Update from Qudus' blog

Dec 17, 2011

Occupy Lekki turns violent.

Eavesdrop! As at (13:00pm) The Commissioner of Police has sent out police to disperse protesters at the Lekki road toll-axis who are protesting the toll fees to start on December18th, 2011. They were dispersed to protect the damage of properties in and around the toll axis and to allow free movement of cars to avert the blockade of roads by protesters. "On scene reportage"

Lagos State Government and LCC have used a coalition of thugs and MOPOL to disrupt what was a peaceful protest. People are being tear-gassed attacked by armed hoodlums and bundled into black marias. Women are being attacked and arrested. A lady I shall identify as MTA was arrested and taken to Maroko Divisional Policestation, for daring to be attacked by hoodlums!!! There is chaos everywhere.

Dec 16, 2011

On Art and the State.

This sort of friday morning musing is to finally speak my mind on this issue that had played with my mind for too long... It is the issue of the State of the Art and the Art of the State.

As an artist, If there are two states i'm most familiar with, that will be France and Nigeria... Obviously. But when it comes to art and the state, sure there is no much to say about Nigeria, for you to eat as an artist in Nigeria, you better do many things at a time, being multi talented in Nigeria is not only a possibility it is in fact a necessity.

Nov 24, 2011

Why Artists charge SO MUCH

If you ask yourself why ARTISTS (Djs, Dancers, Singers, Actors, Musicians or other performers) charge "SO MUCH" for performances... ???

Here is one answer for you - Because They don't get paid vacation, they don't get paid sick leave, they don't get bonuses for outstanding performances nor for Christmas. They don't have insurance plans nor do they qualify for unemployment and no retirement plan either.

Because they sacrifice their family on special days so that they can bring happiness to others. Illness or personal affairs are no excuses for a bad SHOW.

Next time you ask, remember that ARTISTS are ARTISTS because of the love of dance, music & art, but unfortunately that LOVE doesn't pay DEBTS nor BILLS.


Nov 20, 2011



I was in the train from La Rochel to Paris, then the train stopped in a stop after Poitier, can't really remember the name of the stop. Then the stop was getting too long than usual, so most passengers like me were worried, after about 20 minutes of waiting, the controller announced "We are sorry for the delay in departure, it is due to the fact that we are waiting for the police" Police? why police? Apparently there has been a dispute with two passengers in the train.

For the sake of accuracy, allow me to paint their physical appearance, one was a black lady, very well dressed, hair well packed, make up and all those ladies gadgets, she looks in fact like someone who works in bank BNP Paribas to be precise. While the other was a mixed race guy, handsome, clean shaves, a bit tall, he was wearing a casual jeans and tshirt, with dark glasses and a pull over, which in fact makes him look like a reality TV star.

Gradually their ranting with the controllers takes up the air, i could make only few words from what was being said, and since its been a while i haven't seen a Nollywood movie, i said this might be a compensation. Out of curiousity and entertainment need, i moved closer to feed my eyes. As normal the conversation was all in french but for the sake of jisting, i will transcribe in English "You have to go down, you are delaying everybody" the controller said, they were three controllers, two ladies and one man, trying to eject these two individuals, it was in their reply that i realize that they are from Guadeloupe, "No, not every young, black person is a hooligan, you don't have the right to pull my tshirt..." with a creolised french accent (that i in fact enjoy listening to).

To cut the long story short, what i made from the whole ping pong was that the guys bought their ticket for Paris for a train that was like 45 minutes late, so they couldn't wait while this one leaves to Paris without them in it, so they boarded but surely they have no sit in it, the only available sit was in the first class, so they humbly occupied the first class. This was the beginning of their troubles. Maybe if they had sat in second class they will be safe...

The argument became tougher and the remaining passengers began to lose their mind and their patience began to vanish, it is already 45 minutes waisted waiting, but i was catching my fun in my own way. However, you must know that there is nothing more disagreeable than a French "pas content" you don't want to be beside a ranting French "oh la la, mais en fin, buhhhh......... mais nous, il faut qu'on pas d'ici la, c'est quio ces packets de merde..." then there was a guy complaining to his phone, i imagine he was talking to someone, what was most striking about his telephone conversation was when he said "... No, they are not Arab, well anyway they are ALMOST ARAB..."

Yes Almost ARAB, and since then i have been trying to figure out what ALMOST ARAB means in the french society. Can anyone help me out???? i'm totally confused, when does Black became ALMOST ARAB? Is this a nightmare or i'm really in the midst of a bunch of people who don't even feel it is even necessary to hide their phobia for the 'other' if Black is ALMOST ARAB, then what is ALMOST BLACK?

Nov 9, 2011

The French society and the 'other'

Few days ago my Wife was Told to take off her cap in school.

I have a wife who chose to wear a cap to cover her hair, i mean a designer cap, not hijab nor anything mega, maybe out of her own sense of fashion or religious obligation or social identity, just as i am always on caps myself, and to her greatest surprise, she was outrightly told that she MUST take off her cap in school, not tomorrow but "take it off. now." She called me crying, for she felt as if her fundamental human right is being trampled upon, and felt so bad mostly because she has not enough tools to resist that societal pressure, in a society that i consider to be deeply fascist and not so friendly to all that is different.

I personally refuse commentaries on the "other" from a people or an authority who proclaims not only the death of God and man, but also the death of Morality, at the risk of bringing about any reference point and any object other than the SELF, reducing individuals to flows of drives and networks of DESIRES, fashion freaks and machines made of mouths, buy and consume and buy again. In the french society the question of otherness surpass the notion of "To be" and "not To be", its in fact "To be nothing" Its a shameful society we live. That's my stance.

You must know that My wife don't wear a cap to school everyday, in fact she has a very beautifully made dread-lock, so its not that she can't leave her hair open if she wants, but we grew up in a country where what you wear is never a national subject and as third world as we are, with our distorted notion of liberty, she never felt so humiliated. But here, a so called first world, an enlightened civilisation. Where we pursue happiness and it leads to resentment, and it leads to unahppiness and it leads infact to an explosion of mental illness. we pursued freedom, but we now live in a more monitored and controlled world, and our daily lives are more subjected to a network of small complicated rules that covers the surface of life, and strangles freedom.

