Update from Qudus' blog

Nov 26, 2009

I Must Set Forth – Qudus Onikeku

This piece was curlled from a blogger called DIHS - Enjoy what he got to say about my work...

“Where is your home?” … “As in, where are you based?” … “Where do you spend most of your time living?” … ‘ooooh! Facebook!’ Qudus Onikeku was born and raised in Nigeria. But where is his home? He sits, crossed legged, and speaks as if having a personal conversation. He would like to know, where is home? Maybe, he says, home is our bodies. And with that, he begins to sing a song, one that is not American.
Credit: Arthur Fink Photography

Qudus’ strength is evident from the beginning. With incredible attention to detail, his torso, arms, hands, fingers, toes are all under his control. He moves quickly with his core, moving this abdomen in and out, knees bent, hovering. Rolling, crawling and reaching he moves swiftly around the stage. He places his hands at his center as if holding a ball and gyrates around it with his entire body, circling around his home. At times the movement is too fast for the eye to fully perceive. With acrobatic precision he reaches back to perform an uncountable number of back flips and the sweat that flings from his body paints the air ten feet above. The entire scrim fills with the image of Qudus dancing, with short cuts of him hopping or swinging his body around a darkened space. He stands, sweating, and takes off his shirt. This is Qudus. This is his body. This is his home.

Credit: Arthur Fink Photography

What did you expect to see after the informal beginning?

Were you able to feel the intensity of his movements?

Have you seen any other dances that express how one’s body can be one’s home?

Is your body your home?

You can see what Qudus is up to at his blog: http://qudus.blogspot.com/

Different Voices, August 7th, 2009
Schaeffer Theatre, Bates Dance Festival
Bates College, Lewiston, Maine. USA

I imagine some of you saw I must SetForth... in Lagos on the 8th of November, although not the exact version with all its technical requirements, still can you attempt to answer DHIS' questions?

Join I Must SetForth... in the following venues and dates.
Bonneuil sur Marne on 4th and 5th December and in Studio 104 in Paris on 20th December, and at La Villette. Paris on 26th January 2010

Oct 20, 2009

The Mal-education of an education system

Me and Myself
The Mal-education of an education system

MYsELF: Bros how far… I can see you are idle; it’s unlike you, wetin dey again?

ME: I'm worried, I am thinking of writing an article, you want to join in?

MYsELF: How can I join in when I don't know what psychological disorder you are currently suffering from, Article about what?

ME: about the state of the Nigerian education system. Do you know they are still on strike?

MYsELF: Oh, of course I know they are still on strike, even if they weren't, what difference does it make? lol

ME: I'm serious and seriously thinking of an article that will present an opportunity for us to solve our educational problems ones and for all

MYsELF: Hmm my visionary bros. lol

ME: Common, can’t you see that the world over is looking at a proactive marketplace educational system that is cost effective. Look at the influx of the western kids to Asia for education for example. There is a grass root problem my man....I believe the solution to this problem plaguing our educational system involves a structured plan that may span years!

MYsELF: The question involved here is not free education, is it? Or spending another billions in a pretentious revival of our numerous educational institutions, well if you want me to join you, then I will be writing from the angle of alternative education, and the respect for other works of life, which has been denied due to the fact that mainstream educational institution that you eulogise have degraded their humanity.

ME: Alternative education? What the hell is that? I want to look at it from the angle of.... what is the value of education?

MYsELF: ok I like this, I can see we are not on the same page, is this education valuable to even start with?

ME: of course it used to

MYsELF: Used to be, good. now the question is who devalued it? I mean what is the cause of the devaluation, because the popular believe is to go to school grab the degree and leave...

ME: that's why the students will never study, they are not interested in learning, but they will do anything for the "paper", so does the exam council actually conduct exams, OR they just do wholesale failure… Because after all there will be a lot of malpractice. perhaps that is where we need to first start from, it is not about the kid that failed WAEC, how about their teachers, how are we sure the result were marked following the right rules. I think we only need to reinstate our educational system, it can still work.

MYsELF: you really tend to be a believer, let me ask you, what manner of education is it that makes it possible for a group of secondary school pupils to consider it their right, indeed their duty, to set upon their Teacher while invigilating their examination, put her to flight, pursue her into the home of the school principal where she has sought sanctuary, drag her out, strip her naked, beat her near senseless, place a tyre around her neck and set her on fire still breathing?

ME: These are fundamental questions from which the nation attempts to shy. Those who ask them at all ask them timidly, almost apologetically, and these are my concerns.

MYsELF: In short, the questions when asked at all appear designed to appease the butchers in our midst, the mind-butchers and the body butchers. Inevitably, a wake-up call is eventually administered

ME: A wake up call, but at what cost? It is clearly invalid to suggest that these pupils were victims of social scarcity, which they were revolting against social inequality that needed to be expressed by infliction of the most degrading kind of violence on a teacher.

MYsELF: Of course, these were not malnourished schoolchildren - on the contrary, they were extremely well nourished, and the question is, what kind of nourishment had they been fed? We speak now not of the stomach, but of the mind.I think it is high-time Nigeria began alternative educative measures aside conventional high school, public university, polytechnic, federal college, private university, etc. There will be no further innovation or evolution, if everyone keeps going to school to study banking and finance, law, medicine, chemical engineer and all the conventional studies.

ME: What is then wrong in that?

MYsELF: don't get it wrong, I am not saying people should not study all they pleases, but it is a development that needed to go hand in hand, if not, it is not a logical one. I'm talking about a philosophy of education that says the mind must be open, not closed, a philosophy that subjects all claims of human discovery or certitudes to practical enquiry… bros, until we begin to have and give recognition to special schools, we will still have more and more failure in most aspect of our human lives.

ME: Ahn ahn, na swear?

MYsELF: no be swear o, it is clear that we've all lost hope in our so called didactic system, if not, how come a foreigner or the "school abroads" who are often ill-informed about the grass root survival tactics of Nigeria get a job before the "naija for lifes". See, I can go on and on with my preconceived mono-anger... but I am not bothered.

ME: Ahh there is every reason to be bothered bros.

MYsELF: There is nothing else to expect in a society that celebrates mediocrity and Vanity Fair, enforcing tradition on the youth, religiously blind to the world order and yet forcing the kids to go to school, TO LEARN WHAT?

ME: hmm, but then…

MYsELF: listen, when you make a way, you should know that you must make an alternative route, if not, that way will but be filled with pot holes in no time, I ask MysELF, why is it that those guys studying computer science rush to NIIT with the slightest break or strike out of school, why is it that all language students troop to Alliance francaise or Goethe institute or other private linguistic institutions? bros, I’m not bothered

ME: ahh I am bothered, the country belongs to us all, most especially we the youths, we are the most active part of the society, our future depends on all these bullshit, and we are crying for that six letter words C.H.A.N.G.E; when are we expecting it, because am afraid it might linger onto generations to come.

MYsELF: It is only common sense that will put food in our mouth in this country. How sad common sense is however not common, we have moved away from our traditional arts and environmental educational systems to run after English titles - we prefer clothes that do not fit us.

ME: I agree with you, but for such article, ranting will not help, we need to present a feasible solution, even if it won’t make any difference, but let’s say what we have to say, for record purpose.

MYsELF: Bros there are no easier way for Nigeria to realize the rate at which she is negotiating the price of her coffin.

ME: Yes i know bros, it only surprises me that our decision makers don't know and yet not bothered, we can go on and on, but you know…

MYsELF: wait ...why not let's look at it from this angle, what if the students were listened to, I mean, give better attention to their heart and feel their need, many people will rush to a carpentry school only if they are promised a masters that will equate them with that banker, then, people will begin to learn with passion and it will be more fun, and we can begin to say GOOD bye to malpractice, because anyone who knows that his mind and passion is not in carpentry will quickly find another way, that is what happens in circus school, so perhaps you first come up with the evaluation of the mainstream education and I can conclude it with the alternative perspective of mine


MYsELF: You can have a good laugh for all I care; you also know the fight to convince my parents from stepping out of UNILAG where I was studying Mathematics and Statistics…

ME: My brother, that was not an easy one, was it only your parents, what about friends and the entire society.

