The global football club launches the beginnings of a close collaboration between sports and art.
Its always been said that you can find a Nigerian in every corner of the world. What is not transmitted as often is the wordless sense of kinship when one Nigerian flung far from the heat of home finds another Nigerian be it in line for tickets, at a transport terminal or across open and crowded spaces. You can take that logic, condense it to its minimum or expand as far as generalizations go, even switch the similarities that generate a connection. The one unchanging fact among it all is the human capacity to reach out to another to help to share and to connect. This happens to be one of the benchmarks of sports, a game which has no bigger king than football. FC Barcelona fondly called Barca is one of the biggest in the world. It is evident no one, fans or footballers take their love of the sports for granted.
Yet the documentation and exploration of sports has often been trivialized or less open to conceptual explorations. A discontent when we look at the transformation photography has taken particularly with the accessibility social media has provided not just with new ways of interacting but opening us to new ways of connecting our humanity. Pablo Picasso said of photography, “it has arrived at the point where it is capable of liberating painting from all literature.”
How could one not draw parallels from sports and life when so much of their qualities are intertwined.The teamwork, the practice, the passion the pure love for the game. With some of these passions in mind and with the support of one of the biggest and most loved football clubs in the world, FC Barcelona launches its first year of its photo awards. The club’s vice President, Institutional and International relations, CarlesVillarubi has described the immense initiative as linking art and sports at the highest level of excellence. The awards will provide a global platform to communicate the values of sports and humanity through work that reflects intrinsically positive values.
The initiative is a potentially sustainable venture given the popularity of sports and the finesse of both art and sports as careers that sometimes depend on chance and timing and technique. There are two categories open to professional and working photographers based anywhere in the world.
The photo award category which “best expresses the positive value of sports” and the project award giving a grant of 40,00 euros to the “photography project idea that best expresses the positive values of sports and its contribution to society.”
In these times no region is as much talked about or as brimming with potential as parts of Africa. Proof of which is the immense growth in the arts, especially in photography. One of the festival Jurors Azu Nwagbogu founded the African Artists Foundation as using contemporary photography to push transformative social change of which LagosPhoto, Wset Africa’s biggest festival of photography emerged and has been running for six years. In addition, The Magnum foundation has in past supported this development through grants within African photography and art photographersof which Alex Web will also be a juror at the photo awards this year.The other impressive jurors include Mr VincenteTodoli, the Tate Modern’s ex director, and Sandra Phillips, senior curator at the MOMA.
It seems almost tailor made that the awards celebrating the spirit and positive values of sport should arrive at such a time within the development of the African art scene. Resilience team spirit, a penchant for displays and emotional victories are embedded into general African consciousness. The awards can provide an innovative global platform not just to document but to conceptually explore and inform and educate these issues inside Africa by Africans to the open world with the support of an established symbol of endurance. Sports surpasses societal boundaries, so does art and Africans are ready to draw those parallels.
For more information follow @FCBphotoawards on Twitter, Faceebook and Instagram and visit photoawards.fcbarcelona.com