Lets keep quiet and silently having fun, its something that can only happen to "others", not us. Sure there is fire on the mountain and no one is running now, but one day the river will overflow, and there will be no where for us to go, and we will run, run, wishing we had put out that Fire of Hatred. Until it becomes an Holocaust, then we start building museums and memorials and blame games.

Nov 8, 2011

You can Save someone's life.

You can Save someone's life by sharing this.


During a party, a friend stumbled and took a little fall - she assured everyone that she was fine and just tripped over a brick because of her new shoes. (they offered to call ambulance)

They got her cleaned up and got her a new plate of food - while she appeared a bit shaken up, Ingrid went about enjoying herself the rest of the evening. Ingrid's husband called later telling everyone that his wife had been taken to the hospital - (at 6:00pm , Ingrid passed away.)
She had suffered a stroke at the party . Had they known how to identify the signs of a stroke, perhaps Ingrid would be with us today.

Some don't die. They end up in a helpless, hopeless condition instead. It only takes a minute to read this...


A neurologist says that if he can get to a stroke victim within 3 hours he can totally reverse the effects of a stroke...totally. He said the trick was getting a stroke recognized, diagnosed, and then getting the patient medically cared for within 3 hours, which is tough.


Remember the '3' steps, STR . Read and Learn!
Sometimes symptoms of a stroke are difficult to identify. Unfortunately, the lack of awareness spells disaster.
The stroke victim may suffer severe brain damage when people nearby fail to recognize the symptoms of a stroke.
Now doctors say a bystander can recognize a stroke by asking three simple questions :

S * Ask the individual to SMILE ..
T * = TALK. Ask the person to SPEAK A SIMPLE SENTENCE (Coherently) (eg 'It is sunny out today').
R * Ask him or her to RAISE BOTH ARMS .

If he or she has trouble with ANY ONE of these tasks, call the ambulance and describe the symptoms to the dispatcher.

NOTE : Another 'sign' of a stroke is
1. Ask the person to 'stick' out their tongue.
2. If the tongue is 'crooked', if it goes to one side or the other that is also an indication of a stroke.

A prominent cardiologist says if everyone who gets this status shares it; you can bet that at least one life will be saved.

And it could be your own.


Oct 30, 2011




Oct 11, 2011

Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker Vs Beyoncé Countdown

Responce to Beyoncé | ROSAS DANST ROSAS

Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker on Beyoncé:

"Like so many people, I was extremely surprised when I got a message through Facebook about the special appearance of my two choreographies – Rosas danst Rosas (1983) and Achterland (1990) in Beyoncé’s new videoclip Countdown. I was asked if I were now selling out Rosas into the commercial circuit...

When I saw the actual video, I was struck by the resemblance of Beyoncé’s clip not only with the movements from Rosas danst Rosas, but also with the costumes, the set and even the shots from the film by Thierry De Mey. Obviously, Beyoncé, or the video clip director Adria Petty, plundered many bits of the integral scenes in the film, which the videoclip made by Studio Brussel by juxtaposing Beyoncé‘s video and the Rosas danst Rosas film gives a taste of. But this videoclip is far from showing all materials that Beyoncé took from Rosas in Countdown. There are many movements taken from Achterland, but it is less visible because of the difference in aesthetics.
People asked me if I'm angry or honored.

Neither, on the one hand, I am glad that Rosas danst Rosas can perhaps reach a mass audience which such a dance performance could never achieve, despite its popurality in the dance world since 1980s. And, Beyoncé is not the worst copycat, she sings and dances very well, and she has a good taste!
On the other hand, there are protocols and consequences to such actions, and I can't imagine she and her team are not aware of it.

To conclude, this event didn't make me angry, on the contrary, it made me think a few things.
Like, why does it take popular culture thirty years to recognize an experimental work of dance? A few months ago, I saw on Youtube a clip where schoolgirls in Flanders are dancing Rosas danst Rosas to the music of Like a Virgin by Madonna. And that was touching to see. But with global pop culture it is different, does this mean that thirty years is the time that it takes to recycle non-mainstream experimental performance?

And, what does it say about the work of Rosas danst Rosas? In the 1980s, this was seen as a statement of girl power, based on assuming a feminine stance on sexual expression. I was often asked then if it was feminist. Now that I see Beyoncé dancing it, I find it pleasant but I don't see any edge to it. It’s seductive in an entertaining consumerist way.
Beyond resemblance there is also one funny coincidence. Everyone told me, she is dancing and she is four months pregnant. In 1996, when De Mey‘s film was made, I was also pregnant with my second child. So, today, I can only wish her the same joy that my daughter brought me.

Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker
October 10th, 2011"

Aug 30, 2011


…Dance in Space, Spaces that Dance.

In my other life I am an activist. I grew up in a nation that naturally makes political activists out of its citizens, a nation that might as well exist as a fictional story, a fable spun from the imagination of very strange storytellers. Nigeria is where I come from, but like most progressive living beings, where we come from is not as important as where we are heading. Unlike many Nigerians, I have been unable to shake off this hereditary calling of an activist even as I head my own solo way, I have however managed to make my career be mostly situated in the arts world, not so political – in the conventional sense of the word. This nation situated in an artificial place in the midst of an artificial situation, has been a better metaphor for me to understand what culture is tending towards in many parts of the world.

If I had a metaphorical barometer and put it out there, what it would register is insecurity. There is presently a boosted sense of worry about the inevitably diminished role that places like the United States and Europe (the West) might be playing in the world in the next decades – or less, but that discussion is almost exclusively defined in economic terms. What it means is that basic business practices that have existed in our art world might not continue to exist in the same way, I don’t believe that the arts is a different system to anything else; we will have to adjust to a different way of doing things, the challenge is not to be conservative in terms of content, because it’s the new that excites people, not a feeling of safety.

In difficult times like this, it is certainly immaterial to ask ‘what is the essence of art?’because we are all looking for meaning in our world right now, and can art really provide it? Is art able to maintain a primal relevance in a lay world? But as a 21st century artist with a vocation – each time I think of a new project, I often find myself asking these sets of immaterial questions again and again. What do I wish to build or break with my art?


