Mutations is an ongoing project examines the ever-changing architecture and urban environment of Lagos. It is already the most populous African city in Africa’s most populous nation, but by 2035 it is expected to have over 30 million inhabitants. As the city grows and develops, new layers are added on top of the old, creating a cacophonous visual landscape where buildings, people, history and nature all scramble for space.
In Lagos, 21 million people are crammed into a space of just over 350,000 hectares. Very little is planned, very little is planned with the primary needs of society in mind and even less is planned for the betterment of the millions of people living below the poverty live.
Still, one is constantly reminded that if you do make create room for people to co-exist with you, they will always find a way to survive: pedestrians without pavements make their own walkways, weaving in and out of traffic; highways become parking spaces for container trucks; and informal housing is repeatedly razed to make way for upscale real estate projects – homes which are repeatedly rebuilt by their resilient occupiers.
This body of work reflects the endless juxtapositions that exist in the city, between past and present, modernity and tradition. I am struck by the fortitude and inventiveness of Lagosians in the face of rapid urban renewal – their endlessly creative ways of surviving. I turn my lens towards these disparate phenomena to capture Nigeria’s megacity.