It's been a while since I put heart to the matter and fingers on the keys, so to my friends and readers, may I squeeze a short reflection to be counted before “Cinderella” ball is full and we all start focusing on whose feet will fit January’s particular slipper.
Are you counting down to the future or the running through the blemishes in the rear view mirror? We are all stepping into this mist called tomorrow. Irrespective of any “preexisting conditions, the size, state and shape of “home”, the color of your passport or legal claims to residency, the global outlook is shaky. What then should be the posture of an artist standing before this drifting but empty canvas bound for each of our tomorrows?
It’s been a year of more creative survival for all and artists especially. A shout out to all who were able to overcome and keep creating and those who made It possible. This dance of one step forward and another back has been the norm for many Nigerians over the years, though. The only seeming surprise being that more space has been created beside us for other nations we sought to emulate in more ways than one. The winds seem to be pushing us all, locked in a blind dash towards a precipice. I'm not sure what it beyond that particular horizon but..... time as we say will tell.
What colors must we seek to paint when the world around us gets harsher with no end in sight for turmoil and seemingly unending break ups with our social contract? What songs come to mind? And what steps do we have in our quiver? to dance or even tap our feet in rejection of full participation. Do we like many pack our bags and head to other shores?
I’ve often wondered why the artist are said to be among the first to be sent packing when new conquerors appear in a land. Might it be that they (the artists) hold the keys to the soul of nations?. From films, plays and art of social resistance to the comedians who remind us to laugh even when living a nightmare, what will be your role as an artist, actor, dancer, producer, writers, film makers, musician, painter, sculptor, singer etc. Do you have a silver bullet for our heavily challenged social fabric or has the job of creating art been ceded to story - re-tellers often called the media?.
Do we creative artists have a responsibility to our community our nation and kin to look deep within this moment and find truth that will build up a large enough call for positive, progressive and people oriented policies. Tales of hope for the hopeless, good dreams for the young minds to feed upon, words that paint a picture worth living for? Can a TV series effectively show us, the Nigerian audience that we. as a people are able to forge a path out of our seeming 'rinse and repeat' pattern of national ‘fifth elevens’ in more areas then we wish to count?
Can we pay to watch, download to listen, stand and appreciate creative experiences that will transform our society from the victim driven mindset to drivers of our own fortunes, relishing the challenge of an encroaching overpopulation, terrible hunger, acute erosion, broken moral compasses, endless pillaging of national coffers, and religious masquerades of all brands?
Do we even dare to speak truth to power enough to be heard? Its dangerous out there I must confess. When the gong of distraction driven “awoof” takes hold of many souls so deeply where does the artist stand?
When millions will rather swim in the rivers of expensive liquor than discuss the need for funding a small community program, do we have a story?
I hear the bells of 2020, ringing…
The echoes of the last year slowly fading.
Make haste but remember
The plans of yesterday
Dictate the rest for tomorrow.
(this post will be here to welcome 2021 fa!!)
Happy New Year.