Ethiopians on Friday marked the first day of the Ethiopian New Year, as the East African country welcomed the year 2013.
The Ethiopian New Year, or Enkutatash in Amharic language, falls on September 11 (or September 12 during a leap year).
The East African nation uses a unique calendar, which counts its year seven to eight years behind the Gregorian calendar. Presently, the country is celebrating the arrival of 2013.
Ethiopia has its own calendar with 13 months, and each of the 12 months has 30 days, while the 13th month called Pagumen has five days, which becomes six in each leap year.
Enkutatash is literally translated as “gift of jewels,” a name that derives from the story of the Queen of Sheba. According to the Bible and other ancient transcripts, the ancient queen of Ethiopia traveled to Jerusalem to meet King Solomon, and there she sent him a large quantity of gold and precious stones. Upon her return to Ethiopia, local rulers welcomed her with plentiful jewels.
Ethiopian New Year comes at the time when the heavy rainfall starts to cease, and the bright sun comes to shine over the green land, which is also covered by the golden flower known in Amharic language as “Adey Abeba”.
As it comes with change of the season, the New Year in Ethiopia is celebrated with new hope, and the people are making special preparations.
Enkutatash marks the end of the three-month rainy season, when bright autumn days return to the vastly highland nation. On the night of the eve, each household or neighbors light wooden torches in group called “chibo” to symbolize the coming of the new season of sunshine.
Steeped in the Ethiopian Orthodox Church traditions, Enkutatash celebrations usually begin with church activities. New Year church programs start some time after mid-night on the eve and last into the next morning.
The New Year brings an extended family together to attend a series of events, including the slaughtering of cattle, either a sheep, goat, or cow, depending on a household’s financial condition.
Often, a community or a village will pool money to slaughter a cow (worth about 1,000 U.S. dollars) in group, while each household can choose to slaughter a less expensive sheep (about 130 U.S. dollars).
Coffee ceremony is an integral part of the celebration. The ritual of coffee serving and drinking, which can last for hours, is an important social occasion offering reunion for relatives and friends and a chance to discuss community matters while enjoying top-notch coffee.
To be invited to a coffee ceremony in an Ethiopian family is a sign of great respect.
Enkutatash is also a special day for children. They gather in groups and go from house to house — girls play the Amharic song “Abebayehugn,” meaning “I have seen flowers,” with hand drums, while boys often present pictures painted by themselves — with expectations of praise and gifts.
For children, the new attires from parents and gifts from community members are undoubtedly the most expected thing of Enkutatash. Enditem
Nana Kwasi Wiafe is the founder and creative director of Very Ghanaian; a clothing line. He is also a stylist and 2020 has been an amazing year for him. He worked as a stylist on Beyoncé’s visual album ‘Black is King’. He also worked with Kim Jones, a fashion designer and Amoako Boafo, an artist, as a stylist on the Dior Men Spring Summer Collection 2020.
Describe your journey to becoming a designer/creating a brand?
Growing up have always been interested in telling my own story and with my love for fashion it was no coincidence I decided to create a brand which is aimed at doing just that .
My journey started as a model initially, even tho I still actively model I have been able to use that platform as a pivot to transition into styling and now a designer and creative director for my brand Very Ghanaian .
You worked as a stylist on Beyoncé’s visual album “Black is king” for the Ghana crew. How was the process, planning the looks?
The process normally starts with inspiration, team meetings ,listening to the music and with the mood board establishing the story telling direction, I move on with pulling of looks and putting them together for each scene.
Beyoncé and her entire team go to great lengths to execute their vision so a lot of research goes into every look to ensure it’s complimentary to the overall vision .
I also love showing emerging brands/talents so I always make an effort to feature these brands.
A big thank you to my brother Joshua Kissi who was the director for the Ghana visuals, he has always believed in my talent and put me on whenever an opportunity comes up and the rest of the team David Boanuh and Sharifah Issaka
Where do you see African Fashion’s future and it’s influence on the whole fashion industry?
I believe the future is African fashion, brands here are telling incredible African stories rich in history,culture,heritage and inspiring at the same time.
