With ‘Vote With Ink, Not Blood’, Osagie brings message of peace to Isolo
The event held on Thursday, February 14, 2019.
Known on stage as Evelyn D’Poet, she mounted her unity campaign there through her art-to-the-street project, Words Meet Images (WMI).
Osagie, who currently works with The Nation newspaper, is a multi-talented artist with a perceptive mind for creative details and an eye for images.
She is a proponent of ‘Poetry for All Seasons’ and expresses her voice through diverse arts, especially photography and performance poetry.
With the theme, Vote With Ink, Not Blood, she showed human installation, using market women and traditional wares and furniture to create a local milieu meant to reignite the feeling of the old days in her audience.
The event also featured a playlet with cast from different strata of the society, including, the market women in her human installation.
This edition’s play was: Our Vote, Our Bullet, highlighting the importance of non-violent election and the need for the electorate going out en masse to vote.
The initiative, which is in its third edition, also celebrated its first anniversary. The two-pronged event featured Together Series Outdoor Art Exhibition and open-air poetry and musical performances.
The WMI’s concert featured poets, musical acts between the ages of 12 and 70 plus, such as a 12 years old singing sensation, Chidindu Okorie, Oyin Gbadé, Tunde Ara, George Chijioke Amadi, the famed Igbo flutist Apama, Yusuf Balogun Gemini and Poetic Justice.
Catching each moment in a flash, she said, “gives me the most satisfaction as an artist and journalist. Each piece is symbolic of the silent cry in our country today – peace.”
According to her, “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 earn it.”
She said, “and employing the ‘unity in our diversity’ is a major driver of the peace and harmony we dream. 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 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.”
In the last one year, the journartist, as she is popularly called, has brought a unique freshness to poetry performance and visual art through her Words Meet Images initiative.
According to Evelyn, “Words Meet Images (WMI) is a melting pot that seeks to promote the appreciation of the arts (poetry and photography) while bringing together different art forms and people from various places and social strata. This time it is using poetry and visual art (photography) to drive home the need for peace and unity, and love.”
Recalling how the event started, she said, “everything began last year in the wake of diverse national and security concerns as the nation counted down to the 2019 elections.”
The maiden event held in Iju Road Agege on February 24, 2018, a place where people from different ethnic groups have co-existed peacefully for decades; the second was used to turn Akpata Carnal in Somolu into a tourist centre on July 20, 2018.
“My third solo together series outdoor installation with theme, ‘Vote With Ink, Not Blood’ was meant to reawaken the importance of love/peace as indispensable continuum in our polity,” Evelyn said.
She added, “Isolo’s was the third and special edition, because of its unique timing. Not only was it our first anniversary, it held at a very crucial period in our country – elections.”
She stated: “This is because Isolo Estate has a high concentration of people of different ethnic groups and has nurtured and produced lots of talents on its streets, like Chidindu and Oyin who featured in the concert. The choice of using the Red Street is also deliberate.
The street houses the popular thespians/artist, particularly Uncle Ben Tomoloju and Washington Uba. And this time we held the exhibition in front of a school in “catching them young”. And there are more talents that need to be discovered and nurtured on the street: it is, therefore, hoped that this event will remind the people/parents of the need to tap what has become Isolo selling points – their talents. And the poetry concert held at a bar known for gathering intellectuals, supporting artists and promoting diverse causes.”
She continued, “and as the world was celebrating the season of love, in the spirit of Valentine’s Day, we were also joining our voice to the universal message of love. And in addition to rekindling the appreciation of art on the street, the show revealed how art could beautify not just the environment, but also our world. It is driven by conversation and the need to preserve the environment.”
Evelyn noted, “it is important to state that the people of Isolo Jakande Estate 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 to Nigeria and discover a talented young Nigerian boy, to come and discover one of their talented children, they would transfer the kind of love they shown me to nurturing the talents around them.”
Evelyn imagines photographs as unspoken memory garnished with experience, frozen in time.
The works (photographs varying sizes in coloured and monochrome) are either framed on mat, bamboo, firewood and regular frames are usually scraped wood hung on trees, or placed on mat to show that art beautify every space.
The images 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.
On stage, Evelyn 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.
She uses her pieces to supports different causes – child/women’s rights, physical and mental disabilities, HIV/AIDS, global peace, art/culture/tourism, and more.
Evelyn, who read English at the University of Benin, has performed her poems and that of others before at diverse artistic events/festival in Edo, Oyo State (Iseyin, Ibadan – 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, WORDSLAM, Bogobiri (Ire celebrates), the Association of Nigeria Authors (ANA), MUSON Centre, etc.
No comments yet