Water Is Life, O! by Evan Ifekoya

Water Is Life, O! by Evan Ifekoya

Evan Ifekoya's month-long Lagos residency at G.A.S. Foundation culminated in "Water is Life, O!" - a listening session that skillfully blended various sounds from Ifekoya's residency. The sonic offering featured a compositional cocktail; voiceovers from mundane and intentional encounters from across the city were masterfully layered with marine acoustics from Lagos' lagoons, various beaches across the city, Osun Oshogbo sacred grove, and the point of no return; Badagry's infamous former slave trade port. Voices wove in and out of the ambient sound, alternating between melodic and cacophonous, punctuated only by clear, piercing, yet haunting tones from the artist's crystallophones.

In the exchange that followed the session, their audience ⁠described varying experiences from a pluviophilic sense of calm, to illusory feelings of submersion and resurfacing as the interloped voices pulled the listeners in and out of the din of running water. For the artist this composition was an act of sonic reclamation with their Nigerian heritage and ancestry; capturing the atmosphere of the Lagos cityscape and its waterways, Yoruba cosmology, Nigeria’s history and political present.












Evan Ifekoya (b. Iperu Nigeria, lives in London) is an artist whose work in community organising, installation, performance, sound, text and video is an extension of their calling as a spiritual practitioner. They view art as a site where resources can be both redistributed and renegotiated, whilst challenging the implicit rules and hierarchies of public and social space. Strategies of space holding through architectural interventions; archival and sonic investigations; ritual and sound enable them to make a practice of living in order not to turn to despair.

They established the collectively run Black Obsidian Sound System (B.O.S.S.) in 2018. They have presented exhibitions, moving image and performances across UK and Internationally, most recently: a solo exhibition at Migros Museum Zurich (2022); Herbert Art Gallery and Museum as nominees of the Turner Prize (with B.O.S.S. 2021); De Appel Netherlands (2019) and Gasworks London (2018).


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