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Lagos Sand Merchants

‘Lagos Sand Merchants’ is led by the
‘Rotate 2 Mechanism (Drumroll)’ – a dynamic revolving device that challenges spatial perception.

‘Lagos Sand Merchants’ focuses on a group of ‘Sand Merchants’ on the outskirts of Lagos, arduously trawling the Lagos State Lagoon to unearth sand deep from the river bed, which will later be offered to the construction industry for sale.

Paused by the lagoon’s edge, the sand merchants employ modest straw baskets to retrieve the heavy wet sand from river bed to boat, and then to the shore where they cluster in heavy heaped mounds.

The repetitious and systematic character of this task is reflected in the mechanism’s rotary nature. As the mechanism is actioned, it rolls the camera forward. Subsequently, the moving image lurches towards the ground and comes back up again, as if surfacing for air.

The mechanism becomes a mirror for the task – producing a rhythmic quality that reflects the monotonous yet poetic relationship between the merchants and the lagoon.

Ashadu Karimah