LAGOS, Nov 7 (Reuters) – A child on a bike and well-heeled women in bright African fabric tunics flash past the screen, infrared images of a dystopian future where simulated plants and flowers replace the real thing destroyed by climate change.
They were among hundreds of participants at ART X, an annual fair in Lagos, Nigeria’s bustling commercial capital, that hosted more than 120 artists from 40 African countries and the diaspora.
The theme of the fair is “Who will gather under the baobab tree?” Tapping into African wisdom to tackle issues from climate change to political crises.
“We wanted to harness art and creativity to address the challenges we saw in our society,” founder Toccini Peterside-Schwebig told Reuters.
Just outside the fair, floods devastated farmland and displaced more than a million. Desertification has deepened conflicts in Nigeria’s agriculturally rich central region. And elsewhere in Africa, drought has exacerbated food insecurity.
Artists looking to assert their cultural identity by finding African solutions, they said at a fair that ended Sunday as African and other world leaders began meeting in Egypt for two weeks of UN talks to push for a global agreement to fight climate change.
“I think it’s very important to give a platform here at home, so that people can first feel your emotions, feel your anger and all the details that you’re driving first… before exporting to the world,” said Julius Agbaje, 30, who was at the fair. He exhibited his paintings
Ife Obi, 24, standing next to her favorite piece – a giant woven design by Nigerian artist Victor Ehikhamenore that threads plastic beads on lace to create images of traditional African leaders – said she admired the work that amplified African culture and African solutions.
“What kind of people are we if we don’t think about the future?” she said.
Reporting by Libby George; Edited by Barbara Lewis
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