Category Archives: Contest

Interview: Shasha Nakhai, Director of “Take Light”

Take Light stills_63

Thursday August 14, 2003. Most people in Toronto – and most of Ontario for that matter – still have a vivid memory of that day. My recollection starts around 4pm on that sweltering summer afternoon. I was sitting in front of my computer editing my design portfolio in preparation for a job interview. I briefly stood up to stretch out my legs and just as I was sitting back down, the screen suddenly went blank. I thought I might have mistakenly kicked the extension cord underneath my cramped desk. I kissed my teeth thinking of all the unsaved edits I would have to recreate from scratch. I crouched down underneath the desk, pushed the plugs into the power bar and flicked the power switch a few times but the computer still wouldn’t come on. I looked over at the boxed fan in the corner and noticed that its spinning blades were gradually slowing down to a halt. It took a few more switch flicks and a trip to the circuit breaker to confirm what I had once concieved impossible – there was a power outage. As we say in Nigeria, they have taken light in Toronto!

Outside on the street, the scene felt vaguely apocalyptic. The unresponsive traffic lights created a noisy chaotic mess of car horns honking and screeching breaks. Initially, long queues of people looking for any drink or snack to keep them cool, formed outside convenient stores. A few hours later those same shops were practically giving away tubs of ice creams as they melted down to liquid sludge. By night fall, the mood had turned from restless to festive (or at least resigned). Barbecues were popping up everywhere as people resolved to rescue their meats by eating or sharing as much as possible. Phone lines were down so we roamed the streets paying unscheduled visits to anybody we knew along the way. That night, in pitch darkness, I lay on a mattress in a friend’s backyard and looked up at the sky. It was the first time I had seen so many stars so clearly in the city. For Toronto, the power outage had turned into a big adventure. By the time the problem was fixed the next day, quite a few people were disappointed it had not lasted longer. When the anniversary of “The Blackout” came around, there were even jokes about reenacting it.

In the developing world where more than 1 billion people currently live without electricity, nobody wishes for a power outage. It’s not an adventure, it’s a frustrating nightmare. Throughout my childhood and my frequents visits back to Nigeria, few things have been more constant and disappointing than the electricity issue. We find ways to work around it but we should not have to: Nigeria has one of the world’s largest gas reserves and is Africa’s top energy producer. So why is electricity often limited to a few hours a day to the less than 50% of  Nigerians that even have access to electricity?  In her new documentary, “Take Light”,  opening soon at Hot Docs Festival, Director Shasha Nakhai, explores the Nigerian electricity issue (and it’s many consequences) through the stories of everyday people connected by the grid.

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Your new documentary takes an unflinching look at the electricity crisis that has plagued Nigeria for decades. What is your connection with Nigeria and why did you choose to make this documentary?

Shasha Nekhai: I grew up in Nigeria. I lived there for the first 15 years of my life and my family has been there for about 40 years. Growing up my entire childhood has been framed by the power issues in the country. Almost all of my childhood memories have something to do with NEPA*. I remember some nights my parents would fan me to sleep because there was “no light” and it was too hot and I couldn’t fall asleep. When I came to Canada at 15 and started moving between Canada and Nigeria, it was only then that I realized how absurd the situation was and I think coming up with the idea for the film is rooted in moving between the two worlds.

TakeLight_Still047_Richard

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Help Wanted! Apply Within.

We are looking for interns and volunteers to work on some exciting projects we have lined up for 2016 in the Toronto area. If you have an affinity for contemporary African culture and a passion for fashion or the arts, we have some awesome opportunities that you will definitely be interested in. You can find more information on the paid internships and volunteer positions below.
 
1) Communications Intern (1 position)
2) Studio Manager /Artist Assistant Intern (2 positions)
3) General Volunteers (3 positions)
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To Apply:
1. Research past events such as Afrotropolis Wonderland, MasqueradeTO, Palattes of Africa and The (Re)Generator Project to get a feel for the tone and scope of the projects that we produce.
2. Send an email to Lucy@supafrik.com with your resume and cover letter outlining what you bring to the table and what you hope to gain from the experience. Be sure to indicate with position or positions you are applying for.
3. Feel free to put some thought/creativity into your application but hurry! Deadline is December 23! Good luck!
 
