Akinbode Akinbiyi - May Ayim: Poet. 1996.

11 Jun 2022 – 30 Jun 2022

Regular hours

12:00 – 20:00
12:00 – 20:00
12:00 – 20:00
12:00 – 20:00
12:00 – 20:00
12:00 – 20:00

Free admission

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Berlin, Germany

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The exhibition presents a collection carefully selected from Akinbiyi's personal archive images from 1996, which simultaneously reflects documentation, grief and the timelessness of May Ayim's work.


Meandering, wandering, amongst densely woven threads.

This is how life unfolds: in constant wandering, in constant search for meaning, on never-ending paths, streets and alleys, highways and byways - labyrinthine in their infinity, in their invitation to the wanderer: here, yet another fascinating corner, barely visible footprints on the earth, traces of silent vibrations on the unrelenting pavement. 1996 was such a year. The sad, even devastating, news of her passing. A young neophyte practicing on a discarded keyboard.

– Akinbode Akinbiyi

Akinbode Akinibiyi is known for reflecting a range of obliterated and subaltern narratives in his black and white photographs. In "May Ayim. Poet. 1996." he wanders, wonders and documents a loss that is as personal as it is collective. 

Almost as if capturing the stillness, the Nigerian-British Berliner moves with ease through a space as heavy as the funeral of a loved one, a friend, a writer who will have made history almost three decades later. 

The exhibition presents a collection carefully selected from Akinbiyi's personal archive images from 1996, which simultaneously reflects documentation, grief and the timelessness of May Ayim's work.

"May Ayim: Poet. 1996." is part of rongin shagor, an artistic intervention in which a series of multidisciplinary and multilingual artists respond to a poem by May Ayim.

The exhibition opening with artist talk (Akinbode Akinbiyi) and live stream will take place on June 10th at Oyoun.

Time schedule:

18:00 - Opening

20:00 - Talk with artist Akinbode Akinbiyi and Muhammad Salah Abdulaziz in Oyoun Garden.

The exhibition is open from 11 to 30 June every day between 12 p.m. and 20 p.m.


About the artist: 

_Akinbode Akinbiyi

Born in Oxford, England to Nigerian parents. School and studies in Nigeria, England and Germany. BA English from Ibadan University. Akinbode has been working as a freelance photographer since 1977. In 1987 he received a STERN reportage grant to work in the cities of Lagos, Kano and Dakar. In 1993 Akinbiyi co-founded UMZANZSI, a cultural center in Clermont Township, Durban, South Africa.

Akinbiyi's photographic focus is on large, sprawling megacities. He wanders and winds his way along the freeways and side streets in order to understand and engage with the modern metropolis. He works primarily in the four major African cities of Lagos, Cairo, Kinshasa and Johannesburg, but also in other major cities such as Khartoum, Addis Ababa, Dakar and Bamako, to name just a few. European, North and South American cities also attract his attention, such as recently Sao Paulo and 2019 Chicago.

There is no single point of view, or a specific way of working or wandering. The work is open-ended and driven by the desire to delve as deeply as possible into the meaning and subjectivity of everyday life. Akinbiyi also works as a curator and has given photo workshops internationally, including in Nigeria, Sudan, Sweden, England and the USA. He lives and works in Berlin.

The project rongin shagor is being developed as part of the "dive in. program for digital interactions" of the Federal Cultural Foundation, funded by the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and Media (BKM) in the NEUSTART KULTUR program and the Senate Department for Culture and Europe.


Madhumita Nandi

Anja Saleh

Exhibiting artistsToggle

Akinbode Akinbiyi


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