A graphic novel project between Nigeria and Germany - supported by the TURN Fund

For the project “Imagined Realities”, the Goethe Institut in Lagos invited the renowned Nigerian comics artist Laolu Senbanjo and the German author/illustrator Birgit Weyhe to develop a two-volume graphic novel. While Nigeria has a vibrant comics scene, which draws on the narrative tradition of superheroes in the Anglophone world and is increasing shifting its focus to its own history, young Nigerian artists have only recently embraced graphic novels as a form of artistic expression. In Germany, the graphic novel is an established artistic genre, a hybrid of literature and fine arts which has gained international recognition in recent years and an increasingly large following.

In a two-year artistic collaboration, the artists developed two volumes of a graphic novel which examines contemporary issues in Nigeria from various perspectives. The joint research and working process also involved developing and selecting literary themes, figures and scenarios, as well as determining the graphic design and producing the illustrations. The Nigerian publishing company Cassava Republic, headquartered in Abuja, and the Berlin-based Avant-Verlag, one of the oldest and most prominent publishers of graphic novels in Germany, assumed the editorial and curatorial supervision of the book project. In addition to the production of the novel, the project included an international colloquium, organised in cooperation with the xm:lab’s Comic-Forum at the Academy of the Fine Arts Saar, which examined the production and reception of graphic novels in Anglophone countries of West Africa. A German and English edition of both volumes was published in Germany and Nigeria and presented in theme-related events at the Hamburg Comicfestival, the Comic Salon in Erlangen, the Berlin Literature Festival and the Lagos Book and Art Festival.

Idea and concept development: Marc-André Schmachtel (DE), Bibi Bakare-Yussuf (NG), Johann Ulrich (DE)
Artists: Alaba Onajin (NG), Birgit Weyhe (DE)


Project presentation and colloquium at the xm:lab’s Comic-Forum at the Academy of Fine Arts Saar in Saarbrücken, 9.6.2015
Book presentation in Berlin at the Berlin Literature Festival, 13.9.2015
Comic Salon Erlangen, June 2016

TURN – Fund for Artistic Co­oper­a­tion between Ger­many and African Coun­tries

In 2012, the Federal Cultural Foundation established the TURN – Fund for Artistic Cooperation between Germany and African Countries in order to encourage a wide range of German institutions to shift their focus on the artistic production and cultural debates in African countries.

More about the TURN Fund


Goethe Institut Lagos

City Hall, Lagos Island

Opp. Holy Cross Cathedral

Lagos, Nigeria