My photographs are usually classed within the genre of environmental portraiture. In this series, I asked a simple question: What if I were to change the environment in which street people from Lagos appear, and put them in “other” streets of “other” metropolises? Would this allow us to begin to see, as Proust put it, with “other eyes”?
I found a real connection between Marcel Proust’s quote; "The only true voyage... is to possess other eyes, to see the world with the eyes of another, of a hundred others, to see the hundred worlds that each of them sees, that each of them is" and the interwoven/interconnected world that globalization (migration, trade and technology enabled communication) has thrust upon the way in which we see the other and define our own identities.
This is how the idea of “Ethnoscapes – Icons as Transplants” was born.
This point of view led to more questions: What meaning will be conveyed by changing the context so that the image is neither familiar between object nor subject? Indeed will the portraits taken in the Lagos metropolis somehow start to speak with voices from “other” metropolises?
Juxtaposing these two types of images results in a visual tension were our perception becomes heightened.
Viewing these images, slowly, layer by layer, we start to unravel the visual tension created by the middle ground (between fore and background) and the images start to hint: at, for example, polarizing tensions in migrant communities, the paradoxes of blended identity in an interconnected world and the consumption homogeneity of globalization.
The ethnoscapes with their “other eyes” and “other voices” can help our quest of coming to know, of coming to a point of understanding of both self and the other.