Funk Jazz Soul

Last Day in Lagos: Marilyn Nance's new Festac '77 photobook

Sun Ra rehearsing on the keyboard, with Kamau Seitu (of the Wajumbe Cultural Ensemble) on tap drums

‘And I do remember one night when Stevie Wonder visited Festac Village. He just showed up and hung out among us all.’

African-American artist Marilyn Nance has created a photobook to commemorate Festac ’77, a festival held in Nigeria in 1977 (specifically the World Black and African Festival of Arts and Culture):

In Last Day in Lagos, there lies a particularly revealing and thoughtful conversation between Marilyn and the photobook’s editor, Oluremi C. Onabanjo. “I often say that Festac was a triumph of the Black Arts Movement, because in the Black Arts Movement there was always a reference to Africa,” Marilyn explains in the opening words. “There are real traumas to being Black in the United States, so in some way, maybe we envisioned this return as a symbolic repair of that trauma.” It was, essentially, a site of “mutual fascination” for everyone in attendance at Festac. “Through the years, I discovered that this was not only a significant moment in history, but in art history, and I’ve wanted to share this,” she adds. “The artist must make sure that her work is preserved and make sure it’s in the right kind of place so that it can last.”

You can see more photos on It’s Nice That and buy the book on Amazon or Bookshop (or check your local library!)

(image credit: Marilyn Nance / Artists Rights Society, 2022)

Hi, it's Luke, the editor of Sampleface! Why not subscribe to my Patreon and support the blog?

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