MYsELF: So now you understand why i am standing by my point, stop forcing the kids to go to school... Nigeria has more traditional educational institutions even more that Britain that thought her.

ME: But bros Nigeria is a monstrous nation, we are obliged to have lots of educational institution.

MYsELF: That’s not the point, why is Nigeria so blind to the existence of football academies or dance schools that gives equivalent to first degree till PhD and above, whatever happens to fashion and catering schools, do you know that there are technical schools where people go learn how to be plumbers, bricklayer, painter, mechanic etc?

ME: Now you begin to derail from the basis of this article.

MYsELF: No bros, what we need is other kinds of learning that equate the traditional ones, my hypothesis is simple, the moment those numerous institutions begin to transform into practical spaces for alternative learning, things will begin to change, development can't be one sided you know, erecting schools is not development, when the human development is neglected

ME: Hmm, you are right I think people are tired of traditional forms, for example, If there are schools of carpentry that offers high degrees, we all will begin to feel respect for every human for what they do…

MYsELF: and a carpenter will cease to be regarded as a second class citizen because he will no longer lack basic education to at least read and write to further professionalise his practice

ME: but come to think of it, a school is not a place that should be seen as separate from our practical lives. It has to be relevant...the activities must prepare the scholar for a future in whatever he or she chose to study…

MYsELF: Yes ke

ME: …it must also be thought provoking abi

MYsELF: You are very on point

ME: ...but really the definition of school these days is just something else...why would the child want to go to school when he goes home with nothing? When those who read so hard end up being victims of the numerous strikes or abuse no matter how clever... the values of the schools must be reinstated...first and foremost.

MYsELF: and its meaning too… I mean once upon a time school applicants were admitted on merit, with or without scholarships, there was no seeing the Admissions Officer outside office hours, no invocation of shared ancestry and some of these students had become victims of sexual abuse by some of their teachers or lecturers

ME: Reality can be stronger than fiction, that is one of the most monstrous crimes that can be committed against vulnerable youth of either sex.

MYsELF: And most especially by those into whose care they have been entrusted. The teacher-pupil relationship is one of the most solemn responsibilities on which society is founded.

ME: and I do not think that if the school system works well there will be 83 percent failure in the last WAEC... shit, that's like fiction!!!

MYsELF: and for it to work I strongly believe these numerous higher institutions must merge or fold up, like the financial Institutions…

ME: This article will be awesome, l must confess, we have diligently proffer everlasting solution, only if it will get to the right ears and used as a yardstick to further enhanced and uphold the failing standard of education back home,

MYsELF: So now that we have all our points intact, let’s get down to writing.

ME: Bros shit, I forgot I have a deadline to meet up with, you can continue with the article I will join you.

MYsELF: Oh boy, you no serious at all, was it my idea? Don’t worry I will save It for you in my diary.

ME: lol


The texts in this dialogue are partly inspired by real life characters, either research based, online chatting or a real life conversation.

ME and MYsELF, is a series of soliloquy brought to you be the collective consortium of "MY Schizophrenic Thoughts"
The MST collective refuse to be responsible for any damage or whatsoever injury caused by the content of this dialogue.


(c) Qudus ONIKEKU

Sep 28, 2009

We live in a world devoid of varieties in expressive forms. A world where there is so much to express, but the only way to communicate our reflection and express our views, feelings, ideas and emotion, has been limited to either oral or literary means. However, the human mind often takes us to a conceptual and complex realm, which we sometimes are unable to convey in words. So one thing I have realized as a dancer is that, the body has a whole lot of intelligence that is able to express multitude of meanings in just one move or pose. These make corporal expressions the most significant and widely understood language of all time.

I dance to fulfill a need and quench a thirst for life. To live is like fleeing from one question to the other, hell is coupled with good intention, suffering and joy, love and hatred, normal winds of life. I trust in my wings because my answers are floating in my wind.

I like what I dance because I dance what I like, I dance when I most feel it become indispensable for me to let out my personal frustration, I don't get personal on the public dance floor and neither am I a coward that will go seek a hand in marriage and run back for his parents to arrange the marriage rites.

I dance what I think, I think what I dance, my dance is exact and underlined with truth, backed with intelligence and wide open to criticism at both ends. It’s my truth; it’s not necessarily the truth. It’s my truth so I'll defend it. If you like, you hate me for it, if you like, you kill me for it, I'll however be remembered for the values I defended.
I know what I dance, I dance what I know, I know what affects our societies today is the absence of air where it smells real bad, I know that the oppressed like back doors and escape routes. I know that nothing moves the oppressor than the naked truth. My dance stage has with time mutated into a space where I carefully chip in my thoughts and emotions. It’s an open gossip. It’s a private part that challenges the public arena.
I see myself pack a handful of sand amidst this endless desert and poured it all into the air, as small as my palms may seem, the sand still arrives at struggling with the bad odor in the atmosphere, and it rained down in dust particles. It touched everyone close to the space I occupy. Some smiled over it and took it all for fun but others dwelled over the dust as though they have no hands to dust away the dust.

If dance gestures can be weighed on a scale, mine weigh a ton, its velocity is speed over time, to every dance I dance, I leave room for an equal and opposite reaction from my audience. If you have issues with me, tell me, don't tell my friend, If you feel threatened by my version of the truth, get over it and let life pass through you, today it’s my stage, yesterday it was someone else's, so tomorrow life goes on, because I know change will never seize from being the only permanent element in life.

If we visualize our 4000 years human history per minute spent. If we scale this minutes spent in 4000 years, per good or bad human deeds. We'll realize how little impact our best or worst efforts have on the human existence and civilization.
...To live a fulfilled life is to dance what you feel
...only if you truthfully feel what you dance!

Sep 15, 2009

By his dance steps, you shall know Qudus

Curled from The Guardian Life Magazine, Edition 202, 
Cover story for September 13 - 19, 2009 

Born and raised in Lagos, dancer Qudus Aderemilekun Onikeku now considers himself a complete Lagosian, even when his parents originally hail from Abeokuta, Ogun State. “Until the age of 17, I had never stepped my foot out of Lagos. Despite my Abeokuta and Ijebu heritage, I still consider myself a full-time Lagosian.” 

Qudus’ journey into the artistic world started at the age of five when he began to feel the hyperactive pulse and curiosity that sustains his adrenaline up till date. “I could vividly remember seeing a guy do a back flip during inter-house sport in my primary school. It’s not as if I’ve never seen better acrobats on TV, especially during Olympics games, but seeing someone close to me do it, gave me the audacity to attempt it again and again.” After series of falls, with injuries sustained, Qudus found himself jumping up and down in flips. “My flips sometimes raise the blood pressure of my mum and concerned elders around. This perhaps was the most honest period of performance for me, and in all I do, I still try to do everything to retrace that path again,” he enthuses. 

With his kind of energy, Qudus described his primary school days as brilliant, yet he considers his hooliganism more dominant in those days. “I got pardoned most times for my brilliance,” he recalls. “It was a moment I really had to confront my energy by easing it on something external; the issue of positive or negative was not in my mind.” The decision by the mum of the young positively-rascal boy to move him from public to private school at the age of eight, finally paved way for the making of the Qudus of today. “I was taken to Brown Memorial Nursery and Primary School, Lagos; that was where I began to lose my old bad habits. After the entrance test, I was taken to Class Five instead of Four; I was glad that I would be finishing before my mates.” 

