Voices of the City: Papa Omotayo

Voices of the City is a new, weekly feature that spotlights the everyday lives of our citizens, living and working in cities. By asking the same five questions to all our interviewees, we discover not only how our experiences of differ, but also what we share. It is a daunting task to try and capture the diverse experiences of our city’s inhabitants, but we feel that it is a worthy, and necessary, endeavor, in order to better understand the present and future of our city. This week, we interview Papa Omotayo, Architect and Lagos resident for 9 years. He is also the Creative Director of MOE+art Architecture. 


1. What about Lagos inspires you the most?

The juxtaposition of things. The sense of fragility, and near collapse yet endless possibility and some hope.

 2. Do you have a secret space or place that you enjoy in the city?

awhitespace during Big60, an annual ‘pop up’ culture and lifestyle installation which runs every year from start of December to the end of January. A very happy place to be. Other than that – at a beach house, in Illahse on a Sunday.

 3. What was the last exciting event you attended in the city?

An international art event called Across the Board held at Terra Kulture in conjunction with the CCA and Tate London. It looked back at Festac 77, a controversial Pan-African festival of the arts that took place in 1977 in Lagos,  and discussing what the legacy was, positive or negative. It had some really interesting speakers, from those who had been at Festac 77, to younger academics who have studied the event and its legacy from a cultural and social viewpoint.

4. What frustrates you about the city?

The high cost of living and accommodation and the lack of adequate infrastructure. But I like the orange sellers.

5. You can have dinner with one person living or dead. Who is it and why?

Any one of the 12 disciples of Christ, just to see if anyone of them would moan about Jesus. Either that or Richard Pryor, because laughter is the best thing after food.


Check out our website next week for the next Voices of the City interview. 

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