Recent research has shown that people buy into brands that they connect to more especially with the stories they’re telling and brands like Tongoro, Maxhosa, Very Ghanaian , Loza Maleombho ,kente gentleman, Orange culture, Rich Mnisi, Thebe Magugu etc are leading the way with that and would be leaders of the industry in future.
What roles do you think social media plays in African fashion today?
For the most part social media has been a blessing for African Fashion , it has helped the world discover emerging brands from the continent , giving them the platform to show their work and exposed a lot of talent which wasn’t happening in the past.
For me the lows of being a designer is building the business side of it alone , without a team you can trust from the on set it’s a bit difficult, also production in larger quantities is a problem because we don’t have enough factories here producing sustainably.
Some of the highs that comes with it is being able to express myself through design and using that to tell my story and impact lives. For me that is all that matters.
From your page , I can tell you are passionate about promoting African style. When did you first realize that was important for you.
My love for Africa was discovered at an early stage born out of curiosity.
Our sense of style , art , history,culture and our people. We are so beautiful and cool so that piqued my interest to find out more .
Our style as Africans has inspired the world for centuries and still does so it only makes sense to push it more for people who also don’t know about it to know this style.
What would you say to anyone looking to get into fashion ?
Let purpose led you and prepare to risk it all .
In what ways would you say COVID-19 pandemic will affect the nature of the fashion industry?
Covid-19 pandemic has already affected the nature of the fashion industry for good and I believe this will continue.
For me it has change it in a good way, like crowded shows are not really needed anymore, you can equally do a show online and the world will still see it .
Having physical stores are becoming less important compared to having an online store and our way of doing business has change for good!
Any tips for young fashion entrepreneurs?
I have a few
Don’t wait too long , start now.
Protect your ideas , register your business and trademark soon as you start .
You can’t do it alone ,have a team because team work makes dream work .
Festivals in Ethiopia are typically colorful and exciting. The country has cultural, religious, and other festivals that can attract foreign tourists and local participants to come and gather to watch the procession and take part. The most known name of which held every year in Amhara and Tigray States is Shadey, Ashendye, Solel, Mariya, which is the name for a tall grass that young women usually tie around their gowns as a type of decoration. The celebration days also herald the freedom of young women. It is a popular festival which reverberates the voice of young women loudly.
Young girls or participants usually attend the occasion by dressing jeweler, embroidery, and hairstyles. It is a famous girls’ or young women’s festival among some of the most popular festivals celebrated in Ethiopia. It has been celebrating annually for centuries in the northern part of Ethiopia specifically in Tigray and Amhara States
Dance is a form of non-verbal communication for expressing human experiences, which in the course of time has developed into a form of art. Brazil is a land of many popular dances that contain the elements of African, Portuguese and European dance forms. Samba, Carimbo, Capoeira, Forro, Coco, Cacuria, Jongo, Lundu and other dances are some of the famous dances of Brazil.
Here are 10 traditional Brazilian dances worth knowing about.
As the symbol of Brazil, any good list about traditional Brazilian dances has to start with samba. Samba is a Brazilian music genre and dance style notable for its fast footwork and flowing hip swings which, when coupled with the beats of a steel drum, seems to leave spectators in a trance. Its origins lie in the west coast of Africa, coming to Brazil through slavery. It is the music genre and dance most closely linked to Rio de Janeiro.
Some believe that samba was derived from the word ‘semba’, which signifies a navel bump in Kimbundo, the African Bantu language, and symbolizes the invitation to dance from a man to a woman. ‘Semba’ is also an infinitive of ‘kusamba’, which means ‘to pray’, or to appeal for the favor of the Gods or ancestors by singing and dancing. So, the dance was an indispensable part of the religious ceremonies.
Jongo – sometimes known as caxambu – was brought over to Brazil through slavery and is thought to have originated from Angola. The dance is sometimes referred to as an ancient form of samba and a performance of jongo does prove that the step work is often very similar. Lively and spirited, the dance is performed to a harmonious group of people singing and playing simple instruments. It is sometimes associated with Umbanda, a religion with roots in Africa.
The Jongo is still widely practiced today in various cities: The Vale do Paraíba in the Southeast region of Brazil, to the South of the state of Rio de Janeiro and to the North of São Paulo.
