A researcher, Nura Nura Ali, has said that addressing the social, health and other challenges of Makoko, a slum community in Lagos State, would be easier to achieve if solutions are sought from the point of view of residents.
The researcher stated this on Thursday at an art exhibition themed: “Makoko Moment” organized to capture the essence of the neighbourhood challenges of Makoko and inspire change and development.
The exhibition offered personal perspectives on the challenges, stereotypes of Makoko and fostered understanding through the lenses of those who know it best—the community members themselves.
The event titled: ‘Culture and Everyday Life in Makoko’ sprang up as a result of Nura Ali’s doctoral research from the University College, London, titled: ‘The Hydro-social Production of Health in Lagos.’
It began on August 28 and ended on Wednesday, September 13 at the Yusuf Grillo Gallery, School of Art at Yaba College of Technology in Lagos.
Ali, who stressed the importance of representing Makoko from the residents’ point of view, said, “Makoko is frequently featured in the media, but none of these portrayals truly reflect how residents see themselves and their surroundings. The intention behind this exhibition is to share the residents’ own perspectives and showcase the beauty of their lives.
“The exhibition has unveiled a collection of photographs that expertly captured the spirit of belonging and confidence within the residents. These captivating images offered a fresh perspective into the everyday lives of Makoko’s inhabitants, providing a glimpse into their unique experiences.”
Makoko is a widely covered place, both visually and narratively, because of the deprivation and the need to survive. The residents who do not have a say in their depiction were given the opportunity to take pictures portraying the culture and everyday life as a way to counter the predominant narrative in the area.
Lukas Lotterberger, an Australian multimedia journalist and Ali’s fiance said, “I wanted the exhibition to be recognisable, so I created a logo that symbolises water, paying homage to the name Makoko.”
A resident, Wole Shokunle, said: “I hope this event will bring our community more to the limelight and draw the sincere attention of the government to the basic amenities that are lacking. Makoko is a deliberately abandoned and neglected community without provision for basic amenities and infrastructure.
“I grew up here and saw it as nothing but a ghetto. Today, I realised that Makoko can be Nigeria’s Napoli (Italy).”