bottled ground nuts, bicycle wheel tubes, and plastic packets filled with water (pure water) balance on concealed figures’s heads. The weight of these objects seems to freeze movement into still image.
This, coupled with the sensuality of these textures and cool blue hues allows the viewer to soak in this moment: away from the hot, loud, and sweaty surroundings of Lagos. Ogunbanwo isolates these scenes of stagnancy within an otherwise fastpaced city - almost grounding them to a halt - as an offering of time. He provides the serenity for reflection and appreciation of colour, composition, and shape.
This mode of documenting people, clothing and items as aesthetic objects is a style specific to Ogunbanwo’s art practice. The subjects which fill these frames are abstracted to stand like monumental sculptural forms. The skin of their bodies, against the plasticity of the items they sell, reveal a conflation between organic form and synthetic material: of money and traffic.
Ogunbanwo photographs these seemingly unrelated items, such as blow-up pool toys and bread, to reveal the influence and necessity of street hawkers as part of the industry and culture of Lagos.