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Position: Communications Intern
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Key Responsibilities:
Act as social media liaison. This will involve but is not limited to:
* Documenting the work in progress of the artists working on the projects
* Generating original content around the various projects

* Sending out personalized email PR blasts to blogs

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Artists Announced for SUPAFRIK #4

In an effort to engage with the local arts community, we decided to narrow down the focus of our call to submissions for SUPAFRIK #4 to the DMV (DC, Maryland, Virginia) area. We were impressed by the breadth and depth of the African-inspired artwork we received from local artists. It was very hard to select from such a talented pool of artists but after some deliberation, we are proud to announce the following artists whose works will be featured in the SUPAFRIK pop-up at Gallery O on H, Washington DC from October 18 – 21.

Yodith Dammlash
Roxy D’Elia
Nadia Janjuah
Mensa Kondo
Lydia La Motta
Amber Robles-Gordon
Lillian Shaw
Sphinx
Stan Squirewell*
Seyi Tuyo

The gallery will also feature new works by Ethiopian-Canadian artist Kalikidan Assefa whose paintings have become a mainstay of the SUPAFRIK experience having been featured in all past installation of the SUPAFRIK pop-up.

Stay tuned to this space for more information about the artists and the gallery
* Omitted by error in the initial list

Call for Artwork Submission for SUPAFRIK #4


CALL to VISUAL ARTISTS in the DMV area

We are currently looking for complimentary artwork to feature in the gallery for the duration of the SUPAFRIK pop-up shop. We are interested in all genres (realistic to abstract) and mediums of art (digital to traditional media, installations, paint, mixed media are all welcome). The creative criteria we look for is that there be a contemporary element of African inspiration. Please include a brief note to explain your inspiration if you do not think it is  immediately apparent. Artwork selected will be featured in the gallery from October 18 – 21, 2012 and will be available for sale to the public.

About SUPAFRIK
Now in its fourth installation, SUPAFRIK will double as a space for programmed interactive events. We will feature the works of artists and designers that take inspiration from the African continent. It is curated around the theme of “Urban Contemporary Africana” and will showcase artwork and design that re-contextualize African aesthetics and traditions within a modern framework.

SUBMISSIONS
Format: Please submit a pdf or jpeg of your artwork to submissions@supafrik.com. Preference will go to artists that reside in the DC/Marlyand/Virginia area. Limit of three pieces per artist.

In the email please include the following:

1.) Brief artist bio (50 words)
2.) A price list of each piece
3.) Dimensions of each piece(s)
4.) (optional) A brief note about the inspiration behind the art
5.) Contact information

Deadline (Extended) for Submission: Friday October 12th
Announcement of participants: Sunday October 14th
Gallery show: October 18 – 21, 2012

http://www.supafrik.com

Win a pair of tickets to Afrotropolis Wanderland!

Want to win a pair of tickets to Afrotropolis Wanderland taking place on February 4, 2012? If so, take part in our contest for your chance to win! Be sure to read the contest rules carefully and good luck!

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Putting the Continent on the Big Screen. Africa at the Underground (Ticket Giveaway)

SUPAFRIK takes a moment to catch up with producer Lucy Hamlet and find out a bit more about her next project, “Africa at Underground” which aims to turn Toronto on to the wide gamut of African cinema.

We will be giving away five pairs of tickets to the first five people who send an email to info@supafrik.com. All you have to do is mention one African actor and the film they were featured in. It’s that simple.

Hi Lucy can you tell us a little about yourself and your involvement in film and theater?

I have been involved in theater/events production for over 15 years. I owned and operated a live event production company for about 7 years in Toronto. Produced shows, (mostly theater some concerts) locally and internationally (UMOJA, Denyce Graves); also wrote and directed a few pieces for stage (Love ‘n Movement, VIBE). On the film side so far I have been more of a connoisseur.  Always loved film, more importantly I love the long reach of the medium to take me to places I have never been right from the comfort of wherever I am existing in that moment, my living room, an airplane, wherever!

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Afrotropolis Giveaway Winners Announced!

Watch the video below to find out if you are one of the three lucky winners who get to take home any piece that they covet from the Afrotropolis collection!

The t-shirt Chinedu is wearing is courtesy of the AITF collective out of Paris, France. He had a chance to sit down and build with them last time he was out there and we will be posting more about AITF on this blog. Stay tuned!