Residency Case Study: Ofem Ubi

G.A.S. Fellowship 2022 | August 2022


Ofem Ubi is a multidisciplinary artist from Nigeria who uses poetry, photography and film to drive conversations and preserve memories. Shortlisted and published in the Deep Dreams Anthology of the Nigerian Students Poetry Prize (2018), he was also internationally published in the first volume of the INKWELL Journal. His poetry film; Velvet, was selected for the Fringe of Color film festival (2021) meanwhile his film Southpaw was showcased in the inaugural National Arts in Health Week, Nigeria. 


Ofem, who was based in Lagos for the duration of his residency, was one of the seven recipients of the inaugural G.A.S. Fellowship Award announced in February 2022 in tandem with the local launch of Guest Artists Space. The fully supported opportunity was open to emerging creative practitioners across all disciplines living within the West African region and offered one-month residencies across our sites in Lagos and Ikise. 

Film: As-Salamu Alaykum

During his residency Ofem used social media to invite people from around the world to submit responses to a series of questions relating to their experience of grief and its appeal to the human senses. The answers were collated along with footage taken throughout his time at G.A.S. Lagos and developed in As-Salamu Alaykum, a short film that not only acts as a record of of Ofem's residency but also supplements his subsequent outputs such as the exhibition he held at the space in early September 2022. 


A selection of the submitted responses came to inform Ofem's first publication The Last Time I Called the First Thing I Heard was As-Salamu Alaykum.


Film music credit: Confusion by Fela Kuti

Exhibition: The Last Time I Called...

From 8th to the 10th September 2022 Ofem Ubi presented his first solo exhibition, The Last Time I Called... The moment marked the culmination of his residency and offered visitors the opportunity to experience a new multidisciplinary body of work spanning photography and poetry, developed during his time at G.A.S.


The pieces presented addressed a series of provocations developed by the artist upon his selection for the programme. The exhibition was well attended by a diverse mix of guests including artists, creative pcticioners, cultural stakeholders and collectors from Lagos and beyond.

Book: The Last Time I Called the First Thing I Heard was "As-Salamu Alaykum"

Ofem was able to use his time at G.A.S. to finish compiling his poems and original photography into a debut poetry pamphlet . The publication is available to purchase on Amazon now in both Kindle and paperback formats.

‘Ofem Ubi’s debut pamphlet The Last Time I Called is a vigorous reckoning on what becomes of a young man once he’s undergone grief. Ofem is that young man and throughout this brutally fragile collection of short poems, he exhibits nothing but sheer brilliance with his ability to thread exhilarating imagery through simple truths.' - Shade Joseph⁠


Meet Ofem Ubi

Prior to starting their residency, we ask each guest to identify how they imagine they will use the opportunity. While we appreciate that these initial aspirations will likely evolve, they do give an excellent insight into how we can best support the individual as well as their practice at the time of arrival. We spoke to Ofem in July 2022 and he shared the following:


"I hope to broaden the scope and potential of all the art forms I engage with through my practice. I hope to make connections that I ordinarily wouldn’t have the platform to make through the help of the Foundation. I hope to use this opportunity to produce work that would have more pulse than previous efforts as a result of the new environment I'll be exposed to."


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