Reality dawned on Qudus when he dropped from his usual first position in his former school to seventh. “This calmed me a whole lot; I realised that success is not served with crispy fried chicken and strawberry milk shake.” With the dream of becoming a Chemical Engineer at the back of his mind, Qudus approached his secondary education with more seriousness. “I once heard my siblings chat about how the oil workers live large. But that half-baked dream was flushed away when I discovered dance in my senior secondary. But instead of taking art courses, ego would not let me stay away from sciences. Yet, the only remarkable moment of my secondary school days was the fact that I was an active member of the Music and Theatre Art Club, where I was later the dance captain.” 

By the time Qudus made up his mind to study Theatre Arts in the university, he met brick walls. “It was absolutely impossible to switch from the sciences to the arts, even when you can practically prove yourself; that was how I lost interest in the Nigerian educational system.” Left with no other option, Qudus began to seek knowledge in all possible angles. At a point, he became a regular at the French Cultural Centre workshops. He had a stint with the Lagos State Council for Arts and Culture, before joining the renowned repertory dance troupe, Gongbeat Arts, where he remained until he got a job with an Ibadan-based dance company, The Alajotas, at the age of 17. “This was an essential period for both my artistic and intellectual upbringing. With Alajotas, the stark beauty of being away from one’s family confronted me; I began to gain the individuality I’ve continually been denied”. 

Meeting Heddy Maalem at the French Cultural Center in 2004, gave a lifeline to Qudus’ dance career. “Heddy happens to be one of my mentors presently. He approached me for a contract proposition and since 2004 till date, I’ve been a permanent dancer with his Dance Company based in Toulouse – France. During tours with Heddy, I would engage him in a whole range of discussions. He is a father figure to me and I trust him. He was the one that gave me the idea of studying in a Circus Arts School, when I explained to him how I had let down my merit list admission to study Mathematics and Statistics at the University of Lagos in 2003.” 

After few research on Circus Art Phenomenon that began to take over the performing art scene of France, Qudus finally decided to give the idea a trial in 2006. “I went for the selection at the National Higher School of Circus Arts, and fortunately, I was selected amongst the 19 successful ones out of the over 120 that took part in the process. On getting to Lagos, I shook my networks a bit and I got the full scholarship of the French Embassy for the two years period of my studies.” After three years of acquiring knowledge in the field, Qudus has resolved to return home to begin his one-man dance revolution. 

“While in Chalons en Champagne in my little apartment all alone for three years, I dreamt, I wrote and I talked to myself; sometimes, I recorded my words. The gateway to the dance revolution in Nigeria was clear in my head. The more I remained abroad, the more I get closer to the Nigerian reality.” In 2007, Qudus started with Do We Need Cola Cola to Dance? project, touring round Africa. By 2008, he planned making ewaBAMIJO the next step, but was really busy with traveling. “The same thing was about to happen in 2009, but I said to myself, ‘this must not go past 2009.’ 

During my previous returns to Nigeria from time to time, I would find myself in the midst of poets, musicians, comedians, writers, journalists, photographers, painters, sculptors, actors as well as dancers. But I realised that, there is no genuine link bringing all these art genres together in Nigeria. “In this present day, where boundaries are beginning to fall away between visual, performing, graphic and literary arts, Nigerian artistes are still feeling comfortable in their various corners. Most of my works have never been about just dance. No, you will always feel the space of visual art, music, new media etc in my works. So, this is what informed the notion of having an interdisciplinary arts festival. 

“The international arts scene is really getting really vicious, lacking fresh air and very boring. With ewaBAMIJO, we are doing everything possible to make the Nigerian arts scene begin to set a new pace, with fresh breeds, inspired by whatever happens on Lagos streets, and will in turn affect whatever happens in the arts world.” According to the dancer, the idea of ewaBAMIJO is to negate all conventional ideas and misconceptions of what the Euro-American power players think our art-face should look like. “We are not here to romanticise our beliefs; we are here to create something entirely different that fulfills our socio-economic and socio-cultural needs.

With this edition, we want to renovate the theories and praxis of contemporary art in our part of the world, to depart from the all pervasive discourse and fantasies of the art world.” Organized in partnership with the Creative Arts Department of the University of Lagos, ewaBAMIJO is scheduled to open October 27 through November 4. YK Projects, organizers of the event, has unveiled plans to make the event a bi-annual international festival. “We are not replicating or competing with other big arts festival already existing in Nigeria, but we seek to be a support and intellectual backing for the growing art network for Africans; ewaBAMIJO is more like a principle than any other thing. For that reason, we are going into a full partnership with the Creative Arts Department of the University of Lagos. All the events linked to ewaBAMIJO shall be taking place around both venues.” 

To Qudus, ewaBAMIJO will make all the difference. “We want to set the pace for ourselves to start. We don’t know how we are going to do it, but we believe in the power of dreams. We shall continue to dream until we see the change we hope for. ewaBAMIJO is not just about dance, it’s about the power of dream, its about hope, its about the dance industry, its about creating a sustainable dance market for the dancers yet to come, its about doing what we believe in and about inspiring confidence in those who could stand up against those bad habits that have hindered our collective development as a people.”

Sep 13, 2009

Time to cure us of the cure itself.

Puclished on www.saharareporters.com on 13th September, 2009.
As Time to cure us of the cure itself.

I have stopped listening to motivational speakers, or seeing an analyst, likewise a therapist, and all other so called experts who claimed to understand my life's trouble better than i do, since the last time "My Analyst" told me that I have ego problem, he said I need some attention, someone to probably save me from myself, the way he described it, he said i'm too much into my head, that i'm not easily led from my crazy ideas, and my tempers are just bizarre.

  • I looked at him furiously, I tranquilly picked up the wooden chair I was sitting on and carefully stroke it against his shinning forehead, his glasses that were thick enough to read my mind were broken into particles and all over the floor was filled with blood...

That was exactly what I got in mind for him, but I knew I wouldn't dare that, I just asked him “what's so strange if you found out that you were already a brainiac at the age of four ?” I had a brain and that was insane? I had a dream and that was atypical?

My Analyst thought he could put me in a box, and lock me up to himself, so he can say “...alright this is who you are” but I get him so pissed, 'cos my complexity is not just making his job easy. I asked again “what will you do if you have a temperament that will not just let you be, I mean one that could just turn your five year old dreams of BLUE to RED in just one hour? A temperament that doesn't conform to any written rule, culture, nation, notion, religion, philosophy, profession etc. One that makes an African feel American at times when in Europe, or feels European when in America and something else when in Africa, one that makes a dancer wear the cap of a circus artiste, take up the job of a writer and critiquing, in the next moment making documentary films and writing poetry and making street art, and taking up the expertees of a sociologist and preaching the gospel of Islam, simultaneously quoting Fela Kuti and the bible, spends all day listening to Bob Marley and Obesere while socializing on facebook and soliloquise on the performance stage. Yet trying so hard to remain simple, 'cos you are in the process of establishing your truth, accuracy and validation of something that circulates around your existence, which you can't yet verify if it is right or wrong".

My analyst will not give up, 'cos he need to authenticate his hard earned degrees, my analyst thought he was accessing a young man who is pretending to know what he wants. NO, that's where he got it all wrong, because one thing I know is that I am a successful young man that doesn't know precisely what he wants but doing all he could to reject completely those things he doesn't want.

These days i have constantly noticed that everybody want to prove to every other person that they are right and that the other is wrong, they want the other to know that they are able to demonstrate their own truth of existence (a.k.a. POV), so they begin to analyze, they begin to argue, they argue about everything and most especially about why they think others are wrong and trying to analyze who the other is. Meanwhile no one can actually tell you who you are, but who they think you are or want you to be. 

  •  I stop here to take a deep breath before i drill further into this philosophical pit, as i am aware that my blogs are silently mutating into public fora and alternative spaces for freedom and reflection, so if you are thinking right now that i can "HELP" you, then stick to me until you rot away as i continue my journey, i will not like to sway my readers without them being aware of this manipulation, and ultimately win them over, against their own will power. This is the weapon of the Analyst, just like the "Fascist". 