Understanding architecture as a performative condition: acting on us and activated by us, and theatre architecture as civil space, which has impact on human social contracts and relationships. One can then understand the burden of the fourth wall, that imaginary "wall" at the front of the proscenium theatre stage, which creates a great divide between spectator and performer, between seeing and doing, that wall which professed to the audience that, this is a fiction, it will probably have little or no impact in your world, but for sure it will have a little impact on ours, because you have brought out your money to buy into this, and behind these walls are actual people; actors, comedians, dancers, singers, musicians, technicians, creative designers, cleaners, security personnel, sales persons, administrators, programmers, managers etc. all trying to also make a living by keeping the system of the performing arts alive.

If it is true that Dance is the controlled passage of bodies through time and space. Then the essence of dance is felt, from the uniform connection between the experience of the body and the experience of the space that reunites the dancer and his audience. Traditionally, if judging a book by its cover, one could say theatres embody the idea of a closed world where bourgeois and bohemians meet regularly, a luxurious architectural piece that only this privileged few experience from the inside, and it draws concerns to the consumer-based attitude towards art, because if we say talent and creativity is priceless, why then is art only financially accessible?

More like the notion of ‘fixed’ identity, theatres are conserved as something that is unchangeable and stuck in time. Meanwhile, reifying the idea of a “space” dedicated to creative live performance, as something that cannot be influenced, reinterpreted or changed, creates tensions between what has been, what is and what could be. The bounds of the theatre space with its rigidity, however separates time from the real-time, I mean its absolute universe is the proscenium stage with all that it represents, outside of which nothing else exists. The audience is thus bound within a 2-dimensional relationship – through the fourth wall – without the fullness of space and scope.


Another project may not necessarily be another undertaking, I know I’m not interested in those ideas that hammer meanings into our heads at every opportunity, but just like the saying "those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." For me, every project is past from the moment it is done, and ‘repetition’ is only a means of establishing a continual dialogue, with creative materials used in previous project, in order not to suffer a divide between understanding and doing.

I’ve lately been exploring a new utopia. Unlike the Cartesian notion of "Utopia" as a specially planned and designed place of reason and rationality, I thought of treating the public sphere as a found-object to be manipulated and remixed at will, an approach that simultaneously reflects my core African values and basic needs, how art could be a part of life just as a tree or a billboard in an urban space, to create an atmosphere where the audience is brought to be part of an experience critically, without practical consequences, but by means of simple empathy with the performance. Using public spaces, in a manner that doesn't fit neatly together, like putting an AIDS hotspot in the middle of a shopping centre. This kinds of idea put people through a process of intimacy and alienation at the same time: intimacy as in accessibility and the alienation that is intimidating, and necessary to all understanding, out of such conditions come the unexpected encounter, the chance discovery, and the innovation.

The fact that the audience holds a detailed memory of a space and its function, creates a new curiosity when it is used for other purposes, the history they share with the venue, however makes them feel at home and open, they see it as adaptations or additions to existing buildings. My purpose is for the audience to give up every effort to understand ‘art’, because art becomes the most obvious thing in the world, when what is ‘natural’ and what is ‘startling’ share the same force in the same space, at the same time. This contradiction adds a new dynamism to the cultural and theatrical life of a city.

With my little experience in performing in formal and informal venues, for professional and non-professional audiences, I have come to realize that the audience that chose – for whatever reason – to go to the theatre, might have this experience:
- Yes, I sometimes feel that way too, the sufferings of this man touches me, because they are obvious – that was great art, I weep when he weeps, I laugh when he laughs.
There is a semblance to the artiste, he can relate with him, he can in-fact have a drink with the artiste after the show, and their discussion will be about everything but the show he saw, a sort of social climbing you may call it. But for the audience that didn’t expect to see a show, in the most inappropriate venue, and would probably not go to a theatre, might have this experience:
I’d never have thought of that, that’s extraordinary, the sufferings of this man touches me, I don’t know why, perhaps because they are unnecessary – that’s great art, I laugh when he weeps, I weep when he laughs.
If such audience stays after the show to have a drink with the artist, his entire discussion will be about the show. A way of climbing ashore of consciousness you may call it, or better still, a sharing of understanding of our worlds. For this two ‘kinds’ of audience, we might also conclude that, the method of understanding depends on the different contexts and ways of presenting the work to the audience, and in any case, it remains fully capable of life.


In different cultures before the 19th Century, public relations were more about theatricality than representation of the self, the former of which is more friendly to public life and had more impact in public life, it was the late 19th century that brought upon the idea of intimacy with openness of expression. Alternative artistes have now become more interiorized and ‘underground’, leading to a high level of social irrelevance.

Modern Western society has lost a key dimension of the notion of ‘public space’; the distinction between the private and the public have been erased. An attempt to the reason for this – will be to say that the loss of a religious order to public life, which once allowed the public and the private to coexist in a greater cosmic order, contributed to the destruction of the public space. A ‘space’ that removes the borders that protects us from each other in daily life. The public/private distinction is crucial to maintaining polite sociability, exchange of worldviews and rational political discussion, which didn’t transformpolitics into a clash of personality and an unending, brutal contest of who will have the last word.

The same process, has transformed the market from a public meeting place into a field for a compulsive quest for self-identification through mass consumption. We have lost not only the public good, but also the public artist in all his creativity and spontaneity and delightfulness. Public performance now has become a mere formality, a quest for the "authentic" self rather than a space for presenting ideas.

It was my quest for spaces of freedom – not as a form of protest, but for personal experience – that provides the foundation for my investigation into this
concept of ‘space’. I began this ‘free’ space project with “Do we need cola cola to dance?” in 2007, It was aimed at taking art outside its proper boundaries, With an investigation into other art making processes, through multiple improvisations, how DANCE, MUSIC, URBAN SCENOGRAPHY, PHOTOGRAPHY AND VIDEO ART, could organically come together almost as a coincidence to coexist in a particular space in time. This approach put accent not just on the performer's body and the audience's eyes, but also the camera’s lens, the music we produce and the communal space that we all re-create.

It is a way to reject certain habits, while we were unconsciously involved in the process of breaking down conventional ideas about what art could mean. It suggests movement, not only as a means on social existence of art in the public sphere, but also reflects the use of ‘movement’ as a social practice linked to our capacity as artists, to continuously orient ourselves to shifting terrain of economic activity and artistic disposition. Thus, the conclusion we tend to draw from this project is on-going, it is an alternative practice that creates its own context, the purpose is not to insert a new style into existing buildings or entice already formed audience away from existing venues, but to be involved in a special broad ‘free space’ art experiment, that extends the community of the arts.

Every professional in the arts world today, are – in their various fields – thinking about innovative and new ways to manage the Arts and its future in a changing world. Certainly what is at stake in this ‘alternative practice’ is not to simply take part in the contemporary nomadism which finds its most impoverished expression in tourism, my choice of research is guided by a fundamental impulse than the quest for performing or travelling. I hope we are not simply globetrotters, roaming the world with the aim of a hedonistic assimilation. This ‘social practice’ is rather a desire to be jostled and disrupted.


An ending set of immaterial questions my readers might be asking right now might be, why is this important? What does it matter? Be rest assured that I’m asking myself same questions, is dance able to maintain a primal relevance in today’s world? how do I connect to that world beyond the theatre walls? And should art connect with that world, or is it the problem of the world to make connections to the arts? How do I personally choose to make a connection? Is it that I miss all the connections I don`t have and could have had? Do I want to establish a re-connection with my formal audience in traditional venues? Or do I totally want to disconnect? Like I have always done with my works – Rather than offering answers to a world in search of meaning, I’m only using my creative energy to create a critical dialogue open to all, raise further questions and showcase my own experiences in the process, another user-friendly idea that I throw into the world; it can serve different purposes for different people in different places. I’m very much open to that.

STILL/life - Qudus Onikeku - Damien Jalet - IN Avignon

Jul 5, 2011


"Time vanished, we turned to stone.

The world retreated into fumes of swampland.

And the past is without reference to our identity.

Why in my right to the assured presence I'm thrown aback.

Towards what has never been my deed.

Towards what has never been in my power or in my freedom.

Towards a past that denies my right to the present.

And has never come into memory."

Our collective memory of an immemorial past imposes the division between the north and south, between me and "the other" between rationality and irrationality. Do we not recognize the trap? History is too full of failed Prometheans bathing their wounded spirit in the tragic stream. Summoning history to our aid? But more than history, kindred knowledge, kindred findings, kindred rebellions against the lure of terror; for rage is no longer enough to combat the temptation to subside into unproductive, will-sapping wisdoms.

There are levels of despair from which the human spirit cannot recover, some types of suffering are difficult to explain and difficult for others to understand, the trauma that comes with the memory of our proper amnesia comes with an incomprehensible terror. These persisting events that fabricates time and the other, has made violence "a way of thinking" and an instinct to survive.

Human advancement in the frame of the modern world, is debased by tragedy and violence in many layers. The modern man is very much conditioned by opportunism and greed, quest for power and ambition. Leading to a state of social dysfunction where there is no more society, but a bunch of individual people, poised between solitude and amnesia, making individual choices to promote their individual well being.

The contradictions and tragedy that exists in our collective histories, has made it impossible to represent the other with certitude. There is nothing of which we are more certain than the feeling of our selves, our mortality and ego, an ego that seems to maintain a clear and sharp lines of demarcation between the forces of good and bad, until it eats deeply inwards, without any sharp delimitation.

...but the duty of hope is to turn around and heal the world. The mystical significance of today however, is that it constantly provides us with blank pages, in which we shall inscribe our destiny in our own hand writings. The path towards the pure future is to find ways to reintegrate these pairs of contradictions, into an expanded vision of a social experience that is both the same and different, whole and complex.

"STILL/life" is almost paradoxical and against all odds, its non-literal translation into French of "nature morte" that rather places accent on death, seems to be saying the opposite. “STILL/life” is in motion, a tale of the rise and fall of a man, an attempt to conciliation and acceptance of our extremes, an invitation to shed tears with a spark of hope, that coming generations might eventually learn equity from poverty, love from woes and peace from calamities.

We begin this work with the utopia of simultaneously making visible the head and the tail of the same coin at the same time, show the rear of that which is presented in a frontal manner, above all, confront our self-contradictions and oppositions, reflecting on the schizophrenia of the world we live in, and using pure energy as fuel for this first stage of creation.

Choreography . Qudus Onikeku & Damien Jalet

Original idea and performed by . Qudus Onikeku

Live Music . Charles Amblard

Costume et Accessories . Alexandra Leyre Mein.

contact : info@ykprojects.com - www.ykprojects.com

Jun 9, 2011

Wisdom is like garment.

Hello Friends.

If my calculation is right, its been months that I haven't blogged on this facebook page... you know, when a fowl perches on a rope, the fowl will not be at rest and the rope will not rest either. Sometimes life gets so busy that you forgot to do some other important things, but when a blacksmith is striking only one spot on the iron, there must be a particular design he wants to achieve.

It is my belief that a work of art is good if it has arisen out of necessity. One will naturally worry about the death of a man, who survives a civil war, only to die in a students' riot. As an artiste, from time to time, we need time to worry, contemplate our solitude and have something else to say about our solitude, beyond its unhappiness or opposition to collectivity, to that collectivity whose happiness one usually says is in opposition to solitude.

I have been doing a lot of reading lately, so it has not given me much impulse to write. It is funny how we can totally lose interest in writing when we encounter some good books, or excellent piece of writings. But let me just say the doctor is never tired of mentioning the names of those he healed successfully. A lot had happened since my time out and let's say this note is a recap.

