Yaphoto@Arakawa Africa

Arakawa Africa, OGU MAG and YaPhoto – Yaounde Photo Network, in collaboration with Making Histories Visible (University of Central Lancashire) are pleased to announce YaPhoto@Arakawa Africa, a three-day event on Cameroonian photography and video art from Africa and the Diaspora.

Organised as a pre-event to Arakawa Africa, an annual art project bridging the African presence in Tokyo’s Arakawa ward with cultures from the continent, YaPhoto@Arakawa Africa will consist of a photography exhibition, video art screenings and an illustrated talk by Christine Eyene, co-founder of YaPhoto.

The exhibition will feature Romuald Dikoume, Blaise Djilo, Max Mbakop, Steve Mvondo and Yvon Ngassam, five Cameroonian photographers never exhibited in Japan before. Romuald Dikoume’s work in progress is a visual experiment involving protagonists performing scenes of pre-colonial times. Excerpts from Blaise Djilo’s series Feou Kake (2016) will present out of the ordinary figures taking part in a traditional harvest celebration in the Northern part of Cameroon. Max Mbakop series on roller-skate and BMX will show one aspect of urban culture in Douala. Steve Mvondo’s Crown of Beauty (2016) is an exquisite series of studio portraits of women wearing headwraps, an important signifier within black female politics of representation. Yvon Ngassam, who is currently exhibiting at the 2nd Changjiang International Photography and Video Biennale (China), will invite visitors to discover the town of Bandjoun, in Western Cameroon, through amazing rural and urban landscapes, cultural heritage, portraits and various scenes.

In addition to the photography exhibition will be programmed Digital Africa (Tokyo) a new iteration of the video art screening first presented in London last May in collaboration with Open Source and Vortex. An open call invited artists from Africa and the Diaspora to submit video pieces focusing on aesthetic forms, sonic components and experimental video editing translating visual cultures and experiences, as well as collective or personal narratives, beyond the language barrier.

Finally, Christine Eyene will introduce YaPhoto to the public and discuss Cameroonian photography in relation to the broader context of Africa and the global art scene. Christine Eyene is a French-Cameroonian art historian, critic and curator based in the UK. She is a Research Fellow in Contemporary Art at the University of Central Lancashire and is also writing a thesis on South African photographer George Hallett at Birkbeck, University of London.

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YaPhoto@Arakawa Africa
10-11-12 August 2017

Exhibition opening reception: Thur 10 Aug, 6.00 pm – 8:00pm
Curator’s talk with Christine Eyene: Fri 11 Aug, 6.00 pm – 8:00pm
Screening Digital Africa (Tokyo): Saturday 12 Aug, 5.00-7.00 pm

Gallery opening times: 2:00 pm – 8:00 pm (closing at 7:00 pm on Sat 12 Aug).

For further information please contact:
Hideko Saito at

4-24-7 Higashiogu
Tokyo 116-0012

View images of the exhibition YaPhoto@Arakawa Africa and press articles here.

About the organisers:

YaPhoto – Yaounde Photo Network is an independent photography platform co-founded by curators Christine Eyene and Landry Mbassi. Launched in September 2016, it consists of a website, workshops, and a programme of events focusing on lens-based art practices (photography and video) in Cameroon and internationally.

OGU MAG is a gallery space founded in May 2010, located in Arakawa ward, Tokyo, an area where craftsmen still live and work. The space exhibits diverse artworks, from traditional crafts by regional craftsmen to contemporary art. It also holds workshops and lectures, and aims to develop as a place of reflection and interaction between the arts and the local area.
www.ogumag.com (Japanese)
http://www.tokyoartbeat.com/venue/504CB5A2.en (English)

Making Histories Visible is an interdisciplinary visual art research project based at the Centre for Contemporary Art (School of Art, Design and Fashion), University of Central Lancashire. The project is led by Turner Prize 2017 nominee Lubaina Himid MBE, Professor of Contemporary Art, supported by Christine Eyene, Research Fellow in Contemporary Art.

Arakawa Africa is a comprehensive annual art event started in 2010 in Arakawa ward, Tokyo. It consists of exhibitions, residency programs, artists’ talks and more. Arakawa Africa aims to highlight the African presence in Arakawa through art, and create cross-cultural exchanges.


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