The Fascist i refer to here is not the right-wing nationalist regime of Mussolini in Italy, the Fascism that tends to include a belief in the supremacy of one nationals or ethnic group, a contempt for democracy, an insistence on obedience to a powerful leader with a strong demagogic approach. Well there might be a link, but this fascist is a phenomenon that took place elsewhere, something that could only happen to others, but not to us, its their problem. 

So this is why my opinion refuse nationality or identity. Is fascism really a problem for others to deal with? We often want to be the one who seek security and a peaceful life, security even in where we allow our minds thought to visit, making us seem like the man who chop off his limbs in order to get an artificial ones, for he desperately need a life free of pain and troubles, the metal dream of a tranquil and conflict free existence, wanting to be so real that we set fire on reality itself. What about the fascist that is based on the desire to be led, to give a complete authority of our lives to someone else to legislate, the one that awards us every reason not to voice out our pains, even when we are pushed to the wall.

How then do artistes, activists, critics and other revolutionary militants deal carefully with this same fascisizing element we all carry along with us? how do we rid our speech and our acts, our hearts and our pleasure, of fascism? religious moralists sought to rid us of the fascism hidden somewhere in our soul, while these militants pursue the slightest trace of the fascism in the body, that leads them to state why the other is evil (a fascist, a capitalist, a communist, a corrupt leader. etc.) or what moral values should be, and hence, does that award them a righteous life? does that make them a judge? 

However the modest fellow loves hiding places, secret path and back doors, everything that seems far away from him entices him as his world, his security, his refreshment; he understands how to keep silent and wait, how to complain and dream, how to be self deprecating and humble, how to survive by sanctifying every lie he has been fed with. This is the realm of the silent majority who has become the apparatus at which the powerful ones behind the closed doors use to express the fascist in them.

The powerful - at which the silent majority awards the legislation of their lives to - has endless time, whether we whine, howl, beg, weep, cajole, pray or curse, he listens. He is just a big ear minus a sympathetic nervous system and nothing touches him but the TRUTH. When we deceive ourselves on the notion of making the world a better place, we are prompted by an instinct of self affirmation and self preservation that cares little about affirming or preserving life. What constitutes our sickness today? is it not the absence of fresh air where it smells bad? When we do the diagnosis, won't we see the need to cure ourselves of the cure itself?

So if your Analyst ever tell you that you got an ego problem, sit back, and be tranquil, fixed your gaze on him watch his lips dangle with passion, like a performer of rap (rapid applied poetry) music and you will see smiles forcing their way out of your upper lips, meanwhile, be sure to pay little or no attention to his rapping, instead go into your world, feel so high, and even touch the sky.

(c) September 2009 

Aug 28, 2009

Random thoughts from my American tour.

Memories of my American tour left me with series of questions that are simultaneously so broad and complicated, It is not that i have not been aware of the fact that, the core values of the west was built on how much they survived in trampling on the other. That the humanness of the west flourish on the basis of how much they can methodically examine in detail, the constitution of the other, explaining and interpreting the imperfection of the other without any sense of self and implication. That our history is written and shaped to favour the orientation at which the future is dreamt of by the powerful west. I mean an aspired future where the past can be totally erased and pretend some things never happened.

While in Latin America i realised that some people live today in a 'deracinated' world where they do everything they could to retain their roots, enforce 'black' consciousness on their citizens, even when majority of them are white, they call such consciousness 'Afro Brazilian', 'Afro Cuban', 'Afro Colombian' etc. And this consciouness is today becoming the landmark at which their nation flourish, brewing great sense of architectural aesthetics rooted in their beliefs, a kind of economic well being and market embedded on their cultural values, which makes every bank owning a cultural department, every corner you go there is a cultural center or a museum. 

There are museums almost everywhere, to contantly remind them of who they are and how written history is filled with lies, almost every month has its own special important national celebration of one ORISHA (deity) to the other, which led to the millions of tourist popping in yearly, and adding to their economy and national GDP, merely by celebrating their own beliefs which the world largely refer to as CARNIVALS today, this awareness also led to the reason why many great soccer players are hailing from this region, Capoeira has become a world phenomenon, Salsa, Samba, Tango and just name them, they are all embedded on their sincere cultural values... AND THIS PEOPLE ARE THE DECEDENTS OF SLAVES, CAPTURED AND DERACINATED BY THE POWERFUL WEST....

AFRICA - Synergy of LIES.
Talking of the other side of the atlantic, there lived a bunch of people who i call the 'Loyal followers', they think they know so much about who they are, they were never deracinated, they never lost their roots, so they feel very relaxed, they accept all the lies they were being told by their loyal masters. They told them, "You will be called Africans," they replied "yes sir", they told them, "Your beliefs are so naive, how can you stoop so low to believe woods and all these ephemeral antiquities, your religion will be christianity to save you from barbarity," they replied "Ok sir", so they said "bring all those woods and tin and ceramics you believe in, we shall go dump them in our civilised dust bins called museums in paris, london, switzerland, italy, spain, new york, chicago, and other white cities, so we can show our kids how backward you guys are," they replied "that is so kind of you", they told them, you are not civilised so let us show you the way, they replied "we are very grateful".

So they begin to draw imaginary lines in the dirts for them, and told them "we shall call that borders", handed to them all a small booklet they call international passport, "it is not really your I.D but it shall stand as what we recognise you with when you cross your boundary, and when you want to cross to see your brothers across the line you shall go apply for a visa and pay so much money, don't ask what for..." but they didn't tell them it will be more complicated than that - "after all they will always be grateful to us, whatever we do". And surely they are grateful, they host township fiesta when they get a VISA (Validating Instrument Strictly for Africans) to finally go see where all their riches, memory and the civilised dust bins where their devalued values are dumped...

They continue to feed them with serious and expensive lies, and when a lie is that expensive, you can never imagine any fool investing so much in a mere lie. but this lies are so much important in order to cover some major suicidal truths, no one will let a toothpick go close the his eyes. However if lies suppress truth for twenty years, truth is a stubborn smoke, it shall surely surface one day. Fifty to sixty years ago, some stubborn black thinkers rose up to their masters and, they jab them a little, backed it with a smile and collect some of their things from them, the masters didn't fight much because they are wise, he feel so much confidence that their invested lies will never go off record and history, so they left them with books and documentary films rooted in lies, and they also left them with propositions of who they think will rule them better, now this Africans think they got 'their' continent, they think they are in control, they celebrate independence as if their collective life is any better, and now they think their ex-masters has suddenly turned so nice over night, they made them best friends and mentors, they run to them for counseling, they look up to them as role models, they admire them so much that they want to look just like them.

Now let's talk about the global warriors, slave masters or colonial masters, depending on what context we are looking at it from, maybe we should generally refer to them as "Magicians of the earth" capable of making lies look so real, they are aware of their body odor that requires they take their bath every now and then, they are quite aware that if these 'deracinated' lots and their 'loyal followers' that they steal so much from, if they ever get to 'meet' on an unaffected ground or in the absence of the 'Magicians of the earth', it will be disastrous, they don't mind a Fela kuti making noise with his very entertaining 'Afro'beat, they don't mind Sankara throwing his clenched fist in the air in cheap anger, they don't mind steve biko's rage leading him to 'write what he like' or any other for that matter, cos their lies are like heavens for them. 

