The Fela Memorial Force HQ exhibition by Baba Oladeji which held from 4 – 7 March 2016 at the Kongi Harvest Gallery, Freedom Park Lagos.
Speaking to a carefully curated mix of lawyers, architects, artists and students, Falana’s talk: A Leftist Police Force via Progress in the Administration of Criminal Justice was both retrospective and futuristic as he strung his speech from much of Fela’s popular and unpopular numbers, highlighting milestone judgments won for human rights agitation in cases championed by Fela, to make a passionate case for a futuristic collective force organised by the people.
The exhibiting architect, Baba Oladeji invited the audience to see the work as a heterotopia based on a politically-triggered evolution of reality. Having being arrested half a dozen times by the Nigerian Police, Baba spoke of his obsession with seeing the people ‘defeating’ the Police as the driving force behind the project. He also called for the work to be seen as one way to visually explore the untapped potential of the radical Administration of Criminal Justice Law ACJL (2007) written by the Lagos State Government. The 6 agitprop pieces exhibited were embellished with bold editorials and futuristic headlines ranging from “CARS ARE PARKED AT POLICE’S RISK” to “2038 WAS LIT” which Oladeji stresses were designed to mimic the newspaper stand (Nigeria’s real gallery space and natural venue of political debates and contemplation) as a subtle rejection of the colonial gallery space.
Guests were treated to a collage of songs from Nneka, Waje and the Anikulapo-Kuti clan of Seun, Femi and Fela. The 4-day exhibition was viewed by dignitaries from various walks of life including Yeni Kuti, Femi Falana SAN, Jiti Ogunye and Yinka Davies. Others who graced the event are Theo Lawson (architect of Freedom Park), Moyo Onigbanjo SAN, Tosin Oshinowo-Akinkugbe, Seun Oduwole and Dapo Akintunde.
For those who missed the Private View, the Fela Memorial Force HQ Exhibition is not over as it is due to tour 5 cities that reconstruct the context of Fela’s work: from birth to radicalisation to death. The work will be viewed in Abeokuta, London, Los Angeles, Accra and Lagos throughout October 2016 during the yearly Felabration event.
See photos below: