Artist portfolio

Artist portfolio

Jide Odukoya

Libreville, Gabon

Gabon is a sparsely populated country with about 1.6million people. It is estimated that over 300,000 Nigerians live in Gabon. Most of its citizens work in the oil rich government establishments; while foreigners dominate the local business in areas of food, clothing, music sales, electronics, auto spare parts and taxi. These portraits touch on the discourse of migration within the continent, no less saddled with challenges such as xenophobic discrimination and socio-political nightmare. A number of Nigerians who fled Nigeria during the Biafran war are now resident in Gabon. Most would agree that the economy of Gabon is far better than Nigeria while some, entrapped in circumstances far beyond their control, feel there is no place like home.

Their stories recount their experiences, the dangers of migrating through the sea, challenges of starting a new life in a francophone country, a frictional relationship with the authorities, and the threatening fear of returning back to their homeland as empty as when they came.

Jide followed a few of these Nigerians living in Libreville, photographing them consistently during his 10-days stay in the framework of the Invisible Borders road trip.

These works were exhibited as part of the Invisible Borders space-installation at the 56th Venice Biennale of Arts.