Africa and Latin America. Two sects located on the southern hemisphere, suddenly became not only very far from each other, but highly expensive to connect in today's world, the closest people in all ramification; Culturally, economically, historically and contemporary belief system. What other truth can clean up the lie of telling a man that his 'god' is false, because its not a white 'God'? They drew the world map, whether it is accurate or another lie, how can we tell? but take a close look at the world map, and tell me who is in the center of it? Ok take a really close look at the world map, there, yes right there, the atlantic or what do they call it, that's a huge gap between America and Europe, which my intuition tells me, is the exact point where a huge ocean separates us, if you check out the globe, you will notice that the distance between Australia and America is not much at all if you go "anti clockwise", so how come it takes a whole day to fly to australia? Latin America and Africa are both on the southern hemisphere, how come there is no direct flight linking both? is it that Africa and its diaspora are not in good terms? how come everything must pass through Europe? Well, i'm still soliloquising, but my head is filled with too much lies that i don't know what to believe in no more.

Aug 5, 2009

What's in a NAME?

This piece is Inspired by the book i'm reading presently

When we cry, we don't get blind by our tears, our tears may hurt but they also purifies our vision. I am an artiste, and i am a mortal, i am not perfect and i have weaknesses, i'm aware that i could to be the nicest person on earth and i can be the most cruel as well, so everyday of my life, every night i ask myself "what have you made of today?" my retrospect never leave me in regret, i believe strongly in destiny and there is nothing like coincidence, everything happens for a purpose that i don't bother to question.

In examining myself, since the time i was able to do so, i have come to terms with myself, i am that i am, i am Qudus, Qudus is my name, and does this mean more than what it sounds like? i don't know, does it have further significance to who i wanna be? i don't know but it has become a belonging that i have an ordeal to shield. My name is a huge responsibility and i like people to attribute respect to it, so this is why i respect myself.

Qudus is choleric and Taurus and Nigerian, a muslim, the last son of Onikeku and an Artiste and heterosexual and all the things that forms my identity, singularity and the definition of my name. Qudus is quick, active, practical, strong willed, and very independent. Qudus is decisive and very opinionated, He finds it easy to make decisions for himself and for others. Qudus is an extrovert, but not nearly intense, Qudus thrives on activity, He does not need to be stimulated by His environment, but rather stimulates His environment with His endless ideas, plans, goals and ambition, Qudus does not engage in aimless activities for He has a practical, keen mind, capable of making sounds, instant decisions or planning worthwhile projects. Qudus does not vacillate under the pressure of what others think, but takes a definite stand on issues and can often be found crusading against some social injustice or subversive situation. Qudus is not frightened by adversities; in fact, they tend to encourage Him. His dogged determination usually allows him to succeed where others have failed.

Qudus' emotional nature is the least developed part of Him, Qudus does not sympathise easily with others, nor does he naturally show or express compassion. He is often embarrassed or disgusted by the tears of others and is usually insensitive to their needs.
Qudus invariably seeks utilitarian and productive values in life. Not given to analysis, but rather to quick, almost intuitive appraisal. Never take Qudus on in a debate unless you are assured of your facts, for He will make mincemeat of you, combining verbal aggressiveness and attendance to detail. Qudus is extremely competitive and forceful in all that he does, he is a dogged researcher and is usually successful, tends to look at the goal for which he is working without being subdued by potential pitfalls and obstacle in His path.

Equally as great as His strengths are his weaknesses. Qudus is apt to be autocratic, a dictator type who inspires admiration and hate simultaneously. He is usually a quick-witted talker whose sarcasm can devastate others. Qudus is a natural born crusader whose work habit are irregular and long. Qudus harbors considerable hostility and resentment though he learns to control His anger.


Ma Salam.

Aug 3, 2009

Similar questions for contemporary African arts (DANCE, Literature, Photography etc.(DANCE, Literature, Photography etc.)

Article by Tolu Ogunlesi.
Curled from PublishingPersepectives.com under the title:
Who Controls African Literature?

The literary world is once again shining a spotlight on Africa. There are new prizes: the South Africa-based PEN Studzinski Literary Award for short stories, and the Penguin Prize for African Writing, a pan-African prize covering both fiction and non-fiction genres. There’s a new book series, the “Penguin African Writers Series,” which will include not only new books from emerging writers, but also classics taken over from the defunct Heinemann African Writers Series. And next year South Africa will be featured as the “Market Focus country” at the 2010 London Book Fair and African writing will be showcased at the Gothenburg Book Fair.

The African ‘Greats’–Ngugi, Soyinka, Gordimer, Okot p’Bitek– have given way to a new roster of names — Chimamanda Adichie, Chris Abani, Helon Habila, Binyavanga Wainaina, Sefi Atta, Monica Arac de Nyeko, Chika Unigwe, Brian Chikwava — who have become the new faces of contemporary African writing.

This explosion of literary talent and publishing opportunities might be likened to a similar one that accompanied the heady post-independence days of the 1960s. But in spite of all the inspiring and exciting happenings of recent years, there still remain nagging questions regarding who exactly are the proper ‘gatekeepers’ of African literary tradition and production.

In a 2008 interview published recently in Transition magazine (Issue 100), Chinua Achebe, speaking about the early covers of his classic, Things Fall Apart said: “…I have a general sense that we, African writers, have been presented as oddities.” He referred to the cover of the original 1958 Heinemann edition as a “questionable depiction of strangeness.”

In a January 16, 1959 pre-publication announcement of TFA in the New York Times Book Review, he is referred to as “Miss Achebe”, and in the blurb that accompanies the first African Writers Series edition, published in the early ’60s, his Igbo ethnic group is referred to as the “Obi tribe”. Regarding that early error, Achebe points out that “that error persisted. You sometimes even see it running through to this day.”

Such “questionable depictions of strangeness” are to be expected in a world where the production (editorial and publishing aspects at least) of ‘canonized’ African Literature is largely in the hands of ‘outsiders.’ Speaking during the Publishers’ Panel at the 2009 Cadbury Conference at the Center of West African Studies at the University of Birmingham, British-Ghanaian Publisher (and former Commissioning Editor of the Heinemann African Writers’ Series) Becky Ayebia-Clarke (who is now running her own press, Ayebia Publishing) described how her displeasure with the cover of Tsitsi Dangaremba’s debut novel, Nervous Conditions (The Women’s Press, England, 1988) - another questionable depiction of strangeness - led her to produce a radically different cover for the Ayebia edition (2004). She felt that the image portrayed on the original cover did not do justice to the strong, sassy characterization of the novel’s heroine.

But such “strangenesses” are to be expected when a significant part of what is known globally as “African Literature” lies outside the hands of its creators and in the tight grip of “institutions” that seem to possess fixed ideas about what African literature should or should not be, and what “authentic” African “characters” can or cannot do.

In Birmingham, Ms. Ayebia-Clarke also spoke of the inspiration behind her publishing an anthology of love stories written by African women (African Love Stories, Ayebia, 2006) — her dismay at realizing that there was a scarcity of daring love stories featuring African characters. Apparently, at least in the eyes of most publishers, it is more authentic for Africans to make war than to make love. The synopsis for the book as featured on Ayebia Publishing’s website describes it as “a radical departure from conventional anthologies and the theme of love is aimed at debunking preconceived notions about African women as impoverished victims, whilst showing their strength, complexity and diversity.” One of those stories (Ugandan Monica Arac de Nyeko’s Under the Jambula Tree), which dealt with the subversive (at least in an African context) theme of lesbian love, won the 2007 Caine Prize for African Writing.

At the recent “What’s Culture Got to Do With It” Conference in June organized by the Nordic Africa Institute in Uppsala, Sweden, Professor Raisa Simola, presenting a paper that touched on Uzodinma Iweala’s 2006 novel Beasts of No Nation, informed the audience that while BONN has been translated into Finnish, its revered ‘ancestor’, Things Fall Apart, has yet to be translated. The interesting question therefore is - who makes these translation decisions, and on what basis?

