Friday, August 22, 2014

Questioning Yourself About Yourself

A voice record log from February

There have been many inconsistencies in the stories I have heard surrounding the circumstances of my father’s birth and this is very discouraging in the process of this project. How do I begin to fill the blank space and emptiness and get answers to many questions I have, as I embark on this journey into the history of my family. There’s nothing to connect her with or to its almost as though she never existed. 

Simple questions like what was her name, who was her family, where she was from...
“Where” brings me to the idea of maps and contours... assuming and expressing possibilities of the “where”?
What did she look like? Brings me think about portraits and faces, they would be propositions of an identity. I stared playing with shifts like the one in our Ankara fabrics, yes those involuntarily mistakes that became a trend.
How do I express an imperfectness, an incompleteness... loss, vacuum...

As I begin to ask these questions I am trying to ask myself the same, not yet though, but I am thinking about why I am not asking myself these questions, and that is because I assume I know the answers. But do i really? 

Untitled drawing and collage. 2014

What is her name
Where is she from
What did she look like
Did she marry and have other children
What was the colour of her hair
Was she tall
Was she white
Why did she leave
Did she come back
Did she try to find her son

These same questions I ask about her is what I am beginning to ask myself, who am I? Where am I from, What do I look like, What do I like?

A series a questions as simple as they are, will eventually matter in staying relevant in time, questions I should ask myself in order not to disappear. 
There is a certain fear that looms around, the fear of not wanting to be forgotten, and now consciously I feel the need to write myself into history, trying to exist by force, writing my name and fixing myself into time, its by force oo.
Women need to begin to question themselves about themselves. 

From my mother’s side on the other hand, my mother could narrate the history of her family from both her mother’s side and father’s side, the road they treaded, the journeys they made, they children they had, the houses they lived in, the food they ate, all in words. But not many have heard these stories...

Present Reality

I changed my mind about the images, the selected image form part of a series of drawings and collages I am currently making for an installation piece. So I have decided I will include one or two of these drawings in each post. They are about a4 sized and the more I draw, the larger the installation, its better you see each one individually cos when they are brought together... ok I don't know, let's see how it works out.

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Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Is this an Identity Crisis?

February 05 2014

Ayie is a symbolic representation of women who have experienced some disconnect from history for different reasons. For Ayie it was presumably family, her father they say. She represents women willing to take control, to be noticed, its not about rebellion or fighting, but just choosing to exist, accepting who we are. 

The role of men and women differ they have never been the same, it is not a contest.

Women want to be noticed, to be spoken about, referenced but I doubt the definition of this statement is consistent as we move from woman to woman.

For the most times, its a case of temporal fame and hype then you cease to exist beyond the moment, but one has to keep up with a certain trend or facade to remain relevant or at least visually present; to what gain, is another topic entirely. 

Ayie speaks to women who have abandoned themselves in search of unrealistic and dreamlike inventions and definitions of a woman fed by mass media, magazines, television...
Colonization continues but willingly we have accepted and worn the chains ourselves.

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NOTE: my words and thoughts are not set in stone but are daily being shaped by events or new discoveries.

Monday, August 11, 2014

New PROJECT in Progress!

At last I am happy to announce that my new project is in progress and my blog will get active again, thank goodness. Don't get me wrong, I have been working oo, I just haven’t connected enough to the things I have been doing not because I didn't believe in them but rather I lacked understanding but I knew what I was doing I just didn’t have the words or probably not bold enough to share.

My new project... wait should I call it new???
I haven’t moved away from what I have been doing but the work has definitely evolved and so has my thinking these days. So it isn’t exactly new but I would say it started last year, thinking through it, experimenting;which I love to do, playing with materials and possibilities.
I hope I can show the work this year, planning a show in Lagos is so expensive, sponsorship is hard to find but I have postponed it long enough and I will show it by hook or by crook, my last resort... : I show it here on this blog, I’m tired of waiting for all conditions to be right, this Nigeria, nothing is ever perfect!

Anyway since last year I have been making voice recordings about what I have been thinking about and what I want from the project. I started this way because first of all it’s about my grandmother who’s identity is unknown and I had nothing to work from and in order to start, words were all I had. I didn’t start making actual work till this year maybe like in March or so, before then I was experimenting or should I saying playing with objects and reading but its those ideas I am using now.

So one by one I will post these ramblings which I have typed out. I do not like the sound of my voice hence I will not post the actual recording. And besides I was making zero sense most of the time and I repeated a lot of things which is fine. No art starts out perfect, you learn to find yourself gradually, hence consistency is key. I know a lot of people don’t understand what I do, or why I do what I do, you’re not alone. I’m learning but my work has never come from thin air that I can promise you, there is always an anchor to connect with, which is why I am really excited about this project as it does bring to light more understanding of my past work and maybe future works.

I won’t be posting any images at all till exhibition time. I’ll tell you why.
I want you to feel what I experienced in making this work (frustration mostly), having words and no physical objects to back up any claims to the stories I was told. This was my struggle, how do I take words and turn them to art, physical tangible art.
Please try and follow my ramblings, at the beginning I wasn’t making sense but as it progresses, you would see and understand better (I hope) what my work is about, you will see what I am reading and understand how I am choosing to shape my mind. Yes its a choice!!

May I also add that my stay in Dakar during the biennale and the Asiko programme ( I will post something on that soon ) really influenced my thought process, they helped give volume to the thoughts I had already. Like I said earlier, I know what I am doing but I just didn’t have that cushion to bounce off my thoughts. How does one reference, who or what is a “valid” reference were major issues I had.
I have been able to find people through books that are thinking on the same ideas I have,  and not just anyone, but people from the same cultural background. No offense to western artists but as a Nigerian artist living on the continent of Africa, it would only make sense to lean towards the cultural ideals of my location and identity. This is what encourages me that I am making sense hence that built my confidence in forging ahead with the work. 

Like Olu Oguibe said in his book The Culture Game, and I quote: 

“To perpertualy counter a center is to recognize it. In other words discourse- our discourse- should begin to move in the direction if dismissing, at least in discursive terms... ” 

The centre I use in this work is mostly based on my family’s stories, and I am confident that is enough to build on.
Enough said and probably enough questions created as well. First post starts tomorrow and continues weekly till I show the work ( so help me God).
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Thank you for reading!! Please like my Facebook page and please feel free to share. Thanks

NOTE: my words and thoughts are not set in stone but are daily being shaped by events or new discoveries.