Since last September, I have been jumping from one project to another, from one country to another, from four cities in Brazil to about ten African countries, I returned in December, then I started working with Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui and Damien Jalet, in the multiple award winning piece BABEL. In the midst of all that, I made a quick trip to Paris and Johannesburg in February to perform my solo piece "My Exile..." where i got a wonderful acceptance and ovation, I returned again to Europe, to tour simultaneously in three different works (my solo piece + the screening of my film "do we need cola cola to dance", Heddy Maalem's piece and BABEL). I was as well invited by CNAC, as part of the alumni, to participate in the celebration of the 25th year and opening ceremony of the new improved CNAC. *Wink*

Following my contribution to the Europe – Africa conference in Annecy last year, I was invited to be part of the founding members of a new African think tank and leadership forum “ASPEN AFRICA”. I was also nominated for TEDGlobal Fellowship; I made it to the final selection but "Unfortunately, due the to phenomenal nature of all of our applicants, we are unable to offer you a Fellowship for TEDGlobal 2011." Never mind, fate will bring them back to you, I told myself. Not long after, I got another news that VIVA RIVA, the movie by Djo Munga, in which I choreographed in 2008, had won "Best African Movie" at the MTV Movie Awards! After sweeping 6 awards at the Africa movie academy awards out of 8 nominations, and the best-featured film at the Pan African film festival.

In April I became an artist in residence at the Centre National de la Danse (CND) and started work on my new creation "STILL / life" for Festival d’Avignon this July, in which I’m collaborating with some brilliant individuals. In the midst of all that, I had my wedding to prepare, I moved to Lagos for my wedding with my beloved soul mate on the 28th of May. In a “normal” and ideal life, I should be honeymooning now, but only a warrior that returned from a war, can boast of the potency of his charms. Festival d‘Avignon is no place for honeymoon.

After Avignon, I will be heading to Lagos again to choreograph in the first edition of the TV reality show ‘Dance 234’, in that period, I’ll be part of the planning committee for a Tourism Pilot Project in Osun state, and also make a quick trip to Abidjan for the first international conference of ASPEN AFRICA, in preparation of the G20 meeting in Nice – France. After which I shall also be choreographing a new piece “We Dance We Pray” for Vuyani dance theatre in Johannesburg, from there I’ll be heading to perform at the Nairobi Dance forum.

In all of these however, what I have realized is that biting your opponent in fight can be count as part of the fight, life is but a bunch of paradoxes and sometimes you see its beauty popping out in the most weird forms, in a little summary of my existence, I can say it is only your vocation in life and the things you dedicate your life to, that will determine the kind of people you will attract. For as long as a drop of honey draws more flies than a bucket of water, my life will remain a “work in progress”. It is hopeless to focus our attention on a single direction in life. A time comes in ones life, when it becomes so important to focus on the construction of one’s home as much as one’s career, to be deeply involved in one's spiritual wellbeing as much as one’s social engagement, to sow seeds in every single individual we encounter, as much as we need to pay jealous attention to the construction of our humanity, to a certain verticality that will add up to our virtues. ME I'm still trying to figure out what a successful living means, but I know strongly that wisdom is like garment, every person wears his own about.



Apr 16, 2011

CHANGE - Towards a national life.

The path to a national life of any nation - as we know it in this 21st century - is a process which infuse a new rhythm, specific to a new generation of men and women, with a new language and a new humanity. For the majority of those who are attentive to the process that led to where we are as a nation, can surmise that after 50 years of attempting nationhood through decolonisation, from post-colonization, to dictatorship and eventually democracy; the situation of the Nigerian had slightly shifted from a state of being colonised to being endlessly neocolonised in various disguise, the expolitation has intensified but now justified by capitalizing on two or three slogans. These nouveau riche who disguise as leaders, demands a colossal effort from us in the name of national interest, without plans to improve our conditions. Major sums, however, were invested for the sake of wide roads, prestige cars, villas and all those loud goods required to build a new elite class living hundred times superior to the minimum wage.

50 years after our so called independence, these elite class at the corridors of power, who cruches the masses to a non-essential state, still utilizes the agressiveness of its class to grab our support for a change, in which even they don't believe. What is really misleading is that, this elite class is aware that the human and social sciences have accustomed us to see the figurine of a righteous man behind every social and moral event, just like Christianity taught us to see the eye of the lord looking down upon us. This lot can easily infiltrate and create a look alike of what they are not, they can readily use the secret knowledge of the books, of the arts, of the media and clever ideas to manipulate and claim to be on the side of truth and change. For them, the masses remains a bunch of "dehumanised things" that needed to be kept in order and be organised. We the "things" ruled upon become human only through the process of liberation. That is the natural process of new men, new nation and new life.

Times of election is generally bracketed by hopes, aspirations and violence. Change in political and national life - whatever the preferred expression for political correctness is - is always a violent event, because it is simply an absolute substitution of one "species" of mankind by another, that will go as far as establishing an entirely new nation, with a redefined diplomatic relations and economic and political orientation. The need for this change must exist in a raw, repressed and reckless state in the consciousness of the people. But the eventuality of such a change is a terrifying future in the consciousness of other "species" of men and women who sees nothing wrong in the status quo. When a group of minor men and women, however, set out to attempt a change of a certain order of things, which cannot be accomplished by the wave of a magic wind or a gentleman's agreement - Hence, the rise of the OPPOSITION - They are seen as radicals or tagged "angry people". This wind of change in our national life can only be significant when it is clamored for, desired and demanded by the majority, when the opposition is a majority and the majority opposes the status quo.

I am certain that each generation has its peculiar mission, to be realized under its own circumstances, fulfil it or betray it in relative blurriness. The values which we live by are the values that led us "here" in the first place, the moral negligence and ideological barrenness which led us to this point are still seen as continuing in the identity of this nation, and since this national identity has not changed, has undergo no revolutionary purge either in its guts or at the head. therefore, for a new national life to be attained, our efforts must be made of fragments, and not as a whole body, which signifies that, what we might possibly think to be the end, might in fact the beginning, we cannot begin to build a Utopia, until we have been able to control the damage by first discovering its source, this discovery must sink us down to the roots, to demolish and rehabilitate the foundations of thoughts and actions responsible for such damage, then begin to re-create. Our collective break/down will eventually result to our collective break/through, only in this way does every individual share in the holy mess and understands the real purpose and value of such a change towards a genuine national life.

(c) Qudus Onikeku.


October 13, 2010.


