Akinbode Akinbiyi

Born in Oxford, England to Nigerian parents. School and studies in Nigeria, England and Germany. BA English from Ibadan University. Akinbode has been working as a freelance photographer since 1977. In 1987 he received a STERN reportage grant to work in the cities of Lagos, Kano and Dakar. In 1993 Akinbiyi co-founded UMZANZSI, a cultural center in Clermont Township, Durban, South Africa.

Akinbiyi's photographic focus is on large, sprawling megacities. He wanders and winds his way along the freeways and side streets in order to understand and engage with the modern metropolis. He works primarily in the four major African cities of Lagos, Cairo, Kinshasa and Johannesburg, but also in other major cities such as Khartoum, Addis Ababa, Dakar and Bamako, to name just a few. European, North and South American cities also attract his attention, such as recently Sao Paulo and 2019 Chicago.

There is no single point of view, or a specific way of working or wandering. The work is open-ended and driven by the desire to delve as deeply as possible into the meaning and subjectivity of everyday life. Akinbiyi also works as a curator and has given photo workshops internationally, including in Nigeria, Sudan, Sweden, England and the USA. He lives and works in Berlin.

Recent exhibitions – a selection:

– 2017 group exhibition at La Villette in Paris
– 2017 participant of documenta 14, which took place almost simultaneously in Kassel and Athens
– 2019 Participation in the Chicago Architecture Biennale with a work on the West Side neighborhood of North Lawndale, entitled: “Easy like Sunday Morning – North Lawndale”.
– 2020 retrospective exhibition at Martin Gropius Bau, Berlin, “Six Songs, Swirling Gracefully in the Taut Air”
– 2020 Participation in the Houston FotoFest – 2020 Steirischer Herbst, Graz
– 2020 Vasteras Konstmuseum, Sweden
– 2021 Photo Forum, Frankfurt am Main
– 2021 ngbk Berlin


Photo: © Muhammad Salah Abdulaziz