“ART IS A SPIRITUAL TRANSACTION”
Artists are visionaries. We routinely practice a form of faith, seeing clearly and moving toward a creative goal that shimmers in the distance, often visible to us, but invisible to those around us” – JULIA CAMERON
Time is 12:40 pm and I saunter into the Nest Hub Premises – venue for the event, I see someone who ushers me into the main venue for the event: A backyard with colored bamboo planks /tires, a table on the left littered with papers, paintbrushes and paint with few people seated and standing around it. And on the right are about five plain mini-canvases eagerly waiting to be feasted on.
I see few faces painted already and I also indulge myself in a painting on my wrist. I step out for a little bout of fresh air and I see an artiste documenting graffiti on the wall, His words – “PENKELE MESS”
Meanwhile, just few inches to the entrance on both flanks are two large papers with scribble – like drawings on it having similarities to a map. On it, attendees are enjoined to paint the squares with different colors portraying their moods from indifference to disgust to hope and other moods as regards the country. The bulk of paintings on those papers showed the exasperated state Nigerians are in! – Sad but true.
Then one of the organizers gives an opening address – Citing the Theme ‘Penkele Mess’ and how it came into fruition – A Notion used to express dissatisfaction at an awry state of affairs in the country whilst also leaning on the narrative as the event been a form of escapism from the harsh realities of the country. This was even bolstered after hearing the sad ordeal of an artist who recently was denied visa at the US Embassy on the basis of being a “Nigerian”.
With that the First session kicked off and artiste’s/art enthusiast poured out their thoughts, emotions, ideas, moods on their canvases and painted. Going round and having with a little chat with everyone painting at the moment, and also asking through for their creative directions as regards their art. Meanwhile, somehwere in that same space, Artsy Streetwear brand MainDragXYZ is holding a shoot for its new collection of T-shirts.
The second session commences with the numbers unbelivably doubling and accompained by a sense of community – excited squeals of familiarity from old school mates reuniting, acquitances meeting up and creatives catching up on conversations. More chat with the attendees which aggregately consists of 90% of young people in their twenties.
Even children were not left out – I spoke with a seven year old who was drawing his favourite cartoon character – Sponge Bob because he considered him funny which I debukned because i consider Patrick funnier. But this young boy was not having it, He stood his ground for Sponge Bob and even attempted drawing my face which I considered so aspiring.
I meet up with two artistes for a five minutes chat as regards their work and their general outllook of art especially in this part of the world. The third session commences after the “Junkman” who also turns up to show support for the movement addresses the participants.
More paintings, More People some even sprawled on the floor with reckless abadon painting the content of their hearts out. It’s almost six in the evening – Time to leave I presume but people seem to still be trooping in. Who would have imagined Nigerians would come all out for art? As a commentator at this event, here are four deductions from Color Purge second installation ‘Penkele Mess”. The margin between artists and art enthusiasts is gradually panning out to be even; At least, 50% of the people I spoke to were neither artists nor did they have any art inclinations of any sort. They either just wanted to experience art or relieve themselves of stress thanks to almighty state of Lagos.
Leaders in Nigeria needs to do better, no one is happy in this country and this claim was further bolstered via the attendee’s art perspectives. A better Nigeria is what the youths be clamoring for.
From an artiste standpoint, Art in Nigeria is slowly “paying off”. (Emphasis on ‘Slowly’) and more emphasis should be placed by the government and corporate bodies on art and support should also be accorded. ”Because Las Las Everything Na Art”. Community is everything and when channeled to a certain course yields so much – more than even bargained. The close knit aura prevalent in this event was a beautiful sight to behold. Not compared to the classism syndrome present in Nigeria Art shows.
As with every event, there is always room for improvement. There literally has to be more room in the next color purge as attendance expectations were surpassed. Now a bigger space should be in the works for the next installation. Timing was not scrupulous enough – Three sessions were displayed on the flyer each session consisting of two hours. But time for each preceding session crept into the consecutive sessions.
“Color Purge 0.2 is a creative art session with seasoned artists who will lead you in uncovering and exploring your ability to create art.” This is a paraphrased brief sent via E-mail to participants for this event and if this is anything in form of a promise – Then they fulfilled it! The next edition promises to be better and would further broaden the conversation of using art via the medium of a community to make it less forlorn.
This review stemmed from a need to create documentation for art. Tweet at the writer — @Ejiroghenetegha