Apr 10, 2011

Yinka Shonibare speaks my mind

Yinka Shonibare MBE: Being an Artist

Episode #084: In his London studio, artist Yinka Shonibare MBE reflects on what it means for him to be an artist, how he views his occupation as a utopian pursuit, and how the lines between the personal and professional aspects of his life are blurred.

Known for using batik in costumed dioramas that explore race and colonialism, Yinka Shonibare MBE also employs painting, sculpture, photography, and film in work that disrupts and challenges our notions of cultural identity. Taking on the honorific MBE as part of his name in everyday use, Shonibare plays with the ambiguities and contradictions of his attitude toward the Establishment and its legacies of colonialism and class. In multimedia projects that reveal his passion for art history, literature, and philosophy, Shonibare provides a critical tour of Western civilization and its achievements and failures.

More about Yinka Shonibare MBE: http://www.art21.org/artists/yinka-shonibare-mbe

VIDEO | Producer: Wesley Miller & Nick Ravich. Interview: Susan Sollins. Camera: Ian Serfontein. Sound: Paul Stadden. Editor: Lizzie Donahue & Paulo Padilha. Artwork Courtesy: Yinka Shonibare MBE. Thanks: Ann Marie Peña.

Mar 8, 2011

Somersaulting into DISTANCE



zoll+ is the Austrian Magazine of Landscape and Open Space. It is a platform for constructive discussion of planning topics with focus on urban and rural landscapes.

Each issue features a special section devoted to a topic of particular relevance, which is discussed in various perspectives. The scope of interpretation is intended; it is an expression of diversity within the profession.

Dancing consists of motion and stillness, figures and measures, rage and tenderness, poetry and sculptures, painting and stories, politeness and politics, vigour and fragility, beauty and ugliness, birth and death, and to be frank, what else do we call life? So dancing – as a significant part of life – can be a way of understanding life in its wholeness.

Qudus Onikeku

Would you call dance the purest expression of human creativity?

No. I think that will be too arrogant, when we say pure, we are talking about what is honest, naive, unadulterated and manifests itself with certain confidence of innocence, and we basically see that in the way kids express themselves. We as dancers often tend to say that a child’s first true expression is dance or movement, but I don’t think so, I know some kids first expressed themselves in drawing or excessive chattering for example. The simple act of destroying things, or merely tearing off papers and destroying their toys are for me pure acts of expression in themselves, only if we the adults around could have the patience to listen. From what I could remember in my childhood, it was through a somersault that I first realised my creative energy. For me, I think the need for expression is a basic need and it is like a trance, it usually come in obscure forms that when it eventually finds it way out, you won’t bother to care about the form, but what is being said.

Has practicing acrobatics and dance changed your perception of space?

Very much. But I don’t know if they had changed my perception of space or they are actually the foundations for such realisation. You must know that I started acrobatics at the age of five, when I saw a random person did it in real-time, not that I never saw it in the television, during Olympics I saw even more spectacular ones, but seeing someone who could probably be me – in my own space of truth – doing it, was a revelation and that’s how I began acrobatics on my own. As I didn’t see any other figure, I thought the only thing that existed was a backflip, so I began to accumulate, going as much as 60 flips in a row, which arguably gave a sense of improvement. I got to a point where I myself didn’t know my limit, the only constraint I had was whatever obstacle limiting my space. It made me realised that there is no space, if there is no obstacle, and it is the existence of two separate obstacles that gives an idea of distance. Just as architects say, they don’t occupy spaces, they create spaces.

And performance have also given me another view of space, which differs from the concept of a place, that we might not necessarily be in the same place but can occupy the same space. This has to do with my adoption of the term “African world” i.e. a psychological space, inhabited by those who find it useful and comfortable, and are usually connected based on their common narratives, aspirations and affiliations. Not necessarily having a bloodline or common skin flags. This is very much opposed to “Africa” as a black place in the world map, sitting flat on its black ass, with a lot of histories and prejudices. Once seen as a den of savages, infested with superstitions and fanaticism, destined to be despised and cursed by God Himself. I am afraid; the stories of this “place” had been so told with a distant gaze and understood from a convenient angle, that it’s meaning no longer embody its humanity.

Has traveling changed your dance and writing style?

It has. In fact it is the only thing within which I have grown my art, I became an artist within the borders of different cultures and languages, I have been fed with various books and artists, some in their original languages, and others translated. So to a large extent, travelling has been a means of liberation and a way to escape the burden of fixed ideas and fixed identities. I think learning is embedded in encounters, while knowledge is scattered in space and within a time-frame. The experiences that come with travelling are unconditional experiences; I try to experience them without finding a worldly logic to them, nor discriminate, whether they are good or bad for me. If there is a dance or a culture that fascinates me in Brazil, I will like to learn it, know its history, I’ll like to see how it can nourish my ideas. And for my writing, it is exactly what pushed me into writing in the first place, most of my writings are informed by my experiences, by my thoughts which are usually in line, either with the state of my mind or the space in which I find myself.

What are the implications of nomadism?

What do you mean by “implication”? That word has a lot of implications. We are Indeed in the age of hybridity and mixing, technology and popular culture; we are all facebooking and twitting on top of one another, we all share information on YouTube and MySpace. It is a nomadic era, a time when fixed identities and boundaries lose their meaning and everything is in flux. I know all of these might be seen as madness in certain logic, but the nomadic principle in my own case translates into action, into a desire to depart, it is an opportunity to discover new environments and inscribe my creative process in a setting that I do not fully understand. So I try to make sure that what is at stake in my nomadism, is not simply taking part in acts that finds its most impoverished expression in tourism. I hope I’m not participating in the homogenization of all countries and simply roaming the world with the aim of a hedonistic assimilation as many artists do these days. This constant call of elsewhere is rather a way to be jostled and dislocated.

In what sense are you denoting your blog a diary? Can private go public?

When I call my blog a diary, I mean not a personal organiser where I write about my appointments and rendezvous, or how many times I had sex last week. However, I think if I have a blog space where I write about random things in a chronological way, that it keeps record and marks time – or history if you like – that it becomes a memoir in the future. For me I think it’s a diary.