Although not fully classified as a dance, it is a unique combination of martial arts, dance and acrobatics. To spectators, the hypnotizing music and fluidity of the moves certainly appear dance-like. Capoeira is another dance that has an African origin, coming over to Brazil through slavery. The moves include fast-paced sweeps, kicks and dodges with the lower body playing out most of the moves whilst the upper body balances the actions.
Lundu is also a dance form brought by the Enslaved Africans, and it became very popular in Brazil during the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. The basic musical instruments involved are guitar, piano and drum. This dance also involves the use of handkerchief and castanets, an instrument consisting of a pair of hollow pieces of wood, or bone, and is held between the thumb and the fingers.
Xote is a typical type of forro dance that is incredibly versatile and has several variations across the country. Blending both European and African influences, it also incorporates elements of salsa, mambo and rumba, depending on the region in Brazil.
Black is King or a marvelous narration of black pride that displays black beauty, strength and culture through Disney’s Lion king protagonist Simba, journey with the music of The Gift curated by Beyoncé. The film premiered the 31th of July on Disney+ and the next day on African platform like DSTV, Canal+ …
After getting amazed by these high quality visuals with dances, rhythm and researched aesthetics with the collaboration of our amazing creatives from African countries through direction, fashion and filming production we have to point out and show those references that made us lift up from our chairs.
The film was in work since 2019, proving again that Beyoncé’s NDA contracts have enough power to silence anybody. We’ve seen colors, Afrofuturism aesthetic but most importantly blackness through ages and all over the world.
Beyoncé represents an ancestor that will follow the young king into his trip and teach him about the circle of life and witness every moment of his ascending to be a king despite sadness, anger and lost of his own self, from his dreams, and his new accomplished life with Nala and their new baby. In this narrative Beyonce amplifies women gift to give life and show that women are in the center of the creation of the world.
Through African Tradition
The symbol of White
The first scene revolves around Baptism, like the birth of Simba in the circle of life. We can see ancestors, priests sagging and priestess with Calabasas washing children faces and feet, holding flowers and praying. In many African cultures white means “Purity” and also remind us of Komians women in Akan societies, these women considered as medium were able to be in contact with the spirit world and ours. They wore white, had nude feet and could see the future and always accompanies the King and royal family in their reign through protection and even afterwards, whe he passes.
The ceremony use body paint on the young king by his ancestors that solidify his status, and ritual of purification as young king, it reminds us of kaolin (White Clay) that is used in ritual and symbolize joy (Dan people with yangbah dance), peace and mourn, cultural ceremonies in Akan societies and all over west African tribes. Even the Fang of Cameroon and Myene in Gabon, the dead will cross the river of tears to become a spirit , in Gabon the Ogooue they use white clay also to represent ghosts.
But white is also refered in ancient Egypt as mourning, it symbolize death through mummification of passed pharaohs, shroud that can be seen in Nile video clip that represents “The king has died” after Simba’s naivety and fight against the image of funeral always symbolized by black in western societies.
The use of Calabasas is really symbolic, a non-edible fruit that grows in Africa and America that isused to create utensil, musical instrument (balafon, maracas, djembe), its round form is a symbol of cosmic energy and women that are the perfect recipient for holding life. For example in Yoruba’s Orisha myth, Odudua and Obatala merge like two half Calabasas form the universe and represent the duality of the creation of the world.
Snakes can be seen as evil creatures in western religious belief, but in many tribes in Benin, togo vodun, and even dogon tribe where they represent their past immortal ancestors, they are seen as sacred, protectors. The Nommo androgynous twins of dogon is a python.
African spirituality is rooted in animal source of power and image of spirit and are used to portrays divinity and venerence. We can see a bull head of batammaribain Benin and Togo, mursi women in Ethiopia, the bull was a symbol of fertility in ancient Egypt whose horns were worn by Hathor goddess of love, family and also by Odiani people of igbo.
Golden and Divine status
Many great scenes representing the masai jumping contest in suit From Kenya and Tanzania. We’ve seen lot of wraps display in plenty of scenes, represent symbol of marriage, status. The lip disc from east Africa, popular in Ethiopia, Chad, Mozambique and are symbol of social status too.
The Akan crown, golds and umbrella Ohenekyinnie that means authority over his people. Omo people in Ethiopia, Guere in cote d’ivoire, mastered the art of body painting as cultural expression in Africa and flowers head pieces.
