Ogboh Brings Nigerian “Open Air” Market to Museum in Unique Sound-Art Exhibition
Emeka Ogboh’s “Market Symphony” exhibition will be open at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African Art, Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2016, through Sept. 24, 2016. Commissioned by the museum, Ogboh’s site-specific sound-artwork draws on the commercial cries and urban ambiance of Balogun—a sprawling open-air market in Lagos, Nigeria, Africa’s largest and most populated city. The artist invites museum visitors to experience the distinctive sounds of this vibrant Nigerian metropolis and the traders who drive its daily economy.
“‘Market Symphony’ will be the first work of sound art to be featured in the museum,” said Karen E. Milbourne, curator at the Museum of African Art. “This multisensory work of art by an emerging global talent will transport visitors across the Atlantic and be accessible to the visually impaired and other audiences who have less opportunity to enjoy our museum.”
In “Market Symphony,” Ogboh records the distinctive sounds of Nigeria’s sprawling, thriving metropolis Lagos in order to reconstruct the experience of its dynamic spaces and urban ambiance. Visitors will hear the voices of traders advertising their goods and calling out for potential customers, the sounds of bantering between buyers and sellers and the overall bustle of Lagos’ major markets.
Speakers will be mounted on colorful enamelware trays commonly used for displaying goods at stalls in markets like Balogun. Laden with food and other goods, these trays are also popular with itinerant hawkers who weave through Lagos’ busy streets while balancing their wares upon their heads. Whether concealed beneath merchandise or navigating crowded streets, the trays lend to the color, chaos and creativity characteristic of the symphony of rhythms at Balogun and other markets. Women and hawkers will call from all sides against the backdrop of horns, footsteps and city living to transport museum goers from the hush of a gallery to a commercial hive approximately 5,400 miles away.
Listen to a sample from Market Symphony