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In the Nigeria Pavilion, Criticism Meets Optimism

People in Lagos, Nigeria’s largest city, are hardly shy. The stereotype runs toward boisterousness, worn as a point of pride. But when the artist and poet Precious Okoyomon recorded interviews with some 60 city residents in January for an art project, the unusual questions — like “Who was responsible for the suffering of your mother?” — proved disarming.

Okoyomon is based in Brooklyn, but lived in Lagos as a child and still visits there frequently. The artist was collecting material for a sonic and sculptural installation that will be presented in the Nigeria Pavilion at this year’s Venice Biennale. The event, one of the art world’s most important, opens for previews next week and to the public on April 20....

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