A magazine for Africans and friends of Africa...Our Voices, Our Vision, Our Culture

Gooaaal! Soccer Photo Exhibition Shoots and Scores
By Nana Nkweti
Nigeria-raised artist Andrew Dosunmu's exhibition, The African Game, explores the cultural and social impact of Africa's favorite pastime through photography, video and an installation. This Rotunda Gallery exhibit features a menagerie of tokens and images Dosunmu amassed while traveling with writer Knox Robinson through Egypt, Cameroon, Senegal and Ghana⦥uro;a stadium ticket stub, a soccer jersey, and the makeshift quartier soccer ball made of coiled rubber bands on which aspiring young Appiahs practice their dribbling. This show recreates the passion of fútbol fever surrounding the African Cup of Nations last January.

A poignant, color-drenched image of a Sudanese refugee sporting a Cameroonian flag mask in support of the Indomitable Lions; his new homeland team is especially powerful, encapsulating both the displacement that plagues the continent and the sense of community that is its salvation. Elsewhere, grainy footage from the crowded streets of Lagos gives a short video; depicting an acrobatic performer juggling a soccer ball while surrounded by entranced onlookers;a homemade feel. This sense of home and familiarity echoes through most of the work, as one catches glimpses of faces in a soccer stadium crowd that look like a cousin, a sister, a father.

Dosunmu has worked in a number of media and métiers, serving as fashion photographer, creative director, and filmmaker at differing times. In South Africa, he directed episodes of the television series Yizo, Yizo, which highlighted the challenges of that post-apartheid society in the cauldron of a Johannesburg high school.

This exhibit sprang from Dosunmu and Robinson's collaboration on an upcoming book, The African Game, to be published by powerHouse books and PUMA North America. While the images are effective in illustrating the widespread appeal of soccer on the continent, more contextual descriptions of the background story might have been useful. However, with this World Cup's record-breaking viewership in America and football's continued prominence on the world scene, this show scores in its focus on the game.