ARS ELECTRONICA 2020: Kennii Ekundayo Presents
“Pandemic-Pandemonium!” in the Austria-based Media & Digital Arts
Press Release: August 19, 2020 LINZ, AUSTRIA & LAGOS, NIGERIA
Lagos-based Curator, Kennii Ekundayo will be joining 119 other international
partners to participate in this year’s 41st edition of Ars Electronica Festival.
Her curatorial outfit, Galeri ODUMIJE will be presenting a media art
exhibition titled “Pandemic-Pandemonium!” —accessible on the web
platforms of the festival.
“Pandemic-Pandemonium!” is a two-part presentation centred on the
collective response of Africans living in Africa to some of the prevalent issues
that threaten humankind — racial discrimination, violence against women
and the COVID-19 pandemic. Whilst one part makes a statement on the
resilience of the human spirit in the face of the deadly coronavirus, the other
focuses on the valorisation of the melanin-rich skin amidst the fatal hostility
that accompanies it.
It features submissions from four Nigerian artistes in varying media that
include poetry, photography and video art. The artistes are Bernard Kalu,
Ikenna Ogbenta, Efe Paul Azino and Tobi ‘Tej’ Tejumola, all of whom are
represented in the festival by Galeri ODUMIJE.
“ “Pandemic-Pandemonium!” is aimed at delineating some of the events that
have besieged us even through these confusing times. These would include
our adaptability to the pandemic crisis, the war waged against the abuse of
women, and the black stance on racial prejudice”, says Ekundayo in her video
The exhibition is hinged on the theme of Humanity, one of the issues touched
upon in this year’s festival edition. It will come alive upon the opening of Ars
Electronica 2020 from September 9 to 13; and will be made available even
ABOUT KENNII EKUNDAYO
Kehinde “Kennii” Ekundayo is an independent art curator based in Lagos,
Nigeria. Specific about modern and contemporary African art, she has curated
exhibitions around the country. Her professional practice began in March 2017
with a group exhibition of amateur photographers, and has grown to curating
key projects involving the likes of revered legendary artist, Bruce
Onobrakpeya and Nobel laureate, Wole Soyinka, in various media ranging
from drawings and paintings, to film and photographs, to texts and
installations amongst other art forms.
She is affiliated with the Committee for Relevant Art (CORA), a Nigerian
not-for-profit platform for artists, art critics and aficionados, and culture
advocates as the Communications Officer. She is also a part of the organizing
team of the Lagos Book & Art Festival, LABAF, a yearly prime literacy and
youth empowerment project that is now in its 22nd edition.
Ekundayo is head curator at Galeri ODUMIJE, an outfit she recently
established and which operates out of Lagos, Nigeria.
ABOUT THE FEATURED/REPRESENTED ARTISTS
Ikenna Ogbenta (NG) grew up in Enugu State, Nigeria. He was first
introduced to photography at age 5 and has continued ever since, motivated
by both society and the people. His major focus is on photography that
represents the dynamics of religion, culture and fashion in Nigeria. He lives
and works in Lagos, Nigeria.
Efe Paul Azino (NG) is one of Nigeria’s leading performance artists and
poets. In 2015, he co-founded West Africa’s first international poetry festival,
the Lagos International Poetry Festival, which he currently directs. He is also
the director of poetry at the annual Lagos Book and Art Festival. In 2017 he
was named as one of the most powerful people in the Nigerian art and culture
space by Ynaija. He published his first collection of poetry in 2015 titled For
Broken Men Who Cross Often, under Farafina Books. He has appeared at the
Berlin Poetry Festival, Johannesburg Arts Alive Festival, Spier International
Poetry Festival Cape Town, Taipei Poetry Festival and the Ake Book and Arts
Festival amongst others. His poems have been translated into Afrikaans,
French, German and Mandarin. He is an Osiwa Poetry Residency Fellow, 2019
Moniack Mhor Poet in Residence, and his second poetry collection, The
Tragedy of Falling with Laughter Stuck in Your Throat, is due out soon.
Tobi Tej (NG) is a photographer and producer based in Lagos, Nigeria whose
work is inspired by the passion to explore life and preserve moments.
Bernard Kalu (NG) is a documentary photographer based in Lagos, Nigeria,
with a passion for humans and the stories they tell simply by existing. His
work aims to explore life and humanity, and raising awareness about
environmental and social issues in his home country, Nigeria.
ABOUT ARS ELECTRONICA
The Ars Electronica Festival is centered on the latest in art, technology, and
science and is held by Ars Electronica, a media art research institute based in
Linz, Austria. First held in 1979, the festival has since become one of the
largest and most important media art events in the world.
Ars Electronica 2020 : In Kepler’s Gardens
A global journey mapping the ‘new’ world
A journey in which it is not we who set out to travel, but our ideas and projects,
which span a global network in which we gather to discuss what needs to be done.
Touchpoints: Autonomy, Democracy, Ecology, Technology, Humanity, Uncertainty
Following last year’s brilliant 40th anniversary festival, which brought more
artists, exhibitors and international experts to Linz than ever before, this year
Ars Electronica is going on a journey, or rather the festival itself is becoming a
journey—a journey through “Kepler’s Gardens.” A journey through the
networked biotopes and ecosystems in which people all over the world are
working to develop and shape our future, and these days that means, above
all, working to save our future.
This year, Ars Electronica is not only taking place in Linz, but in 120 “Kepler’s
Gardens” around the globe. For the first time, the festival is putting itself to
the test as a digital travel agency that brings visitors from all over the world to
“gardens where art, technology and society intersect,” which are as
fascinating as they are inspiring. Destinations are in abundance; there are “Ars
Electronica Gardens” in Barcelona (Institut Ramon Llull, Hangar, UOC—ISEA
Barcelona, NewArtFoundation—BEEP Collection, OFFF Barcelona,
Espronceda), in Brussels (BOZAR), in Tokyo (Japan Media Arts Festival), in
Boston (MIT Media Lab), in Buenos Aires (National University of Tres de
Febrero, Muntref Centro de Arte y Ciencia), in Seoul (K’ARTS Korea National
University of Arts), in Basel (HeK Haus der elektronischen Künste), in Athens
(Onassis Stegi), in Silicon Valley (Open Austria), in Johannesburg (Fakugesi
Festival), in Los Angeles (UCLA), in Auckland (University of Auckland), in
Vilnius (Vilnius Academy of Arts) and in Amsterdam (Waag). At all these
locations between September 9 and 13, artists, scientists, developers,
entrepreneurs and activists will be addressing the question of how the “new”
world should look after—or with?—Corona.
So “Kepler’s Gardens” is not only the name of the new festival venue in Linz,
which will move from Postcity to the Kepler’s Gardens on JKU’s
well-equipped campus, transforming its beautiful and extensive parks into an
extraordinary festival site.
“Kepler’s Gardens” is also the metaphor for the festival’s organizing principle
in a global lockdown: a festival that will not dive into the network and
disappear there, but will emerge from the network and manifest itself in many
places around the world, distributed and networked.
Ars Electronica Festival 2020
September 9-13, 2020
Linz, Austria & Lagos, Nigeria
For further information, please contact Kennii Ekundayo, curator of
“Pandemic-Pandemonium!” at firstname.lastname@example.org
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