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• Togo, Benin, and Nigeria, Africa

Untitled West Africa Photo Collage

Photographs and collage

In this series, I printed and dissected photos I took during my 2021-2022 trip to Benin, Nigeria, Togo, and reorganized the elements to create new 5” x 7” images of landscapes that form hybrids from the three nations. The new images are representations of how I experienced the landscapes as I moved through the region. I documented construction machinery, development and underdevelopment, failed/incomplete construction projects, vehicles, open-air entrepreneurial ventures, hand-made objects, vegetation, and people moving through these spaces. The collages highlight direct impacts of European colonialism and neo-colonialism on the physical, political, and psychological landscapes of the region. The photographs were created while crossing borders of Togo, Benin, and Nigeria. The act of dissecting, scrambling and constructing new images of these (hybrid West African) landscapes, conceptually re-unites and re-organizes these geographies that were divided during the Berlin Conference of 1884. Subsequently, each image is a reimagining of the locations.

Untitled West Africa Photo Collage No.11, No.7, No.1, No.9

Nyugen E. Smith, based in Jersey City, NJ. Received a BA from the Fine Art from Seton Hall University and an MFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He is a first-generation Caribbean-American artist working primarily in mixed media drawing and painting, found-object assemblage, and performance; deepening his knowledge of the historical and present-day conditions of Black African descendants in the diaspora. Spiritual practices, language, architecture, and climate change are the primary concerns in his practice.