Culture

Op-Ed: Art, Clout, and Alté: Contentious Relationships

Going into this piece, I’m coming out of an artist block, and finding inspiration can be a whole lot of work sometimes, being a creative [henceforth, I’ll just use “artist” instead] entails a lot more than what people see, be it creative writing, structured writing, music, visual arts or whatever kind of creative method and the truth is a lot of your effort will be underappreciated or even outright overlooked.

Only a small percentage of artists get the exposure they really deserve and this could be due to various reasons ranging from a diversity of skill to content and message. Ideally, I believe art is a means of communication, from different forms of music to visual arts, it conveys a message which should provoke thought and/or emotion and I think good art is that which carries out its purpose of communication or expression.

Orange Red Yellow by Mark Rothko

Examining abstract art, we see people in museums and galleries looking at somewhat meaningless pieces [maybe a painting of just blue streaks] and you have the artist interpret and someone gets it, there really is no rule book as to what art should be. Art speaks to the heart, the mind, and the soul. It goes way beyond looking at the particles of paint on canvas, or that digital piece, what does it whisper to you? What does it scream to you? What do you feel? What emotions does it provoke?

Art in The Alte Generation

Self-expression is everything and in visual arts and music, the artists make content relatable to themselves and everyone else it might appeal to, talk about Pith Africa, Niyi Okeowo studios, Baroque Age in visual and multimedia content, Odunsi, Santi, WavyTheCreator to mention a few, these people put out art that speaks a language, one which sometimes goes against what mainstream media wants to embrace. Art should be a form of expression, especially in this part of the world where we’re faced with so many socio-cultural and political misconceptions as to what is really what.

Santi

People generally see members of the Alte community as weirdos with funky glasses and dirty shoes who just want to seem different but fail to realize it’s all about expression, they’re really the ones trying to uphold what the concept of ‘self´ is. Creating a sort of sub-culture within the whole is more than just aesthetics, there’s an innate meaning to it which is being expressed in visuals and every form of creative direction and it’s not just for clout. In a world where herd mentality and social conditioning runs everything, these people stand out and speak actively breaking out from the societal systems that hold us to the herd.

Looking at the recently released visuals to Santi’s Rapid fire project featuring Shane eagle  and amaarae , I find it particularly interesting and very aesthetically pleasing but it has been met with a lot of criticism as it entails some elements of the esoteric with some even going as far as identifying it as outright occultism, The video centers around a group called the “lost boys” in their natural habitat – the streets, doing the things they enjoy, drugs, booze; it tells about a sense of community without giving a shit [pardon me] what anybody thinks, It’s about true freedom.

The burning bush scene with Santi shaking off his dreads gives this really divine touch to it and you already know no one could do it better. The candles symbolize illumination in a world of darkness which gives the statement “sorry we don’t have candles”. It’s all about people expressing themselves without being judged, the visual project was directed by Santi himself and you can almost tell right from the start. Altogether it’s a visual masterpiece with crazy replay value and a lot of gems hidden in symbolism if you just keep that eye out.


Art should be used to lend a voice to a cause, having the privilege of getting the clout or deserved recognition should be more than video or photo-ops and should actually have some meaning, addressing critical issues and proper re-orientation of people towards otherwise touchy subjects in the local community and the world at large. It’s all on us to spread love through the one universal language, art.

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