“You need to get out of your comfort zone more often”
It’s been a while I had someone press and pester until I succumbed. Dami, after urging me, began to play the pre-guilt card with me.
To Dami, ‘comfort zone’ meant my sitting at home all day, punching at my computer Keys. Yes, that was it but there was more.
My comfort zone was analysis and logic. What was I going to do with ArtX Lagos?
All I had to do to get to ArtX Lagos was wear my clothes and get on the bus. Dami already had a ticket for me. While I thought that was incredibly sweet, leaving Google Analytics and the rest for paintings on the wall was totally uncomfortable.
I want to go out more e.g get out of my comfort zone but not with ArtX Lagos. I whined and whined in my head.
I was not going to pretend to like paintings or anything of sorts. I just do not understand the abstract. Oh, you don’t have to thoroughly understand, I guess. I do not appreciate them the way enthusiasts do so I was definitely going to be a misfit at ArtX Lagos.
I had taken a quick break to finish up a movie I had been watching for almost a week now when ‘NEPA took light’.
That was it. With a bad laptop battery, I had been sentenced to a Saturday of boredom and unproductivity. I strolled to my salon to make some quick cornrows (was going to be throwing on a wig) and called Dami while at it.
“I am going to ArtX Lagos’, I said over the phone.
In 2 hours I was at Civic Center and of course, with no mission, nothing. I was supposed to go with Anuoluwapo. But everything worked against me, she wasn’t able to obtain her ticket.
FYI, you could get your ticket at the venue Anu. Jeez.
Yinka Shonibare’s works caught my attention and this isn’t because it was the first set of Art on display, it was that it was beautiful. That’s all I have to say about them, beautiful.
I do not have any other artistic interpretation for what I saw on the walls.
While I wandered around to take in some more beauty, things had begun to change for me, in an interesting way. I was liking what I was seeing.
Oh, I was liking that I sighted a lazy toaster locked arm to arm with a very clean babe. The first date I was supposed to have with him was at his house. He said he had made ogbono or something.
Once, every month, he would call to do lazy pursuit. Okay, I promise I didn’t know this would crop up. I really just want to talk about ArtX.
Aboubakar Fofana on Usable Pasts & Re-invention
I walked into one of the ArtX talks and that was the highlight of ArtX Lagos for me.
It was by Aboubakar Fofana on Usable Pasts & Re-invention. It was a discussion with Missla Libsekal who is an Independent Writer, Cultural Producer and Curator of the ART X Talks Program and Curated Projects
His different perspectives to textiles and natural dyes, the indigo colour was indeed wide as he incorporated the intellectual, spiritual and visual.
Here I was, an internet babe sitting down (with legit art human beings) to listen to some Art professional yea.
I couldn’t make sense of the first 10 seconds of the talk but the rest of it all was enlightening, eye-opening and amazingly deep.
I was fascinated by how someone was fascinated by Indigo as a colour. His devotion to making this colour and its different shades from scratch with plants and bacteria was mind-blowing.
Then it began to make sense. There was a reconciliation. Science and Art were about to be interconnected and I was amazed.
There was fabric making, graphic design, science, art, beauty, all in one process. I took a course in Chemistry called Textiles and Colours and I was able to understand in-depth Aboubakar’s process as he worked with fermented indigo vat dyeing and mineral mud-dyeing techniques.
It was so familiar yet new as I could see how interwoven his results (art) were with his process (science).
Aboubakar Fofana is full of so much passion and determination. Some of his goals took a decade and some years to achieve. Yet, he kept at them.
Trained in Japan and France, Aboubakar who was born in Mali is one of the world’s foremost practitioners of West African indigo dyeing techniques.
That there was a lack of materials to achieve some of his goals was supposed to be a challenge but Aboubakar Fofana learned how to use his senses and intuition to work. Speaking of Africans and grit.
If Africans had the resources and environment the white man was exposed to, we would excel. We are full of so much of tenacity. We are so stubborn and willful.
Aboubakar Fofana On Instagram
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Some Shades of Indigo
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This image is of my most recent work for #documenta14 in Kassel. This second piece is called Fundi (Uprising). It is a sister piece to my other work in Athens, Ka touba Farafina yé (Africa Blessing). Whenever and wherever I talk about my work with indigo, people tell me how beautiful they find this substance and the colour it produces, the connections they have with it, the spiritual aspect but I also have in mind the other side of indigo, and this is what Uprising is about. When people think of the slave trade from Africa to the Caribbean and the Americas they generally think of cotton, sugar, and tobacco as the crops that those slaves were brought over to farm. But the first slave-grown crop was indigo, and for several centuries indigo was actually by far the most valuable of all of these crops, particularly in the Caribbean where the British controlled the indigo trade long before sugar and tobacco became so important. And a century or so later, in India, the British forced Bengali farmers to grow indigo in place of food, leading to widespread starvation. This episode in British Indian colonial history was pivotal, it was instrumental in mobilising opinion behind Gandhi, who took up the cause of Indian cloth production and championed self-sufficiency as a form of non-violent revolution. Indigo has had a huge role to play in colonial history, suppression and violence, and I want people to remember this when they see this piece, to understand what a human toll this has enacted and still enacts. Image courtesy of Roman Maerz. #documentakassel #indigo #indigodyed #indigohistory #colonialism #gandhi #slavetrade #uprising #africablessing #revolution
About ArtX Lagos
ART X Lagos, founded and directed by Tokini Peterside is the first international art fair in West Africa. Its purpose is to showcase the most innovative contemporary art from Africa. It was launched in 2016.
Some of the Sponsors and partners of ArtX Lagos are Access, Ford Foundation, Stanbic IBTC, H2oH, Leadway, The Guardian, Business Day, Alara, The WheatBaker Lagos etc.
Exhibitors at ArtX Lagos 2018
Retro Africa – Nigeria
Signature Beyond Art Gallery- Nigeria
SMAC – South Africa
SMO Contemporary Art = Nigeria
STEVENSON – South Africa
TAFETA – United Kingdom
Thought Pyramid Art Centre – Nigeria
Tiwani Contemporary – United Kingdom
Addis Fine Art – Ethiopia
Afriart Gallery Kampala – Uganda
Arthouse (The Space) – Nigeria
Artyrama – Nigeria
Bloom Art – Nigeria
Circle Art Agency – Kenya
Gallery 1957 – Ghana
Nike Art Gallery – Nigeria
Nubuke Foundation – Ghana
OOA Contemporary Art Gallery – Spain
“After a certain high level of technical skill is achieved, science and art tend to coalesce in esthetics, plasticity, and form. The greatest scientists are always artists as well. “— Albert Einstein