And whether private can go public. Well it depends on what we understand as private. Writing a chronicle of a tour for example, and then sharing it on my blog for example, I don’t think that’s private. Having the courage to write out my thoughts on certain issues that either irritates me or inconveniences me, might simply be a way to give courage to some random persons who might suddenly have the guts to do certain things, after reading my blog, because they eventually realise that they are not alone. I think, maybe sometimes we make confusions between what is private and what is intimate. With the new media, information has become more and more democratic, that the idea of privacy is so vague. You don’t have to be a hacker to get a lot of information.

To what extend does your blog also display a media of communication to your home country and the possibility to keep your family informed about your activities, your life?

Being away from home for such a long time might make one forget the difference between familial love and the love we build and share with people. When I post a video or post a note and I see one of my family members comment on it, it usually comes with a lot of emotion and memory. When I started my blog in 2006 – then it was still called DIARY OF A SCHIZOPHRENIC DANCER – it was a period when I felt very disconnected from my surrounding, then I just got into the circus arts school in Chalons en champagne. France. I felt very far away from this culture and most times felt alone, that solitude led to kind of schizophrenia, those who were closer to me, seemed very far from my reality, while the ones far away were the ones that I felt closer to. It was as if the new media was just meant for me, it was very useful in many ways. Through my blog and my facebook page I have made a lot of connections with Nigeria, I have been nominated for different awards and I have gotten lots of recognition, even if I rarely show my work physically in Nigeria.

Is your work political? What’s your strategy?

I cannot say my work is political per-se and I cannot say otherwise based on popular definition. Let’s ask ourselves, for an artiste what does political mean? It means to be opinionated, it means to be concerned with the status quo, concerned with the human condition, and it means to be conscious. If these words are part of what being political means, then of course I am. But if it means wikileaks or dancing to some revolutionary songs, hmm I don’t think that’s my realm. I have often repeated myself that I am an artiste; I’m not an activist.

I think it is important to understand the society, the environment in which one lives, and in that very process of understanding, break away from it. However, just as our parents are frightened by such arrogance of us attempting to be total individuals, so the governments are frightened by us willing to break away from the society, because they want us to remain safely within the prison of environmental and national and religious and cultural influences, but it is only the individuals who break through the social pattern by understanding it, that will not be bound by the norm, and will eventually be liberated and become creative. It is only such people who can bring about a new civilisation

Being political means you are reacting within the prison, it is not an unbiased action; you resist one particular pattern because another shapes you. The realm I anticipate is not to lie within the prison, but rather in understanding the prison and breaking through its wall – and that very movement through freedom creates art and creates a new culture. So in that sense you can say my work is political or even radical, controversial, rebellious or provocative, but one thing that I am very sure of is that I’m naturally indocile, I don’t conform.

How important is theoretical research for your work?

It is very important for me to understand my work in theory, I try as much as possible to write about it before it is done, rewrite on it after it’s done, I read loads of materials, be it articles, books or essay that relates to my subject matter. I spend hours and hours on YouTube and sites like TED or RSA to see what has been said about such subject. I don’t think my opinions are personal, and I think such “collaborations” with what already exist give a clearer image to my intuition.

One thing that is clear is that I separate my thematic from the artistic investigation, the artistic research is something that is always ongoing, when I finish one piece, it continues in the next piece, while the themes might have nothing in similarity, like in my last piece I was exploring questions of exile, belonging and non-belonging, while in the next I’m dealing with violence and schizophrenia as a metaphor for our civilisation. However, the artistic research is a continuation of what I tried to do in my last piece and perhaps wasn’t able to get to its end. So my artistic research is a continuous one that informs the kinds of book I unconsciously collect and read, while the theme leads to the kind of books I read just for a particular production.

What can you say about the communication between your writing and the creation of artwork? Do you see similarities of these art forms in terms of its compositional structure, emotional content or rhythm and (how) are you transferring the knowledge of one medium into the other?

I think it’s all one, structures, rhythm, forms and necessary beauty. This is all I try to accomplish in both my dance and my writing, it’s not just about meaning, it’s about my encounter with my audience or reader. A journalist once said, "Qudus' work has a social dimension, it is a story that seems to have links with the artist's own life, in this sense, the work resonates as an essay in first person." And I think he is very correct. Writing has helped me a lot in finding a dramaturgic logic to choreography, from the first paragraph of a piece, your reader must already have an idea of your direction and the emotional content, then there is the body, then we see your argument, then we see your proposition if you so wish, then we see your conclusion. This is precisely what I do with my dance pieces. When I begin to write, I don’t usually have a predetermined number of words I want to work with, that’s why I find it hard to say how long my dance piece will be when I have not created it.

In a way my writing makes me understand my piece better, especially it’s argument. And at the same time, it is my knowledge of dance that largely supported my writing at the beginning; it gave me a powerful faculty for description and timing. As a dancer it is important to understand stillness as distinguished from silence or nothingness. These things don’t usually come to us in words, we experience them, but merging the practice of a writer and a dancer together makes it incredibly interesting when you are able to explain a situation or an inner feeling or thoughts in words.

Do you use an external eye during the creation process, how important is the process compared to the product of your performance / text work?

Yes, I do in a way or the other, even if I don’t invite someone officially to be my external eye, it might be my musician, it might be the video artist, or the photographer. Most times I like feedbacks, especially when it is a solo piece in which I’m choreographing and also dancing it. The same goes to my writing, I have few trusted friends with whom I share my texts while writing it, especially my fiancée.

I think the process of creating is the most important part in the lifespan of a piece of art, if I have my way I will spend my entire life in the studio, it is during the creative process that we grow, that we are very sensitive, and very open to rediscover new defiant paths in us. And I cans say the same of writing, it is the process of writing that you realise that since the last time you wrote, you have improved, you have restructured your views on certain issues, you have seen what you got wrong in the previous writing. I don’t like the idea of seeing a piece as the end product of a period of creation, No, it is in fact the remains, it is an evidence of that transformation, it is what opens up further spaces for critical dialogue. This doesn’t mean that I’m oppose to the popular saying, that a piece is not finished until it is shared with the audience, but can we ever finish a piece?

Do you also use spoken word in your performances? If yes, how is your movement related to the text?

