The sound installation The Africans – Act 1 is a new presentation (an exhibition version) of a radio-play by Christian Nyampeta based on a crucial moment in the book The Trial of Christopher Okigbo, by Kenyan philosopher and writer Ali A. Mazrui (1933–2014), which portrays the struggle between individualism, universalism and the social collective. After dying in a tragic car accident, a young Nigerian poet reaches the gates of After-Africa to be tried by the Counsel of Salvation for having abandoned poetry to fight in the Biafra War. Should the poet have prioritized his civic involvement over his universal duty as an artist? With this work, Nyampeta makes us question the role of artists in pressingly demanding historical moments.
For this installation, Nyampeta convoked artist Obi Okigbo, daughter of Christopher Okigbo, who has created a set to listen to the work consisting of a projection of one of her paintings.