Also at the Uppsala conference, Nigerian Professor J.O.J Nwachukwu Agbada complained of the gross disservice done to scholars and academics based in Africa as a result of the fact that the bulk of cultural production (in this case, literary publishing) is managed from the West, thus ensuring that many books by African writers and journals on African Literature/Culture are unavailable to Africans living on the continent. These books win awards and establish their positions in the African literary canon in the West, but most Africans remain unaware of them.

But all of this is not to take away from the obvious fact that these are interesting and even exciting times for African writing. African literature (an endlessly debatable term in itself) is in the middle of the kind of renaissance that characterised Indian writing in the 1990s. We are witnessing the strong rise of a literary movement, defined not so much by grand nationalistic or ideological themes (as was largely the case in the 60s and 70s) as by a fervent and uncomplicated desire for Africans to tell their own stories, whatever those stories may be, however marginal they may appear to a world that wants to talk only about African poverty, famine, wars and child soldiers.

One of the most vocal champions of this “telling” is Chimamanda Adichie, and she appears to be succeeding. A Nigerian friend of mine living in Australia recently told me that an Irish friend also living in Australia told him, “Everything I know about Nigeria I learned from reading two books — Purple Hibiscus and Half of a Yellow Sun.”

The last few years have seen the emergence of innovative independent literary collectives and publishing houses based on the African continent - Cassava Republic and Kachifo in Nigeria, Storymoja and Kwani in Kenya, Chimurenga and Wordsetc in South Africa — all of whom are committed to taking Africa’s literary talent to the world, using every available means, and certainly not shying away from the exploiting the possibilities of the internet revolution.

And by the end of 2010, novels by the following “new” African writers will have been published by some of the biggest names in contemporary publishing: Petina Gappah, Brian Chikwava, Peter Akinti, Chika Unigwe, Adaobi Nwaubani, Teju Cole, Kachi Ozumba and Lola Shoneyin. Six of those will be debut novels.

Most interesting however, and worthy of reflection, is this surprising fact: all but one of the eight names mentioned above live outside the African continent.

This is often interpreted to mean that there are two kinds of African Writers - ‘home-based’ and ‘diaspora’ writers, and that the Global Publishing Factory prefers to ‘employ’ African writers based abroad to tell the stories of Africa. That argument of course is a debatable one; the fact that writers abroad get more publishing opportunities than home-based ones might simply be attributable to geographical proximity to the ‘centers’ of publishing, and not to any prefabricated preferences on the part of the publishers.

Debates like this will continue to dominate discussions about contemporary African writing. Geographical location and exile, language, authenticity, even the supposedly simple matter of “who is an African writer?” will be difficult issues to ignore.

Chinua Achebe perhaps summed it up best when referring to the new Penguin African Writers’ Series, of which he has been named as Editorial Advisor. He remarked: “The last five hundred years of European contact with Africa produced a body of literature that presented Africa in a very bad light and now the time has come for Africans to tell their own stories.

Nigerian writer Tolu Ogunlesi was short listed for the 2009 PEN/Studzinski Literary Prize, and recently won the arts and culture prize in the 2009 CNN Multichoice African Journalist Awards. When he is not traveling he divides his time between Abeokuta and Lagos in South-western Nigeria.

Jul 17, 2009

What PHCN can do - Generator can't do it better. #LIGHTUPNIGERIA

CREATING A MIDDLE CLASS OR A RIP-OFF? Growing up in Nigerian, the notion of a middle class was almost non-existing, we were meant to believe that you are either amongst the upper class or the lower class, if your father was heading a petroleum company, or a top politician/military personnel, if he is a top banker or a CEO of a chain of successful business, then you get the reward of being in an upper class family, but anything dissimilar to any of the above métiers in a Nigerian society, you get the malediction of being in a low class family. Those days there were no middle class but livelihood and basic services available for the lower class were very reasonable for their standard of living, The elements summed up then, to determine if you belong to the lower class or the higher class was the high standard of living, if weighed against the minimum wage earned by the supposed working class and the liquid cash in circulation. Basic conveniences of life then like a cable television, a mobile phone, a cozy car or a cozy apartment with a regular internet connection, all were not only high-priced but also impossible for the common man to have easy access to.

For many Nigerians living outside Nigeria in present tense and has not visited Nigeria lately, there is a certain imagined image of our people back home, if i choose not to seek hiding place behind my words, this image is so much close to hardship, beggary, frustration, misery, wretchedness and dissatisfaction, this image is carefully formed out of the garbage life many Nigerians live in the diaspora, which is bear in comparison with the agitations and solicitations of our friends and fans for this same fantasy land at which a good number of Nigerians populate. I'm not trying to analyze or paint things with extremity, but simply make use of a common sense, as we know clearly that the kind of life an average Nigerian lives before his expedition to his supposed promise land, can never be so much mismatched with his merited livelihood abroad, if we add up one to be equal to one, and we are as well aware of how
many Nigerians who's got TRAVEL OUT OF THIS COUNTRY! as the numero uno of their wish list, then those in the diaspora get tempted to sum all these up to formulate an image of the life people still live in Nigeria, of course without accuracy.

In the past few years, i no longer consider myself as a Nigerian living in Nigeria, nor living in the diaspora, and at the same time, i am a Nigerian living in both Nigeria and in the diaspora. During my subsequent visit and mind travel to Nigeria, i have constantly engage my friends in discussions and carefully paint an image of an existing middle class at which many living abroad cannot imagine, a middle class drifting on a roller skate much more expensive than most living on a similar middle class in the diaspora. How then do we determine who drifts on this roller skate, without going too deep into a survey, lets just state some basic signs of who belong to an existing middle class in a city like Lagos. As a bachelor or a spinster, if you load your phone (whatever phone) with at least 500 naira recharge card a day, but not just that, if you have a "normal car" constantly wound up and you are able to fuel it before it get close to the E sign, your regular monthly subscription includes a cable tv, an internet connection (minimum of 9pm to 9am) and able to stock food stuffs in your cupboard, no matter where you live - As a family man, you have the above responsibilities plus your kids attending a relatively average private school where they could afford to teach them computer studies, French language and some extra curricular activities like drama, dance and music. Then you belong to a mid
dle class and above.

However, in the midst of all these class formation, in the midst of everything that separate the men from the boys. Our queue and bid for the best electrical power generators, hunt for diesel and fuel every night and the hope for an regular power supply has brought us all together as helpless masses. It no longer matters weather you are rich or poor, we've all began to get used to our sufferings in disguise, we struggle to pay for overpriced cable TV, internet and we complain of how expensive they are, but we realise that further shit happens when we are unable to watch our cable TV or charge our laptop, because PHCN (power holding company of NIGERIA) holds electricity to show how powerful they are. Now all Nigerians opt for a way out. Yes a powerful electrical power generator, what PHCN can do, a generator can do better. This philosophy has been the mother of our continuous torture in Nigeria, we forget that using generator to charge laptops is as good as digging a grave for the life span of our highly over priced laptops. Each time i take my Macbook Pro to Nigeria, i pay the price of loosing my charger pack which costs 90€ at each return to europe where i'm sure of getting something original again, then i realise that darkness in Nigeria is not the absence of light, but the presence of corruption.

