Open Call: Whispers of the Wilderness

22 September 2022 | by Emeka Okereke

Invisible Borders Trans-African Road Trip, in partnership with National Geographic Society will embark on a ten days road trip project around the Okavango Delta in Botswana. This project is scheduled to take place in November 2022.

Employing methodologies and approaches tested for over a decade under the Invisible Borders Trans-African Road Trip Project, artists will be assembled to take a journey of “quiet listening” through the region of the Okavango Delta

As artists involved in the tactile exploration of roads, lands and rivers in the African continent, we consider ourselves conduits in the most urgent/timely conversations of the 21st century engendered by the intertwining, multi-layered mechanisms of borders, national identity, the climate, culture and, last but not least, nature. The Okavango Delta World Heritage property is an outstanding example of the complexity, inter-dependence and interplay of all components mentioned above.

As we strive to reconnect the truncated link between nature and culture while highlighting the dangerous impact of such dismemberment on our ability to connect sensorially and empathically with a planetary self, knowledge from such place as the Okavango Delta might help us relearn our humanity.

The narrative of the Delta is a metaphor for movement and the precariousness of journeys. Yet, the most fascinating about the Okavango is how much it is exemplary of the nurturing character of nature. It is life in its most organic, complex manifestation. Tributaries are arteries through which life flows in a cyclic pattern similar to the body’s circulatory system. While the Delta may have generated its defence mechanism over centuries (thereby protecting itself, to some extent, from colonial explorations and exploitations), the exigencies of bordered lands and peoples seem to be the only antithesis to this boundless work of nature.

Works created will comprise photography, writing (fiction and non-fiction), film/video art, audiovisual, sound art and performances – all of which are envisaged to be components of an exhibition installation and publication.

Three artists from Botswana, Namibia and Angola, respectively, will be assembled for the project under the auspices of Invisible Borders Trans-African Project, led by the Artistic Director, Emeka Okereke, who will equally create artistic works in the process.

With the above in mind, we are calling on artists living and working in the aforementioned countries to apply to part in this project.

Important points to note:

– The Project will be divided into two phases: research/orientation phase, Road Trip Phase, Post-Road Trip Phase. This will span a period of 2 to three months starting from the official confirmation of the artist’s participation
– The Road Trip phase will involve participating artists travelling together starting from Botswana towards the Okavango Delta and across the borders of Botwana, Namibia, and Angola around the Caprivi Strip. Further information will be communicated to selected participants.
– The Road Trip will last a period of 10 to 12 days.
– The Road Trip will take place sometime between the 10 – 31 November, 2022. The exact dates will be communicated to selected participants.
– Participants must be fluent in English
– We are looking for artists who work mainly with the medium of photography, writing (fiction and non-fiction), film and video art, sound art, performance art. Multidisciplinary artists straddling more than one of the aforementioned medium are particularly encouraged to apply.
– Only artists from Botswana, Namibia and Angola are encouraged to apply for this project.
– The project is supervised by Emeka Okereke, the Artistic Director of Invisible Borders Trans-African, who will also lead the Road Trip.

To apply, send your portfolio, CV, biography and a photo of you to:

Deadline for this call is 25 September 2022.

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