Born in 1980, Emeka Okereke is a Nigerian photographer who lives and works in Africa and Europe. He holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts, Paris, and his work has been exhibited in biennials and art festivals in Lagos, Cape Town, London, Berlin, Barcelona, New York, Paris, and Washington, D.C., among other cities. In 2003, the Association Française d’Action Artistique gave Okereke the award for best young photographer at its Afrique en Créations program at the Bamako Photo Festival of Photography. Okereke has organized a number of groundbreaking photographic exchange programs, including Converging Visions: Nigeria–Netherlands Photo Exchange (June–September 2012). Okereke is the founder and artistic director of the African artists’ collective Invisible Borders.
Introduction by Emeka Okereke
When I was invited to put together a selection of music and sound recordings to accompany the publication of Invisible Borders in Esopus, I was immediately taken with the prospect. It was an exciting concept, and it felt like a break from the sometimes redundant routine that comes even when one is doing what one loves. My head spun in different directions and my thoughts wandered through an array of music and sounds I have become familiar with over the course of four editions of the Invisible Borders road-trip project.
As I eventually set myself to the task, a natural starting point that came to me was to blend music from a range of artists—mostly African ones—with recorded sounds and conversations from the road. Not only have we amassed an impressive archive of images, writings, and videos from the project; we have kept equal stock of the audio, capturing conversations between participants, interviews with those encountered along the way, or sometimes just the ambient sounds of hard winds as experienced from inside the van as we traversed long distances.
In putting together this mix, I was hoping to offer the audience—as we have tried to do with the images, writings, and films we’ve shared—a glimpse of the mood of the road trips. I also took the liberty of envisioning a mix that would resonate with the ideals of Invisible Borders, rooted as it is in creativity, spontaneity, improvisation, and the exploration of precolonial histories of the African continent.