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Artistic nationalism: Okafor’s take on people’s consumption pattern

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Art is inherently nationalistic; it stays true to its social context even in the face of sweeping changes. May Okafor’s “Of Consumates and Cannibalism”, is an exhibition of works of art in the exploration genre.

The art pieces mainly in the form of installations engaged issues of collective national and social conventions bordering on consumption, a culture that has led to the enthronement of significant level of foreignness over relevant and essential local resources, products and values, resulting to a growing sense of despondency. Okafor is a 2010 first class graduate in Fine and Applied Art, University of Nigeria Nsukka (UNN).

Though a ceramist, her practice has evolved and expanded beyond the traditional notion of ceramics to the adoption of a post-modernist approach to creativity. She comes with a strong leaning towards the experimental which has seen her explore concepts germane to Nigeria’s contemporary realities.

The 2015 prize winner of the Annual Africa Arts Foundation (AAF) organised National Art Competition believes that art must be used as a tool to address societal concerns.

She said: “In my quest for newness and experimentation, I have been working on the idea of inordinate consumption for a couple of years, the type that has seized us as a nation, this serious crave for foreign goods have made us import items that have equally good local alternatives.”

She believes that this tendency for wanton consumerism, which though did not start today (as it already had a name such as ‘squandermania’ in the 70s), is a sort of cannibalism of a people’s future. While some blame the situation on bad leadership, others blame it on the ‘distortions’ of petro dollars on the economy, which has created the spiraling and guzzling demands of today.

The fact remains that taste buds are hooked to consumables from far flung lands.

There is no example as vivid as the importation of goods such as tooth pick from abroad despite the availability of bamboo trees in large quantities across many parts of Nigeria.

She calls this situation the “domestication of foreignness” which in her artistic opinion should be of deep concern to everyone especially the leaders and policy makers. The future is being mortgaged on the altar of our desires.

How else can the ugliness of this trend be exposed other than the biting reality of present day economic recession in Nigeria? Among the installations are the apple themed pieces which she sees as metaphor for extravagance.

“For a fruit completely imported into the local market, the apple has become even more common than oranges and other home grown fruits”, Okafor turned the ubiquitous wastes from apple crates into innovative studio materials to thematically provide the thrust for an artist under certain intense pressure to address matters of urgent concern in her beloved country.

Her body of work may also have its global implication, as consumerism and foreignness could arguably be linked to the general issues of globalisation and post-colonialism.

The danger, according to the artist, lies in the exterminating tendencies of consumerism which she captured in her ‘Genesis Series’ and the piece ‘Rolled Earth’. ‘Genesis Series’ is a composition made of hundreds of tadpole-like figures.

At a glance, the work seems to dwell on the idea of procreation and life but Okafor explains that the concept is a paradox which involves “the act of death” which is likened to what happens in our obscene desire for foreignness.

“Naturally the tadpole turns cannibalistic when it has inadequate food or space. This is the same trait I have found with imports. When they infiltrate the market, as is the case in Nigeria, they completely take over the locally produced items of its own kind.

That’s cannibalism,” she said. Enekwachi, an artist, culture writer and art teacher, wrote from Nsukka

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Arts & Entertainments

BBNaija 2018: I only had one-night stand with you – Rapper, CDQ Olowo replies Ifu Ennada

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Nigerian entertainer, CDQ Olowo, has responded to Big Brother Naija’s housemate, Ifu Ennada, saying he only had a one-night-stand with her.

Yesterday, Ifu Ennada had called out the popular rapper, accusing him of dumping her after sacrificing so much for his music career.

She claimed the singer forgot about her after attaining stardom.

According to Ifu Ennada, she was just 17 when she “sponsored” CDQ, gave him money meant for her handouts, school fees, and also gave him tickets to VIP event. Only for her to be used and dumped.

She said it was not about the money but about the sacrifices she made for him.

But reacting to Ifu’s claim, the musician described her as a one-night-stand, asking her to seek for promo the right way instead of talking “bullsh*t.

CDQ Olowo wrote on his Instagram, “I’m a self made. Dm or contact my management if you need free promo not by saying bullshit (sic).

“You were just a one night stand.”

 

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Arts & Entertainments

BBNaija: Efe blasts Nigerians who regret voting for him

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Winner of last year’s Big Brother Naija, Efe Ejeba, has lashed out at Nigerians who say they regret voting for him.

Efe, who has ventured into music since the show ended, took to his Twitter page to blast fans who have been criticizing his songs from the EP, ‘AmSorryAmWinning’.

He wrote: “For all those saying they regret voting for me, i entertained you and your money expired the day the show ended. #AmSorryAmWinningEp

“Thank you to those who have been 1000% with me from day one… your genuine support has kept me thus far through God’s grace… keep supporting the music… so we keep winning… #AmSorryAmWinningEp”

Efe won the coveted N25million prize money and an SUV after three months in the Big Brother house.

 

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Banky W shutdown EME, re-brands record label

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Pop artiste Bankole Wellington (aka Banky W), has announced the rebranding of his record label, Empire Mates Entertainment (E.M.E.).

E.M.E. was the starting record label for popular names in the music industry including Wizkid, Skales and Niyola.

He said the E.M.E is now a full-fledged Media Agency which will focus on creative Marketing, Advertising, PR, Brand Events/Activation’s, and talent management.

The singer on Tuesday shared the news in a two-part Instagram post via his account @bankywellington, where he recounted the history of the label and the decision to redefine it.

After nine years of operation in Nigeria’s music industry, the singer and actor said it became necessary to shutdown the label in January 2017, due to the restructuring.

According to him, E.M.E.’s business venture will now be marketing, advertising, public relations, branding, shooting of television commercials and documentaries.

He also added that the agency is not restricted to music artists, but will also cater for creative people in other areas such as sports, radio and television; and acting.

Banky W named his wife Adesua Etomi, DJ Xclusive, Ebuka Obi-Uchendu, Host of the BBNaija 2018 `Double Wahala’ TV show and Tolu ‘Toolz’ Oniru as the first set of clients of the rebranded company.

He wrote: “We have played our little part in helping discover/boost the careers of a number of talents in the music business (some of your favourite artists, producers and engineers).

“In January, 2017, after nine years of being in the Nigerian music industry, we decided it was time to quietly close the record label arm of our business.

“Essentially, we have restricted our business and instead of operating just as a record label, we have expanded and changed our focus a bit.

“This switch in focus has been amazing and fulfilling behind the scenes, we have been able to impact the launching and marketing of a number of brands and companies the way we did artists.

“But even in the talent management side, we are no longer restricted to working with just music artists.

“We still work with musicians, but also work with On Air Personalities, actors, and evaluating sports management as well.’’

E.M.E. was founded by Banky W and his best friend, Tunde Demuren in 2002 while they were at the university in New York.

Wizkid reportedly parted ways with E.M.E in February 2013, to start his own label ‘Starboy’.

Skales also moved on from E.M.E. following the expiration of his contract.

The label was best known for its 2013 compilation album ‘Empire Mates State of Mind’.

(NAN)

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