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For the sake of my friend, mesh talks global peace, unity

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Meshioye

Aside from being a consummate graphic designer, Olabode Meshioye, generally known as Bode Mesh, a pen name he adopted for business, has made his mark in diverse genres of the arts. The Egba-born multi-talented artists from the tender age of seven began to mingle with the big stars in the music and the movie industries, where he was wooed to the arts.

Too young to take decisions about himself, Mesh partnered his elder brother, who was then 16 years old, to publish a comic book. Although, the production did not fly as expected because the two lacked the financial muscle to push its flight, they never gave up on hope.

After that failed project, Mesh’s imagination run wide, as he began to play different roles in the arts sector from designing artworks for advertising companies, directing and writing movie scripts to authoring books, his works continue to count.

In recent years, he has authored different books with the latest titled, For The Sake Of My Friend, which was published this year.
With this latest book would it not be proper to say you have crossed over from script writing and directing to publishing?

“No,” he counters, saying, “I have been privileged to live around the best in the Nigeria entertainment industry. As a local cool-kid, I grew up running errands for popular music stars including, Eddie Okonta, Sunny Ade, Adeolu Akinsanya and Sikiru Ayinde Barrister around the Moshalshi/Labinjo/Alakija/Idi-oro axis of Mushin in my neighbourhood. It was not actually about learning the trade from them, but they were everyday people residing in the same neighbourhood I grew up. What I am trying to explain is there was never a crossover, as my entire life has been about arts and music.

“My brother and I started a publishing enterprise, Cosmic International in our teenage: he was 16. We published series of comic books that was refused by the Vendors Association because we could not afford to pay distributors to market the production. We were highly disadvantaged because we lost our dad at an early age of our lives.

“We later started making movies with friends, using the Kodak 8mm and 16mm celluloid. We did all the scripting, storyboarding and editing by ourselves. So, there was never a crossover. I have always been in the arts from my childhood.”

Explaining how he came about the title of his new book, Mesh reveals that his immediate environment in Milton Keynes (MK), England, influenced him to come with the title. He notes that he looked back at what living in Milton Keynes used to be at the beginning of the century.

The author discloses that the cover picture, which shows two ladies — white and coloured — in a friendly pose, depicts diversity in friendships and tells the goings on in the city in a pictorial form.

Mesh reveals that his book dwells on diverse issues from religious extremism, governments oversights, people’s aspirations, to kids innocence in the web of life.

Stressing that conditions give birth to certain human behaviours, the author reveals that he has writing stories from his primary school days at Olowogbowo Methodist School, Lagos.

According to him, he had wanted to be part of his school entertainment group, but was too shy to act on stage. Knowing this, he branched out and began to make up his own stories through drawings in exercise books.

“My elder brother was a good artist too, and I learnt a lot from him. Though, I really enjoyed the creative aspects, the frenzy and great relationships with clients and my colleagues in the advertising world, I still see all my efforts diverted to money making techniques only. Advertising to me, was work while I found fulfillment in arts and music,” he intones.

On if people still read books in hard copies in this age of the new media, Mesh notes that although there has been a major drop in people reading hard copies that a lot people, especially the youth read more now than before. According to him, globally, an average youth subconsciously reads about three pages of materials on different issues a day on the social media or Google search, adding that formal education and other knowledge can be impacted on the youths within this three-page daily reading.

He observes that insisting people must read books on hard copy is like asking the older generation to read from animal skin scrolls, saying what matters most is for people to acquire knowledge, irrespective of the medium.

From the cover picture, you’ll be tempted to ask, why write on relationship, when racism and xenophobia still exist in Europe and other continents? The writer reveals that the book goes deeper than relationship issues, as it highlights the huge cultural changes that we all are experiencing today.

He notes that rather than blame our partners or friends for our oversights based on our assumptions, we should always put ourselves in our neighbours’ shoes, as this will not only make us to see things from a wider perspective, but brings peace and encourages bonding.

With these major themes, Mesh sees the globe as his target audience and market, especially as imbibing in the themes would bring unity, peace and mutual relationship among peoples of the world.

On the reason for printing and publishing in the United Kingdom, when there, Mesh reveals that the Nigerian systems is so conditioned that one has to belong to a powerful clique to get his/her creative works out, aside facing questions like: “Who is your father?”, “Is your style influenced by Wole Soyinka or China Achebe?”, “Did you finish from OAU or UNILAG?”, “Are you of Obasanjo or Tinubu?”

“It is not easy to breakout in Nigeria without a godfather. Although, it is tougher in the USA and in the Europe, their governments have of these bottlenecks and have created alternative avenues for the Wannabe to exhibit their works. For example, to retain a legal patent for your invention in the UK, you do not even need a lawyer to live off your ignorance. It is made easy online by the governments to access freely. Whereas in Africa, especially Nigeria, you will need a political privilege or an unaffordable sum of money to register a brand name. What then happens if the youths cannot afford the legal protocol charges? Forgery, bribery and extortions by legal or crooked business come to play,” he said.

Having stayed abroad for a while and seen the various art genres, Mesh gives the Nigerian art space an excellent mark, saying the new generation artist(e)s are really making the country proud. According to him, these new generation Nigerian artist(e)s can match and surpass their peers globally if given the opportunity.

“The new generation artist(e)s are doing well even though they lack the right exposure and also the right media to distribute their works. However, with the trending open source for distribution by Apple, Amazon and Netflix, their good works will soon go global.


In this article:
Bode MeshOlabode Meshioye
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