An ARTHouse Forum with the theme: “The 4-Some dimension to an art Icon… Journalist. Photographer. Filmmaker. Art Manager”, is to take place Friday 17 June 2022 at Freedom Park, Lagos to Herald the multi-disciplinary culture aficionado, Tam Fiofori, into the octogenarian phase of his life.
The ARTHouse Forum, which will celebrate his “the essence(s)…”, will also hold virtually featuring conversations, tributes, film screenings, and an evening of musical performances.
Excitement is not just fever pitch among his associates in the Nigerian art and culture space in Lagos particularly, but also all over the world.
The event is produced by the Committee for Relevant Art (CORA) in collaboration with iREP International Documentary Film Forum; and is supported by Lagos Freedom Park.
According to a Wikipedia entry, born in Okrika in Rivers State, Fiofori grew up in Benin City, where his father, Emmanuel Fiofori, taught at Edo College.
He has been described as “one of the pioneers of the lens profession….a fascinating sort of artist/journalist, a veteran, who has written about art, music and culture almost as prolifically as he has photographed them.”
Travelling extensively since the 1960s, Fiofori became an associate in the US of Sun Ra. According to the Pan African Space Station, “Uncle Tam later invited Sun Ra to Lagos for FESTAC 77, took him to the Kalakuta Republic…”
Fiofori was the first New Music/Electronic Music Editor for DownBeat, and wrote for many other art and literary publications in the US and Europe — among them International Times and Change magazine — and has been credited with being “largely responsible for bringing underground black creativity to the American national consciousness in those heady days of the 1970s”. His writing has been regularly published over the years in a range of Nigerian outlets, including NEXT newspaper, and the blog Shèkèrè.
He was a film consultant to Rivers State Council for Arts and Culture, the director of Rivers State Documentary Series, and consultant/scriptwriter to NTA Network on Documentaries. He was also founding executive of the Photographers’ Association of Nigeria (PAN).
His work has been shown in Africa, Europe and the US, including Odum and Water Masquerades (1974), screened at FESTAC ’77, Tampere Film Festival, 10th FESPACO, Ouagadougou, 1987, Pan African Writers’ Association, Accra, Ghana, and 1979: A Peep into History and Culture.
His publications include the “print documentary” A Benin Coronation: Oba Erediauwa (2011).
He is a contributor to the 2018 book African Photographer J. A. Green: Re-imagining the Indigenous and the Colonial (edited by Martha G. Anderson and Lisa Aronson), in a review of which Lindsay Barrett referred to Fiofori as “Nigeria’s iconic photographic genius”.
Awards and recognition
Among honours Fiofori has received are awards from the Pan African Writers’ Association (PAWA), iRepresent International Documentary Film Festival, and Music in Africa.
Odum and Water Masquerades, 1974
Biodun Olaku: Nigerian Painter
J. D. ‘Okhai Ojeikere: Master Photographer
Olu Amoda: A Metallic Journey, 2015 (60 mins) (TheLagosReview.ng)