Emeke Obanor

CASE Art Fund's BriefCASE artist, Emeke Obanor [b. 1972, Delta State, Nigeria] is a self-taught photographer based in the oil-rich, but crisis-torn Niger Delta region of Nigeria. A literature teacher by day, he is committed to showing the world the atrocities happening to girls in his region by Boko Haram, a ruthless terrorist group operating in northeastern Nigeria. In 2014, they abducted 276 female students from a school in the town of Chibok, and many are still missing. In captivity, the girls were radicalized against western education, a system that contributes to independent thinking, and is against Boko Haram’s view of Islam. Some girls gained freedom when they failed to detonate bombs that were strapped to their waists and surrendered to security authorities, while some gained freedom after military raids in their camps. But in the face of unimaginable terror, Islamic extremism, and gender bias, many of the young girls decided to pursue a western education when they regained their freedom. "We were abducted for the choice we made - to go to school," a young girl muttered. This is an ongoing project. - CASE Art Fund 

THE CONCORDIA FORUM

CASE Art Fund is grateful to The Concordia Forum for the opportunity to present Emeke Obanor's exhibition "Heroes" at the Concordia Forum event, November 17th, at The Nobel Peace Centre, Oslo, Norway. 

The Concordia Forum is a global network created for leaders of Muslim backgrounds, with exclusive retreats and events for up to  200  people alternating yearly between North America and Europe. 

 

Since its founding in 2009, the Concordia Forum has helped to develop and strengthen a global community of over 1,000 innovators that work to promote social justice, improve social mobility and foster collaborative thinking with a view towards promoting beneficial change throughout society for everyone.

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Heroes

by Emeke Obanor

The Boko Haram sect is a ruthless terrorist group operating in the North-East of Nigeria. In addition to several other atrocities committed such as, invading communities, killing innocent people, burning houses, schools and worship centers, they have abducted a number of girls that are both young and old. While in captivity, the abducted girls were made to spend several hours daily in training sessions to radicalize them against western / secular education. Despite the intense radicalization teachings given to the young ladies, many of them still show courage to pursue western education after they regain their freedom.

 

The intensity of the radicalization program the girls were exposed to in captivity can best be grasp by the experiences of some of the free girls. The girls recalled that the radicalization sessions were endless, their aim was to erase the memory of school: the rhymes, alphabets and letters the girls have learnt. "We were abducted for the choice we made - to go to school". Amina muttered, who was abducted with 13 other girls when they were trekking to their homes from school. Pressure was mounted on the girls to hate western education, the terror group believe it will teach girls independent thinking and to challenge authority which is against Islam.

Notwithstanding, there was freedom at last for some of the girls . Some girls gained freedom when they failed to detonate the bombs strapped to their waists and surrendered to security authorities, while some gained freedom after military raids in their camps. On returning from captivity, many of the girls were traumatized and stigmatized, there were huddles for the girls and some still had courage to strive regarding western education.

 

But a group of girls persevered in the face of terror, economic hardship, Islamic extremism, cultural and gender bias to dare to return to school and become educated amid grim realities. 

Heroes, Fatimah is 6 years old[2019] Emeke Obanor
Heroes, Fatimah is 6 years old[2019] Emeke Obanor

Fatimah is 6 years old, born in Boko Haram captivity to a mother who died during a raid. She spents time at her extended family home in Borno North East Nigeria, scanning pictures of a comic book 'Archie', hoping that one day she will go to school. #01

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Heroes, Jamilah is 14 years old [2019] Emeke Obanor
Heroes, Jamilah is 14 years old [2019] Emeke Obanor

Jamilah is 14 years old, from North East Nigeria, abducted by Boko Haram after a raid in their farm that left her father half blind . She was raped by 7 men her first night in captivity which left her bleeding continuously for nine months. In poor health, she was left to die but found by vigilantes. She attends lesson organised in a make shift school. She dreams to become a doctor. #02

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Heroes, Ruwa is 16 years old [2020] Emeke Obanor
Heroes, Ruwa is 16 years old [2020] Emeke Obanor

Ruwa is 16 years old, grew up in the North East of Nigeria. She was abducted by Boko Haram for choosing to go school, after she regained her freedom, she was made the bell ringer of her new school. She rings the bell to call students to school, and for change of subjects.”I defeated the ideology of Boko Haram with a bell”, she boasted. #12

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Heroes, Fatimah is 6 years old[2019] Emeke Obanor
Heroes, Fatimah is 6 years old[2019] Emeke Obanor

Fatimah is 6 years old, born in Boko Haram captivity to a mother who died during a raid. She spents time at her extended family home in Borno North East Nigeria, scanning pictures of a comic book 'Archie', hoping that one day she will go to school. #01

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Emeke Obanor black ladi.jpg

Heroes: Ladi, 16 years old, born in North East Nigeria, 2020

12 3/4 x 28 1/2" pigment print

Ed. of 10 + 5APs

$ 2800

  BRIEFCASE

Obanor is a part of the BriefCASE art program, A selection of limited editioned photographs by CASE photographers are only available for purchase through CASE in the size designated, with 50% of the proceeds donated to an organization chosen by the artist, 25% going back to the photographer, and 25% going to CASE for production and operational expenses.

Emeke Obanor black Aisha.jpg

Heroes: Aisha, 16 years old, born in North East Nigeria, 2019

12 3/4 x 28 1/2" pigment print

Ed. of 10 + 5APs

$ 2800