Scenes about balance reminds of Maat one of the most known goddess in Egypt, without forgetting Gods in Vodun Liza and Mawu through he portrayal of good and bad, light and dark that cannot exist without one another.
Adinkra symbol, one of the first written languages from Akan (Most popular in Ghana), is represented in this scene, and this sign is a symbol of wealth, power abundance and solidarity.
Red ochre by Himba women in Naminia mixed with cow milk is used to to protect their skin from the sun, give them a beautiful rich hydrated skin. Their thick hair symbolize fertility. In the film they are symbolising duality of male female spirits/ancestors .
We can see art from the Ndebele of south Africa, Masai jewelries of kenya, celebration of love and return back to the values of motherland that is the real royalty, not the crown and artifacts.
This visual send us far than earth, but to the creation of the world through the Dogon people, a tribe living in west Africa (Mali, Cote d’ivoire…) that refused the arrival of islam and Christianity and have a belief deeply rooted into nature, celestial bodies as the universe and their knowledges of space, astronomy till this day fascinating modern day scientist. In their spirituality the universe was created by the Amma and this God created the earth who was a women and fertilizes her to creates Nommo an androgenous twin deities and its first inhabitants to represens duality. They even have masks that represent the movement of the sun called Sirige. Beyonce represents every celestial mentioned in their tale like the stars, the sun, Sirius, Comet, Black Hole, the pleiade seven sisters to portray how the dance of all these bodies created the world like the dogon speak of in their oral tradition.
We can see green man that represents water genie in Bambara, dogon, Azuza of west Africa (Ghana, benin, togo) pygme genie male, Congo with ireyi cult Toula in Niger, also created by the foam of the sea.
We can see Kanaga masks wore by the Awa society, a mask that is used in a ceremony called Dama and establish the connection between the earth and the sky to usher the sprits and accompany the dead into the spirit world that show this vision of the creation of the world to the young king and his ancestors portrayed by the stars. They always pay homage to their first ancestors like mufasa showing his ancestors to simba.
Representation of Black Beauties
In brown skin girl, The film is pushing Black girls and woman in Disney spaces and is a real statement on universial beauty that misrepresented in its film and Disney princesses. Those girls that beauty is and always have been undeniable through their versatility and diverse characteristics, the song praises darker skin in this colorist society, an ode to black beauty portrayed through Kelly Rowland, Naomi Campbell. She portrays young girls in contemporary princess outfit thinking about cendrillon ballroom, reference to Rapunzel with huge braided hair, Beyonce included herself as Rapunzel, to celebrate versatility in Afro.
We’ve Fulani braids, bantu knots , Nigerian hair scuplture, hair from Hamer people of Ethiopia, mangbetu with lipombo skull elongation which is a sign of beauty intelligence and power making us think about Nefertiti representing beauty through ages.
Beauty universiality and blackness through the world with south/east Asia where colorism is harsh and economy allow the commercialization and encouragement of bleaching.
African Women bodies
Busiswa wearing Isicholo of zulu, is celebrating african woman curves that have been demonized and sexualized all these years reference to Saartjie Baartman a south african enslaved woman that lived a terrible life because of racism. The hips movement like the earth reminds of assiko dance in Cameroon or dances in Congo that are centered on the hips.
African Spirituality and water (Like Fela says water no gets enemy)
Water is source of life, purification to baptize, regeneration and is important in the circle of life (Ships were seen as trip to the afterlife).
Its very important in African spirituality. We’ve seen her dance with water, on water (river) mazina maganda an Uganda dance to vibrate and bring life to the water. She pays homage to african deities that are connected with water , the orishas from Yoruba mythology, that she mentionned that accompanied the young king through his fight for enlightment, we can mention Yemaya (igbo) also Mami watta in Benin, Togo, vodun, Faro in mali link to Niger river and has a strong relationship with water through music reminds of blues,in saheli tribe where water is a necessity which they are always seeking for.. We remember that the Nile was the center that explain how African migrated through the whole continent, Abla Pokou that sacrified her child to save her people (Baoule myth), water has memory and recover the truth and hold our spirituality, water and woman share life that they give. In mali they have a strong relationship with water, nobody can exist without water. The image of African women taking charges on their head in calabases walking kilometers to get safe water from well or rivers for their family.