Its GOLD and DIAMOND to be a Nigerian nowadays. This is what informed a group of very well meaning and determined young Nigerians to stand up to change bad habits. They
call the insurgence "Light Up Nigeria" with a slogan ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. I discovered them on facebook and their mini manifesto caught my attention "Please support the cause and join the revolution. Together we can make a difference. Perhaps, the most common question heard is “Why an online revolution?” An online revolution such as this is the safest, cheapest and most collaborative form of protest we can all engage in. While our voice is online, we are creating greater awareness to the issue at hand and given the small world phenomenon, we know our cries and protests will get to the right people. We need the likes of TV stations such as CNN, BBC, AIT and radio stations to know and broadcast details about this revolution. Once we are successful at this, we can commence with a street movement as need be. At this point, it is worth nothing that Nigeria can’t be lit up in a day but with great minds thinking and working together with the support of the higher authorities and available funding, we will see the outcome of our movement. So join the revolution and tell your friends, family, enemies and random people on the street to LIGHT UP NIGERIA. Enough is Enough!! Join the movement on twitter: http://search.twitter.com/search?q=lightupnigeria. Join the facebook group: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=104082514556"

How beautiful. I found it really encouraging, Here is my testimony. I immediately changed my profile picture and updated my status quote on facebook, i joined the group, and i wrote a personal propaganda and sent to those who matters on facebook. "Nigerians both rich and poor, spends billions of dollars annually to provide themselves electricity, in a nation where there is suppose to be a government. Nigerians has been continuously conquered by Nigeria. Now many Nigerians are saying 'Enough is Enough !', Anarchism is the word. You don't have to be Nigerian to join the #Lightupnigeria cause currently on facebook and twitter.

NIGERIANS FEEL DAILY. TRY TO HAVE A SLEEP IN A DELIBERATE DARK ROOM, TURN UP THE HEATER TO 30°C. TURN ON A METAL/ELECTRONIC MUSIC AND DIFFUSE CARBON MONOXIDE, TO SIGNIFY THE AIR AND SOUND POLLUTION AROUND YOU. DUE TO THE AMOUNT OF PEOPLE WITH POWER GENERATING DEVICES. SO THIS TELLS US THAT NIGERIA PRODUCES MORE DAMAGE TO THE EARTH THAN DEVELOPED COUNTRIES. The volume of noise and the amount of FUMES created by these exhaust and disposed into the the atmostphere everynight in Nigeria, is enough for a climate change, because your neighbor has one, you've got one if not two, all the factories have got theirs, the churches and mosques have at least one, all shops and business outlets. Nigeria has become an insane society. How far can we go before we know

One of the notable responses that followed my one man propaganda was a comeback from the renowned Aljazeera broadcaster. Riz Khan ..."Hi Qudus -Thanks for the posts on Nigeria. I recognise it's a really important topic - since it's such an important nation (my Nigerian friends always remind me when I've not done a show on it for some time!). I will definitely look into when we can revisit some of the issues you've raised. It's a shame that things are so unbalanced there. Please keep putting forward ideas, and we'll try to get to them. Best wishes.

Voilà. You don't have to be old to be wise, and a bird don't have to die before it flies. I have heard people say a drop of water makes a mighty ocean, but... Only if there is consistency. I also heard that Galaxy TV in Nigeria and BBC are following this. Friends all, what PHCN can do, generator can't do it better. How can we see into vision 2020 when we are in total darkness? Darkness in Nigeria is not the absence of light, but the presence of corruption. If this burning train ever takes to the road, its a signal for a greater change to come in our nation. WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO SUPPORT THIS CAUSE ?

Jul 11, 2009

Memories worth sharing.

There are some memories that hurts, it could be positive or negative, Yes positive memories do hurt most, some people we met for a very little period and other as long as a lifetime, yet its beautiful to share some wonderful memories of them with them. I Dedicated my facebook status to the memory of all the wonderful people i have met on this earth, and asked them all to post a comment with a memory worth sharing. "If you are reading this, even if we don't speak often, lets bring good times back to life, It can be anything you want... YOU SHOULD ALSO TRY IT AND YOU WILL BE AMAZED AT WHAT YOU WILL GET. It was really amazing to hear the comments... when i woke up to see them, i got teary eyes, as i read through i got a flash of memories worth bringing back to life with everyone of them. I've been to 32 countries around the world, even though i can't remember them all but some memories will never leave me...

Tracy Robinson:
We have never met, but i feel like i have known you for lifetime before, my joy for Q'd is the way you romance complete strangers into friends and unite us all in harmony.
Peace back at ya my brother.

@ Tracy, its really funny cos we've never met but one thing i have realised is that, the new media has brougth us the ultimate news of 'the death of distance' i no longer differentiate between my Cyber friends and my real time friends, one thing they all have in common is that they rarely see me, and i usually talk to them all online or at most on phone. I've always been tripped at your love for my country and your activism. Thanks for always sharing your opinion on a wide range of subject that you don't even know i am aware of.

Awoniyi Temitope:
do u realise there is no way u will tell ur success"story" that my name will not be mentioned....... Remember this... When i noticed ur talent then among MUTAC uncle Aliu called me to tell me that we should have a dance captain..."non-unanimously" if i will say, i accepted u should be but ilk such as Ogbolu. Yinka, Femi and their cohorts never wanted this recognition of yours cos they negatively envied d stuff u were made of, so they where not happy with my judgement till today they still call me Qudus' padi ...thank God am proud to "wear" that tag 2day..lolssssss

@Awoniyi. Mr talent hunt, no one asked you for endorsement, all we asked for is a memory worth sharing olodo...lol, anyway you know your own case is a different one, we can count millions of memories to share since 1996, but bro let me tell you one thing that will never go away from my subconscious, in 2001, i was to resit for my SSCE exams, and the exam dates clashed with my residency in far away badagry for the black heritage festival with the National troupe, i called upon you and with all the risk involved, my face in the id card, while we don't really look alike lol, yet you did it and not just did it, but passed the exams, when i think about that level of affection, it makes me forgive some crazy things you do from time to time... lol, love you bro.

Isabelle Holmes:
Dancing with you, Kat, Kingsley and Vincent at Williams and freaking out when we lifted each other cuz I just couldn't get the timing right. Loving every moment with you and hoping for many more.

@Isabelle. There is something really special about you, and i hope to realise what it is one day, Williamstown has every attributes of a really boring place, but the way you transformed it to a life time memory seems extraordinary, later on we extended it to jacob's pillow, where i learnt more about you, your love, your compositor dad and photographer mum, what a beauty. I remember the day we were to say goodbye, with you kingsley and myself driving around, looking for a place to sit and eat. and i knew it was just a way to stretch the goodbye hug..; lol, but i'm glad we shall be seeing in Miane soon.

Yordanka Evgenieva:
We met on a small backstreet in Downtown Cairo about a year ago. You were performing "Do we need Cola Cola to dance?" and I was stunned by what I saw. I remember we chatted a bit after the performance, sitting on the sidewalk, about the meaning of dance, the craziness of Cairo and something else maybe. Words I often forget, but beautiful, meaningful movements like the ones I saw that afternoon, always stay in my memory.

@Yordanka, you are one of those few people in my life experience, that i met for less than 2hrs and still remembers the time we shared vividly, yes it was in Cairo in June 2007, not last year, after my street performance in from of the townhouse gallery, you and your friend whose name i can't remember had a nice discussion and that was a nice moment... and one more thing, each time i watch the film that followed that tour, i see your face again... lol.

Dayo Kammy Onikeku:
We met through our lovely mama and papa

@Kammy. The big BROTHER, what other memory do i need to share with a die hard brother that has been there since i was born, lol, wow, if i begin to tell you all the memories i have in head right now, fb will need to give me extra sheet...

Due to my early vagabond nature, that made me a nomad from the age of 17, most of the best moment i can share with you happens during our childhood, wow this is very hard, but i'm on it, lol. I remember how much we used to fight, over everything, how i used to be this over stubborn tiny little boy, always want to have the last word, expecially when you get really raged at the fact that you are my elder, so i must respect that, and we will fight as if that will determine who is older, even though, most times i get your punches real hard but i think i learnt how not to cry with you, yes hard guy. When we happen to be on the road to mum's shop, i can remember clearly, you will tell me "don't walk with me, don't let people think you are my brother..." lol, then you will cross to the other side of the road, and say "if you follow me i will kill you..." lol, yet i will follow u, and u'll cross again until i finally get fed up, then i will say "who is even following you, you too don't follow me".

