FUN HOUSE, Lagos, Nigeria, 2015
Featured in Bozar Expo Brussels, Belgium
Abandoned and dilapidated structures are plentiful in Lagos. Some, such as the monstrous vacant Federal Secretariat, echo whisperings from a time when Lagos was Nigeria’s capital. Other spaces on Lagos Island hold great historical significance such as the National Museum, the Brazilian Quarter and the Federal Printing Press. Many of these empty buildings, neglected and forgotten, maintain a trace essence of their previous grandeur, prompting a longer gaze, speculation into their histories and ideas on new futures. For a city with one of the largest populations in the world, these unoccupied, at times ostentatious spaces, stand mockingly in stark juxtaposition against their surrounding congested cityscape. Some of these historical relics are now being demolished in favor of more contemporary designs. In Funhouse, one such abandoned residential space becomes an escape from reality, a metaphor and microcosm for three young aspiring Lagosian women. The home’s functionality, vitality and design are reimagined by the whimsical performers who question roles and engage its walls, evoking make-believe and play from childhood, stimulating creative ideas, projecting fantasies, possibilities and dreams. The inhabitants carry out fanciful interactions together, defying conventional limitations, perspectives and restrictions of the space. The home, and by extension Lagos, is an open stage, where anything that is imaginable is possible.