Through Lion King
In Mood 4 eva, we can see a display of eccentricity and careless and fantasy world that reminds African dictators through presidential wealthy mandate like Mobutu and Marie Antoinette in RDC with his cheetah famous hat. Its represent the famous phrase “Hakuna Matata” which is a celebration of life. The animal prints are here to remind us of the animals in Lion King the film, we have the morning report by Zazu reference with beyonce reading her morning paper, and the flamingo scene with synchonised dancers in the pool with pink. This dream will send Simba into a world where he will only see his fantasies that scramble his perspection of reality and build his illusion of happiness to ignore his worries.
We can see Beyonce in a tree as Rafiki in Already and others scene th Lion King’s fans will love.
Black is king is a counterbalance narrative towards the hate, incomprehension towards Black people in the world ! Lets seek wealth, real royalty that are not represented by monarchy but by our community values, knowledge and love for each other.
It’s a small Brazilian fritter made from black-eyed peas. The dish uses onions and ground dried shrimp to give it an extra punch in flavor. They’re shaped into balls and deep-fried in boiling azeite dende also known as Brazilian palm oil. The balls are then split in half and filled vatapa, a creamy paste made from finely ground peanuts, shrimp and coconut milk.
To elaborate, you need to soak the peas overnight and strip their skins. This will include the black “eyes”, making it tedious but often optional. But if you opt to do this, you’re rewarded with a creamier texture for the final dish.
History of Acaraje
Acaraje originated from Western Africa, that’s why you can also find it on Nigeria and Ghana. But after getting to the Americas, it became more popular in Salvador, Brazil as street food. Women in Bahia made and sold the dish as well.
It is popular with the Yoruba people of south-western Nigeria and Sierra Leoneans. In Ghana, it is a popular breakfast dish, eaten with millet or corn pudding while in Nigeria it is eaten with bread, ogi or eko, a type of cornmeal made with fine corn flour.
In the Yoruba culture, akara plays a significant role when a person assumes the age of 70 or dies. It is fried in large quantity and distributed across every household close to the deceased. Back in the day, the cake was also prepared in large numbers as a sign of victory when warriors returned victorious from war. Wives of the warriors fried it and distribute to fellow villagers as gratitude for the safe return of their husbands.
In Sierra Leone, akara aside being a street snack, is usually prepared upon the birth of a child, a wedding, funeral or party.
The dish, made from peeled beans formed into a ball and then deep-fried in palm oil or vegetable oil, is found in West African and Brazilian cuisines. It was sent to the Americas, especially Brazil’s northeastern state of Bahia by the West Africa enslaved from Nigeria, Ghana, Togo, Benin, Mali, Gambia and Sierra Leone.
With that, the dish became part of the “heritage culture” of Bahia. Its ceremony of certification happened at the headquarters of the National Institute of Artistic and Historic Heritage in Salvador. The ceremony featured a lot of proud women, serving lots of trays to everyone.
The dish’s name is a funny mistake since its real name is “acara”. But women from the Yoruba ethnical group selling these shout “acara -je”, meaning, “I have acara”.
Acarajé is sold on Brazil’s streets but here it is variously made with fried beef, mutton, dried shrimp, pigweed, fufu osun sauce and coconut. Distinct sellers wear all-white cotton dresses and headscarves and caps. The bean cake is reported to have made its way to Bahia in the 19th century.
Earnings from its sale was used to sometimes buy the freedom of enslaved family members until the abolition of slavery in Brazil in 1888 while serving as a source of family income. It also has a notable presence in Sergipe and the markets of Rio de Janeiro.
Acarajé serves as both a religious offering to the gods in the Candomblé religion and as street food.
As an essential ritual food used in Afro-Brazilian religious traditions such as Candomblé, it is offered to the orixá Exu. They vary in size based on their offering to a specific deity: large, round acarajé are offered to Xangô; smaller ones in form are offered to Iansã. Small, fritter-size acarajé are offered to Erês, or child spirits. Acarajé is used in Candomblé rituals in the states of Bahia, Rio de Janeiro, Pernambuco, Alagoas, Sergipe and Maranhão.
