In Shomolu, words meet images for peace, unity
After a successful outing in Agege, Evelyn Osagie, known on stage as Evelyn D’Poet, recently took her community-based art campaign of peace and unity to Shomolu in Lagos.Held on July 20, 2018, Osagie staged what she termed, Words Meet Images 2.0. The event featured her together series, outdoor art exhibition and open-air poetry and musical performances. The maiden edition held in Agege on February 24, 2018.
According to Osagie, “Words Meet Images (WMI) brings together different art forms, as well as people from various places and social strata.” According to the artist, who is a journalist with The Nation Newspaper, “the countdown to 2019 elections is already on, and in the wake of diverse national and security concerns, it is appropriate to carry this message to the streets.”
Osagie’s outdoor installation in the series has as its theme, ‘Vote With Ink Not Blood’, which she said, “is meant to remind everybody the importance of love and peace as indispensable continuum in the polity, especially as countdown to 2019 has already begun. And besides rekindling the appreciation of art on the street, it showcased how art could beautify not just the environment, but also the world. It is driven by a conversation on need to preserve the environment.”
Osagie, a multi-talented artist with a perceptive mind for creative details and an eye for images, is a proponent of ‘Poetry for All Seasons’ and expresses her voice through diverse arts, especially photography and performance poetry. She uses her pieces to support different causes – child/women’s rights, physical and mental disabilities, HIV/AIDS, global peace, art/culture/tourism and more.
According to the lady, the choice to hold the second edition of her travel art initiative in Shomolu is intentional.She stated: “This community has a high concentration people of different ethnic groups and has nurtured and produced lots of talents on the streets, like the widely-celebrated founder of Crown Troupe of Africa, Segun Adefila. On its streets are more talents that need to be discovered and nurtured. The event is to remind residents on need to tap on what have become Shomolu’s selling points – their talents.”
The poet said, “it is interesting to note that the people of Shomolu, including its Council, welcomed me with open arms. This goes to show their love and promotions of the arts. It is my hope that, without waiting for an Emmanuel Macron, the French President, who came here to discover a talented young Nigerian boy, they would transfer the kind of love they showed me to nurturing the talents around them.”
Bringing freshness to poetry performance and visual art, Osagie said: “Both are tools in advocating for a better world for us and our children. Performance poetry is not new to the people what is new is the mode and language (English) with which it is employed, bringing freshness to an age-long art form.”
She blends her poetry with contemporary and traditional motifs, images, songs, and speech patterns while drawing from traditional African theatre. She also mixes performance with elements of folklore, myths, songs, and sometimes employs masks, drum rhythms, music and dance to express her poetic thoughts.
Osagie imagines photograph as unspoken memory garnished with experience, frozen in time. The works (photographs of 16” by 20” sizes in coloured and monochrome) are either framed on firewood, bamboo and scraped wood with Uli and Nsibidi symbols and hung on trees or placed on mat to show that art beautify every space.
The images in her explore the metaphoric interaction between man, their environment (nature), animal and inanimate objects (bags) towards harmony and the attendant power play as it affects our existence.
Catching each moment in a flash, she said, “gives me satisfaction as an artist and journalist. Each piece is symbolic of the silent cry in our country today – peace. The need for peace in our polity at this time cannot be overstated. But to achieve a better and safer Nigeria for all, the people must take proactive steps to end it.”
And employing the ‘unity in our diversity’ is a major driver of the peace and harmony. And art is that vehicle for driving true change.“My poetic performances and outdoor installation are, therefore, meant to remind us of the need for peace (both during and after the elections), while encouraging us to pursue peaceful means to making our cases known as we move towards deeper into another election year. If we forget the reason why we must fight for the peace and unity in our land, let art, nature, our children and animals remind us,” she said.
Osagie has performed her poems and that of others before at events such as, the 65th birthday of Prof Ayo Olukotun in May, 2018 at Lead City University, Ogun State (at the First Lady Olufunso Amosun’s 50th birthday event) and across Lagos, such as United States Consulate, Lagos, German Embassy in Lagos, CORA’s Lagos State Book and Arts Festival (LABAF), The Night of The Poet during Lagos Black Heritage Festival and Wordslam.
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