Arena for Contemporary African, African-American and Caribbean Art

Author: Emmanuel Iduma

text: email at 5: Emmanuel Iduma on double life of homosexual men in Nigeria. Like “facing the camera with one’s back.”


Emmanuel Iduma is a writer of fiction and non-fiction. Born and raised in Nigeria, he has contributed essays and stories to journals, magazines ( among others), artists’ books, and exhibition catalogues. In 2017, he was associate curator of the Nigerian pavilion at the Venice Biennale.

He is the author, most recently, of A Stranger’s Pose. He also published the novel The Sound of Things to Come and Gambit: Newer African Writing.His writing style could be characterized as literary and personal non-fiction.

This article was first published on December 6, 2016.

Portrait of the writer.

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Notes on children begging in the streets of Dakar or The Art of Writing



A writer clears his path through incessant questioning—seeking more than anything else an honest evaluation of his position and place in the subject’s affairs. Devoid of any irrelevancy and unpretentiousness, a piece of writing will consequently function as honest, and as intimate. Hence there is a sense in which “intimacy” means “clarity.”

The Nigerian writer Emmanuel Iduma – member of ‘Invisible Borders’ – on the art of writing.
Photo by Jacqueline Iannacone.

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Photography and Novels

AgeeAllie Mae Burroughs, wife of cotton sharecropper, Hale Country, Alabama, 1936. Courtesy Library of Congress

“It’s possible that a novelist begins a novel in an attempt to open up a photograph, or several photographs. I will like to write such a novel. It’s this sort of future I wish to imagine for photographs—a world in which they are bound up with novels.”

The deeply felt desire of the Nigerian critic and writer Emmanuel Iduma.
James Agee, Allie Mae Burroughs, wife of cotton sharecropper, Hale Country, Alabama, 1936. Courtesy Library of Congress.

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Victor Ehikhamenor: Glancing Subjects


Victor Ehikhamenor grew up seeing symbolic paintings and drawings on shrine-walls in the village of his birth. Upon maturity, after he received a drawing book for school, he began to imitate the wall drawings on paper. Four decades later, some of those walls have crumbled; the artist retains, however, a copy of that drawing book. He carries it in his memory.

Emmanuel Iduma on recent drawings of Victor Ehikhamenor.

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Schoolgirls kidnapped by Boko Haram


“Absence, in the making of the photographs, seemed like a metaphor for presence, a way to affirm the continued relevance of the girls. By standing in place of portraits of the missing girls, the still life pictures of their possessions carry the same power of recognition that portraits would have carried.”

Emmanuel Iduma on the representation of the schoolgirls kidnapped by Boko Haram.

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