Give Us This Day

Anthony Obayomi

Born in 1994 in Lagos
Lives and works in Lagos

Anthony Ayodele Obayomi is the first laureate of the Taurus Prize for Visual Arts. He holds a B.A. in Creative Arts from the University of Lagos and explores storytelling techniques that combine art and technology in immersive installations and through experimental media. In 2017, he was awarded the LagosPhoto National Geographic Portfolio Review Prize, and was selected for the Electric South New Dimensions Lab in 2018, before winning the Taurus Prize for Visual Arts.

 

Give Us This Day

Hope, if considered a commodity, sells amazingly well— especially in lesser-privileged parts of Lagos. Anthony Obayomi witnesses and participates in the daily challenges and creative solutions found by local Lagosians, who try to respond to ordinary life on the mainland. Exploring the dynamic relationship, which exists between two of the most prominent psychological copping mechanisms used by Lagosians, Give Us this Day is a photographic project, which will be developed over two years. The title, extracted from a line of The Lords Prayer, is in this context, a literal description of a barely sustainable “hand to mouth” living condition, hardly guaranteeing the present and certainly making no promises for a future.

Lottery games and religious zealotry are common worldly phenomena, and although existing side by side, they are usually separate. On the Lagos mainland however, they present similarities: their organizational structure, social effects and the psychological functions they occupy seem comparable, if not identical. The most prominent and lucrative venture for lotteries and majority religious institutions relies on the merchandising of Hope. Both lottery and religion have been made accessible to everyone, offered as a response to the daily struggles and lack of resources of those inhabitants from the economic capital of Nigeria with the smallest purchasing power.

Premier Lotto, also known as “Baba Ijebu” is the leading lottery and sport betting company in Nigeria. Located on the mainland, it includes over 200 agents supervising 16,000 sales representatives across the country’s western region. Simultaneously, and according to Forbes, four of the ten richest pastors in the world with a combined estimated net worth of $249,000,000 operate or base their headquarters on the area. Give Us This Day explores the interlinks between these practices, their overlaps, and the functions they co-perform: to provide—at little cost—a reason to believe that tomorrow may be better than today, even when evidences strikingly point to the contrary.

 

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