Berlin + Warsaw: Two photographers and a writer.

Exactly a year ago, two Nigerian photographers, Olayinka Stephen Sangotoye and Jide Odukoya, accompanied by Caine Prize for African writing 2013 finalist and Arts Editor of Sunday Trust Newspaper, Abubakar Adam Ibrahim arrived in Warsaw, Poland for the first leg of their two weeks long study tour of Poland and Germany.    

 

They were in Poland from the 2nd to the 6th of October 2013, during which they visited various places of interest in Warsaw, Cracow and Torun, among which are the Museum of Warsaw Uprising, the vibrant Praga district in Warsaw, the magnificent Copernicus Science Centre and the Centre of Contemporary Art.  

 

 They also had the rear opportunity of meeting with Mr. John Godson, the Nigerian born Polish Member of Parliament and Ifi Ude, a Nigerian born song writer, producer and vocalist both of whom Daily Trust’s Abubakar Adam Ibrahim heard very interesting interviews with.   They then proceeded to the home of Adolf Hitler, Germany where they toured the city of Berlin for what Jide described as one mad week of adventure and eye-opening interactions and discoveries. “It was indeed a memorable experience. One I would relish for a long time to come.” The documentary and wedding award winning photographer said.   It was not just a memorable trip for these three ‘musketeer’, but for all guests at the photo exhibition, who though did not travel to Poland and Germany with the trio but had the opportunity of having a feel of their experience during those two weeks.  

 

The photographs by Jide Odukoya and Olayinka Stephen Sangotoye were on display and they say, ‘beauty is in the eyes of the beholder’. Not only did they capture very inspiring mages, they captured histories of many years gone-by. The images are as clear as the story they portrayed. Speaking on behalf of the trio, Abubakar Adam’s writings, who have written no less than five articles inspired by the trip started by commending his colleagues for their ingenuity? This he captured in the following words: “while I was busy trying to soak in the ambience, they were busy clicking away, spending as much as thirty minutes or more on a single object. Seeing these photographs now, I appreciate them more.” He continued: “Germany is not what we think it to be. That is one lesson I learnt from this trip. It was I different Germany than the one I expected, that I encountered on my arrival in Berlin. Development is rapid but yet, the culture is preserved. Most importantly, the ability of these two nations – Germany and Poland – to confront their horrible past, I think is what we need to learn from.  

 

Initiated by the Polish Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Przemysław Niesiołowski, and organized together by the Embassies of Poland and Germany in Abuja. In his opening remark earlier on, German Ambassador to Nigeria, His Excellency, Mr. Michael Stenner explained that the tour is aimed at showing to Nigerians the evolved and ever growing relationship between the two neighboring countries which after years of trying and difficult history, have developed a strong and friendly relations.   

 

In a chat with the Polish Ambassador after the event, he described culture as a veritable tool for cultural diplomacy. “Our culture is what has made it possible for us, not just to withstand those horrible past but has enable us to rebuild our society in a way that suits us. Here we are today with Germany in spite of what we suffered in their hands. I think now it is about the culture of friendship.” He concluded, adding that this was the reason he initiated this joint project.   It was indeed a culture of friendship. Not just between Germany and Poland but with Nigeria as an African brother.

 

There is a lot for us to learn from this process, especially at this point in the history of our nation when we are confronted with internal insecurity. We need to learn to confront our challenges as a way of finding solutions to them.     The next phase of the photo exhibition is expected to hold in Lagos later in the year.  

 

Written By: Adesewo is a freelance writer for National Mirror newspaper.    

 

Lifted from National Mirror newspaper website.  

 

Few Photographs from the exhibition at the German Embassy in Abuja. Picture by Jide Odukoya.

 

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