Ọlágúnjú has created a body of photographic work over months of engaging with the community of Lagos’s Area Boys and gaining their trust. Having presented a series of stills as well as a video work at the digital Forecast Forum in October, she is now devising an immersive installation for the Forecast Festival in April 2021. The work will also include sound and textual elements to channel the unique and expressive linguistic inventions thought up by the Area Boys in their communication. “My intention is to try to replicate the chatter, the situation under the bridge, a place where the men gather and talk politics and football, mostly,” she says. The turns of phrases, neologisms, and slang they use—and which sometimes imply power, respect, and coded hierarchies—will be incorporated into collages. Society never engages with this street language, she points out, until it seeps into music and pop culture.
Ọlágúnjú and her Forecast mentor, Tobias Zielony, met for a work-stay in Berlin the spring of 2021 to finalize the project and put together its layered elements.