Acarajé was listed as a federal immaterial asset (patrimônio nacional imaterial), by the National Institute of Historic and Artistic Heritage in 2004; the role of baianas in the preparation and sale of acarajé was recognized in the same act.
Today, acarajé represents a good example of how African influences have been shaping Brazil’s cultural heritage and its culinary identity.
A new visual album written, directed and executive produced by Beyoncé is on its way.
Black Is King will celebrate Black resilience and culture, and premiere globally on Disney+ on July 31, according to a press release. The album is based on the music of The Lion King: The Gift, the Beyoncé-curated soundtrack album for the Lion King animated remake released last July, in which she voiced the character of Nala.
The film, which was in production for one year, will star the album’s featured artists as well as special guest appearances. A minute-long teaser video is available on Beyoncé’s website.
The press release says the album honors the voyages of Black families throughout time, and tells the story of a young king’s journey through betrayal, love and self-identity. Guided by his ancestors, father and childhood love, he earns the virtues needed to reclaim his “home and throne.”
“These timeless lessons are revealed and reflected through Black voices of today, now sitting in their own power,” it reads. Black Is King “is an affirmation of a grand purpose, with lush visuals that celebrate Black resilience and culture. The film highlights the beauty of tradition and Black excellence.”
From the mind-blowing 1-minute trailer, you will notice South African stars such as Warren Masemola, Connie Chiume, Nandi Madida, Moonchild Sanelly and Nyaniso Dzedze and Nigeria’s very own Yemi Alade.
The visual album will debut on Disney+ on 31 July 2020. This has to be somehow weird because the platform is not even available in Africa, even though this is also to showcase the continent’s talent. Hopefully, this will be available in a more accessible platform.
We are spotlighting the work of five Afro-Latinx whose work you should be listening to. These five poets are an excellent starting point for understanding the power of poems as social commentary and gaining perspective on the Afro-Latinx experience.
Yomibas, is a painter best known for his hyper-realistic style. Born in Kaduna State, Nigeria, in 1995, his early work is a compilation of random photographs that depict his expressions of his experiences and observations. He developed an early interest in portraiture, exploring the power of the medium with the aim of connecting his viewers to his subjects.
Can you tell us more about your background and when you first started painting?
My full name is Abbas Yomi Segun, Born on January 15th 1995 in Nigeria and raised in kaduna state, the northern part of Nigeria. I have no background in the arts, wasn’t taught it, I learned from my life experiences. I believe our world is made of art and signs and if we know the language the world is made of then we can read our way through. Art has always been a way for me, fun and growing up it flowed effortlessly, I pretty much left everyone with a piece of art which is also a piece of myself. Money wasn’t a drive for me, thou I made little cash which helped fund my life. I literally have no idea when or how I started, I had no dreams as to what or who to become, I’ve always kept an open mind and pretty much accepted life as it happened, made my first oil painting in high school which later became know and was used for an entry. I realized there was something for me in the arts after high school, seeing the internet came through and all I had to do was make art and put this works out there, how to achieve this became my process, I had no mentor or anyone to hold my hands and say this is the part, i kept failing, learning and growing. The process became my drive.
How did you came to pursue a creative path?
My creative journey started professionally when I stumbled upon the works of Teenez Martinez on a newspaper, a highly known Nigeria pencil artist who became someone I placed on my mental pedestal and I slowly followed his steps without his knowledge and after couple emails and dms, he finally agreed to meet. We became friends and then it grew with time. So my creative path started when I started ripping out people’s works from magazines, articles and newspaper and also the internet, being a visual platform made me realize with dedication and consistency I can play my part on the art world.
Describe your evolution as a visual artist?
Evolution is key, like the famous Quote by Stephen Johnson “we build the tool and the tool builds us” so I believed in the process not only for the desired goal but also for who I will become in the process. It’s a great one but I enjoyed eating dirts and having those sleepless night because it created the desire to grow, to evolve and to become.
Do you have a favourite piece that you’ve created?
I don’t have a favorite piece so far, all pieces are extensions of myself and when put together one can make sense of my whole experience. So yeah, no favorite piece till date.
What are the central themes of your work?