When i remember those moments, i will laugh and laugh alone, cos i know they mean nothing now, cos even with all those dramas, i still remember leaving my school very early to come to your school to see all the people you talk about at home, i remember going all the way to see you play soccer, i used to be filled with pride and joy seeing you on the field of play, i just don't know whatever happened to your soccer legs now lol, cos you'd have been really great. Bro i love you and really proud to have a brother like you and i believe in you.

Lailah Masiga:
Danse l'Afrique Danse !- Paris...never knew you before that..just an intro next to the lifts at the hotel and hence a friendship and groupieness. Then... Your shocked face walking outta JKIA (Jomo Kenyatta Int. Airport)... I bet you didnt think I'd come lol... Oh the lovely groupie moments that followed... and am still your friend and you mine. Above all, your down to earth manner...I love love love. So when can new 'good times' be created oga?

@Lailah, Karibu yunbani, my lovely sister, my sister full of pride and respect for herself, so how can anybody meet you and not identify that, ok this is funny, i think this is what i identified in you and Isabelle, ladies that make you want to respect every other ladies, the real memory of mine is when we met again in Nairobi, wow that was so much great time, Nairobi seem like Lagos with u around all the time. Thanks for being a friend forever.

Juliet Seun Ajayi:
I took intr. In you cos you have something that i so desire to use but i have not been bold enough to step out and now i feel i'm way above that age even though i'm 27 yrs now but somethng on the inside keeps tellng me that i can still do it even if its for a while, bro love you, keep the good work up :-)

@Juliet, Thank you very much for that revelation, i've never met you, and we've never spoke, but hey you belong to my human family and may the Almighty continue to give us all the strenght to inspire confidence in others, both those we know and those we do not know. plenty Regards.

Kafayat Quadri:
Yes, We met at PoetryPotter and I saw your performance with the Crown Troupe that u did alone and then watched the one u did with a lady on stage with Asa; it was beautiful.

@Kafayat, I remember we had a quick chat at PoetryPotter, even though there were many people on me after my performance, i was really glad to see you around at the National theatre. Thanks for the encouragement.

Alli Hajarat:
This is one memory that is very constant in my mind and gives me joy everytime, but you know we met more than once, the first time was before we were born, when God did a formal introduction between us, i remembered he said, "hajarat, here is your soul mate", thank u for bringing this back, no regrets whatsoever knowing you, i will do it all over again, if possible. Love you loads

@H.R the big APPLE, lol Don't know what to say about you, its like sharing the memories of myself with myself, lol, cos you already know any thing i will say right now, maybe i should talk about the first day we met at Ikoyi. In your Friday attire, i tripped for God's artistry that day; you looked immaculate, perfect, unexplored, pure and innocent; i wonder if you've ever walked under Lagos sun, or you've created your own winter around you, i sat under the 'la pallet' of the french cultural canter after the french class, and as you walked down from the class, you cat-walked towards me even though i'm not afraid of height, i felt like i was looking down from the top of a mountain.

Even when i perform for thousands of people, i know no stage fright, your audience paralysed me. I was staring into your doll-like eye balls, your snow white teeth, your pointed nose, your kissable lips, i was so convinced that i will be unable to understand whatever falls out of your lips, perhaps it will be some angelic codes that only Dan Brown will be able to decode. The greatest shock came when you opened your mouth to say our normal 'Hi', gosh... So earthy, even more surprised when you asked if i'll teach you French. I thought the divinity in you will understand all the languages of this world and above... lol, knowing you is really a great gift from God, God bless the day we met.

With love from your humble extravagant lover, thanks for making this happen, cos if you'd said NO on the 17th of January 2006, we wouldn't have known what we are missing in our lives.



Jul 6, 2009



WHO WE ARE.Yk Projects is a small scale organisation, legally registered and operates between Nigeria and France as an Artistic entity, it constantly re-unites new generation artists from different sectors of the art, for the execution and dissemination of artistic and socio-cultural projects, all with the intentions of creating an alternative landscape for the local audience to be aware of the arts through out door performances, new media and publications.
Yk Projects has left her imprint in the subconscious of many around the globe, getting more involved in the contemporary dance and circus art discourse in Africa, Europe and America at large, through stage performances, street happenings, archives of dance related materials, documentary films, articles, blogging, workshops and participation in big festivals and conferences.
Our main activities include creations and performances (Mainly Dance, New circus art and Street arts with the fusion of other media), Coverage and documentation of art related profiles for media and archival purposes, event organizations such as ewaBAMIJO, public jams, workshops and conferences.

ewaBAMIJO is a bi-annual festival for interdisciplinary arts, specially dedicated to infecting the city of Lagos and establishing relationships through DANCE, CIRCUS, COMEDY, MUSIC, DANCE DRAMA, SPOKEN WORD, PERFORMANCE ART and other interdisciplinary art forms, under one dance umbrella, that brings about conferences, debates, film screening and performances. EBJ 2009 will hold from 27th to 31st October 2009.

Since 2005 Yk Projects organised EBJ locally in Lagos, with the aim of expanding and merging the dance frontiers with other local artistes. In 2005 and 2006, EBJ was organised as a one-day event that gathered artistes of different genres, amongst which are dancers, musicians, comedians, poets, actors and journalists, to come under one dance umbrella, as means of enforcing our collecting impact on the society. EBJ will later become a bi-annual and international event from 2009, but still dedicated to local development.

The Self Imagining of EBJ is an étude in negation. Neither global nor local; Neither Western nor African; Neither mainstream nor independent, Neither tourist spectacle nor high art. Not multiculturalism; Not tribalism; Not showcase of new stars; Not competition for superiority; Not a patriotic celebration of our heroes and wins... With this edition, we call for the renovation of the practices and theoretical interface of contemporary art around the world, to depart from its all pervasive socio-political discourse and fantasies, but work together with other kind of artists, scholars, students, critics and our audience, to discover new modes of thinking and develop new analytical tools for dealing with the arts world under our circumstances, and bring attention to the 'limits of globalisation'.

ewaBAMIJO has several components that revolve around this year’s theme:

1. New/Existing Works.
2. Commissioned Works.
3. Invited Works (strictly by invitation).

We are inviting interested Artistes from all over Nigeria to apply to participate in the New/Existing Works and/or with a Commissioned Work.

For the 2009 edition of ewaBAMIJO, we wish to present original boundary-breaking, cutting edge, socially-engaged performance works to people from all walks of life, including the media, and provide a platform for Dancers, Actors, Musicians, Comedians, Poets, Circus artistes, Performance artists as well as Spoken word artists, to collaborate with others from different backgrounds and disciplines in making innovative, provocative, thought-provoking, non-commercial performance works; We are particularly, though not exclusively, interested in collaborative interdisciplinary works that reunites two or more artistic expressions. Please note that we do not accept works less than 15 minutes or more than 30 minutes.

We are also calling for proposals for new performance works. Site-specific works that could be performed in public and non conventional spaces. We are not looking for ‘plays’ or specific 'dance pieces' in this context, but Performance art pieces, performance installations, public space acts, improvisations, road shows etc. made by interesting collaborative teams or individuals will attract our interest.

If this project appeals to you please apply with a detailed proposal indicating which component you wish to apply for, outlining the form and the content of the piece, the creative team, the type of venue and size of performance. Technical details if necessary, C.Vs, clear photographs of the creative team or one that represents the piece should be included, an audio or video sample of your work would be advantageous. Your proposal must be clear and convincing. Proposals should be submitted online through proposals@ewabamijo.com, and it MUST reach us latest by 10th of August 2009.

Only selected works shall be contacted before 15th of September 2009. Selected participants should be ready to collaborate with other disciplines. The creative team of ewaBAMIJO might find different proposals from two or more distinct artists, propositional to merge ideas, e.g A dance piece with a poet, a musician with a dancer... but no decision shall be taken without your consent.

We look forward to hearing from you.


Artistic Director and Project coordinator