The Atlantic Triangle Exhibition at Re Le Gallery

The Brazilian heritage of Lagos is one of the key definers of its identity, albeit silent and slowly facing erasure, so this new exhibition at Re Le Gallery, bringing together a diverse group of artists to explore that history as a theme is not only welcome, but also timely. The Brazilian heritage is very much a starting point rather than the destination in this exhibition, and visitors expecting to find an extensive exhibition on the history behind the Brazilian link in Lagos may be disappointed. That said, one of the highlights of the exhibition is a short documentary featuring members of the Brazilian descendants, and some of the historic houses. Elsewhere, the exhibition turns to the conceptual exploration of this heritage. The sound installation is a booming echo of the religious influence and exchange that has been a result of this connection, the candles on speakers, and crossed microphones echoing the rituals of candomble, as well as Catholicism. It is perhaps the most profound of the pieces in this exhibition. More literal, but not any less effective is the table of wares, displaying the material embarrassment of the trade in people. George Osodi’s photographs of Lagos are evocative of the span of the city, and provoke thoughts of what it may have looked like in the period the Brazilian returnees arrived. Altogether, The Atlantic Triangle Exhibition is a pleasing exploration of a chapter of Lagos’s history, but one can’t help feeling that there is a bigger potential exhibition being hinted at here – that is explicitly focused on the history and presence of Brazilian returnees in Lagos, and Nigerian life.

The Atlantic Triangle is at ReLe Gallery until 24 April 2017