My works revolves around Imagination, consciousness and the individual journey as the sole cause of the phenomena of his life. I try to portray my conscious experiences in portrait form, it’s a deliberate and conscious effort to force to viewer to see through the lenses I gave. For me, ones I have made a piece of art, then I’ve it to remind myself of what I felt when I contemplated the idea, and if I can show you then it makes the experience less acute. Like Williams Blake clearly states “Man is all imagination and all things exist in the human imagination, all that we behold thou it appears without , it is within in which this world of mortality is but a shadow. So I believe everything is taking place now, so it’s my job to pause for a minute and capture the experience. I believe it’s always the artist who senses that the future is now and thereby uses his works as a ground to prepare for tomorrow, the artist has a unique outside perspective and he is not like stuck to the empirical data’s of our society. He makes unique connections.
What can we expect to see from you in the near future? Are you working on any particular projects?
I think the base of my paintings won’t change because it says a lot about who we are as a culture and also what we have chosen to forget, so as I remember and awake to this states, I will continue to transcend them in my work but I think the base will not change which is “man is all imagination and all things exist within man, the outside world are just an extension of what takes place within him” I just rounded up my Awakening series which consisted of 12paintings completed over the course of 2years, so am open to seeing what lies ahead for me, so for now no precise projects, just collaborations. I believe as I open myself to experiencing the outside world, something will sip in for my next project.
If you could sit down and have a meal with one artist/designer/musician in the world, who would it be and why?
Without a doubt, I will take “Neville Goddard” and “Williams Blake” I have been studying their works for years now and to have that come true will just be a dream come true, besides they are dead. But to come down to contemporary structure, I would love a meal with Cj Hendry, Kehinde Wiley, Marco grasi and Mike Dargas, Just to mention a few, I chose them for the simple reason that their works have greatly impacted the way I do things and if you look closely, you will see their influences in my pieces.
Tell us a bit about where you were born and where you are living now. Are all these places important to your identity and to your artwork?
I was born and raised in Nigeria, the northern part, born in a small town called Barnawa. Had a simple upbringing, supported greatly by both parents, am the 2nd amongst 4kids to whom all were boys. Am the only one who reflected a desire for creation, was quite the task as one can’t get attention off oneself being the only creative in the house. Environment played a key role in my career part but as time went by, I realized that one has to tune into another frequency if one is to succeed or keep the fire burning, as we all know the mindset that goes with being an artist, mostly neglected and looked upon as the most irrelevant beings in society. So as I grew up, I had to make my environment within my mind, I listened to positivity 24/7 , kept a very little circle and avoided the blind desires of men who don’t know who they are. This played a key role to my process, self reliance is key to the artist and also to any career path that one chooses to follow.
Africa is a new economic frontier where young people are shaping Africa’s future. What do they want to see, hear and read that will inspire them to embrace African arts and culture?
I think art is very individual considering the fact that none can or will ever be able to think, do or act like we will. So every artist tells a story if we only we listen, no work or art is irrelevant. So I strongly believe the culture, society and minds are eagerly awaiting the manifestation of the artist, no Audience comes with expectation to see a play, they only come to be marveled, inspire , impressed or to be critical and if the play is good, you get an applause but if it’s not they won’t come back, so yeah, the artist must love solitude and believe that he/she is creating because everything with depth has a profound truth and the world awaits and hungers for truth
It can be argued that Africa’s time is now. How do we prepare to take full advantage of the opportunities that are constantly unfolding in front of us? More importantly how does the African contemporary art establishment position itself to emerge as a ‘global player’ whose voice can be heard and respected?
I will advice on this, we have to adopt the infinite mindset and not the finite mindset, the solution is to range against the dying of the light with art, with poetry, with great music and to not go quietly into the good night sleep at the moment end of the day. So the infinite mindset is one that is not about victory or losses but about a continuous struggle of adventure, curiosity, bewilderment and one of awe in which we try not to win or be first but to be, to create and to inspire, if we make this our mantra and keep in the back of our minds, not only will there be a revolution but we will set the foundation to which others will and can stand. As Allan Harrington said “we must never forget that we are cosmic revolutionaries not studious conscripted to advance the natural order that kills everyone, having invented the gods, we can turn into them” or as Williams Blake clearly states “in the universe, there are things know And there are things unknown andin between there are doors” so in my opinion if the artist is to create a genuine work he must be willingly to open that door which leads to truth and virtue.