The Institute for Foreign Cultural Relations conceived the artistic competition for the Peace and Security building of the African Union in Addis Ababa. With the exhibition PLAYBACK, the ifa Gallery Berlin provides insight into the winning project by the Nigerian artist Emeka Ogboh.
The exhibition is based on the sound and archival materials the artist has assembled for the installation in Addis Ababa. Emeka Ogboh merges historical speeches broadcast by the Ethiopian radio network on the occasion of the founding ceremony of the Organisation for African Unity in 1963, with newly arranged compositions and his own sound recordings to form a multi-part installation. With reference to the principle of "Unity in Diversity" the artist develops an adaptation of the anthem of the African Union based on translations into the various vernacular languages. In the form of a dynamic archive of voices, sounds and thoughts, the installation engages with the past and present of the association of African states, with its pan-African visions and rhetorical expressions.
The jury, presided and moderated by the artist Olafur Eliasson, brought together experts from across Africa. The jury’s decision was preceded by a three-day conference entitled Future Memories, which provided a forum to discuss cultures of memory and the significance of art in public spaces in African contexts. The conference was jointly conceived and organised by the ifa and the Alle School of Fine Arts and Design of the University of Addis Ababa, and financed by the German Federal Foreign Office.