Yes, I find the use of texts quite significant in performances, if it’s not text then it will be symbols, if not, it will be signs or images or sounds. Through the history of dance, we have come to agree that dance can stand alone as an art form. There is no doubt about its strong poetic prowess and its emotive capacity, that through one movement we can say a lot. However, the world we live in now is not one that is so sympathetic with poetry or some high forms of expressions that can mean everything, instead we are bombarded with some catchy phrases on billboards and the banalisation of violent images on news. Fashion magazines sells more and influences us faster than the book of Nietzsche, we can easily recognise the logo of Coca-Cola and Mc Donald’s even when they are not written clearly, but who still cares about Newton or Nijinsky?

During my creative process, I know that it is very easy to quickly lock myself in the utopia I build around myself in the studio. So I have learnt to step out of my studio and step into the real world from time to time, because the feeling of interaction still seems to me, very important. Not the kind of interaction that is embedded on a conversational style though, let's say, it is a revelation of words left unreconstructed in the subconscious of my audience. I have a need to create a common space for our collective human experience. My dance has been dedicated to finding ways of expressing some very deeply rooted expressions, which literary words had failed to capture in conventional styles. So is my movements related to the imagery I paint with this external elements I bring in? I don’t think so, but it seems to me that I try to find means of enforcing my expression through different media and find parallels for them, without necessarily reconciling between them.

Dancing also means writing into space and constructing a world through movements. How important is the awareness of the needs each space, country and continent provokes for your artistic interaction?

There is something I find very noteworthy in our imagination of the world, our mind is very complex and its capacity is almost time without end, we can go as broad as we want and be very well understood in that very capacity, and amazingly we can also come back to its contrary. Be as simple as possible, be as basic as possible, yet we can still be understood and this is part of the beauty of what we call life isn’t it? If I do understand your question well, I think I have decided to focus my attention on my own basic need, rather than the need of a certain space, nation or continent in my artistic concerns. I am very much aware of all the elements that come together to make up my identities, and I regard them as equally without necessarily paying heed to their needs, because their needs are not necessarily my basic human need. Therefore, I am very much wary of the obsessive leeway that often comes with the needs provoked by these various notions of belonging.

How does architectural space and social context influence your work?

Until now I don’t think I pay much attention to architecture, I know a lot of friends who are very good at making that link, and I do admire it in their works, but I’d simply call it “space” I think I am also doing what architects are doing, only that mine is not fixed is space, so in a way I’m creating spaces; democratic spaces built on empathy. I have not been able to characterize my non-conventional space performances in relation to architecture, maybe it’s because I pay too much attention to its social context and my argument with it. And the term influence is usually a strong term for me, I can’t really say these things influence my work, instead it is my work that influences the space and I predetermine the social context I give to it.

Are you interested in creating a reactive space, a dialogue with the audience? If yes, what are your methods?

In fact my performances are all embedded on interaction and cohabitation. Because a piece of art is always a proposition, it is another opportunity to grow and discover new sinister byways, and it has to be confronted with other kinds of mind in order to pass the test of time. I am not always comfortable to dialogue with the audience after a show because they usually come with a lot of complaisance that it becomes quite difficult to have a deeper conversation. However, what I usually do is that, during the creative process, I organise series of open door rehearsals and conversations around the proposition, in a form of an encounter with the audience, I try to create a bond with them, so they can follow how it progresses and observe how it is being constructed, just like a piece of architecture in the community, I make them a part of the creative process, because at the end, they will eventually be an integral part of the outcome of the piece.

Is there a different perception of your pieces in Europe and Africa? Are you adapting your pieces for audience in different continents?

I think it is quite normal that there is a different perception of my piece in Europe, in Africa, in America or Latin America. People have different narratives, it might be common based on their common narratives, but as we move farther in space we begin to perceive things differently, and we travelling artistes also perceive the differences that exists in distance. Now, do I adapt my piece for different audience? NO, I don’t, but I might adapt its discourse or the imagery I use in contextualising my intention during conversations that precedes the performance. I never adapt the artistic proposition; even in some cases I refuse to subtitle certain texts.

As a dancer, I am working with my body most times – and my body is very tangible, despite its historical baggage – I am not working on artificial constructs, based on political boundaries, racial confines, economic or cultural margins. I’m interested in going back in time, going to the root of all expressions, going back to the basics to rediscover what I refer to as “true movement”. My body memory could remember a time when human beings communicated humanly with gestural expressions without constructed words or coded languages and they understand one another better in that regard, because they paid better attention without the illusion of thinking they comprehend each other perfectly.

With all the events that have happened in strains of our lives, we often break some extraordinary happenings down in words for easier consumption and understanding without toil. In that same sense, if we put so much effort in trying to explain art or putting it in a very logical perspective, we tend to lose the essence and often deny us the holistic sense of certain emotions and feelings. Through dance I try to recapture that essential aspect of communication because I realise that our body memory tends to be vanishing through our sophistication, and what I try to do in my performance is to bring back that sensitivity, that everyone watching me can relate to that, even if they don’t understand what I am saying right now or what the piece is about.

Does it make sense to use the same contextualisation, picture language and association in Africa as well as in Europe or do you feel a different understanding of art and also requirement of the audience?

To start with, am I showing my works solely in Africa and Europe? NO. And even if I do, Africa, just like Europe is merely a place that is part of the world and hence part of the human-sphere. So the question we need ask ourselves is; can I be talking to my immediate neighbour in Cotonou and be aware of the fact that I might as well be talking to someone in Iceland? We need to understand that now, like never before do people have so much in common, same MTV, same CNN, same Kebabs, same Sushi, same Coca Cola, same Total Oil, same TEDtalk, same YouTube, same Google, same Suzuki, same iPhone. And the list goes on and on. So what other picture languages do I need that the reality out there has not made available for all to understand?

I don’t think art in any form is closed ended, it is only the sentiment that we attach to them that are most times closed minded, that art begin to mean something else in our will to turn art into a special capsule that cures certain illness or morality. I’m not saying that I’m not also guilty of this, but it is still the equivocal features of art that makes it possible for me to make it responsive to a circumstance, and I feel as equally liberated to use it for another, but we must be clear that we are not talking about art itself, we are talking about the many lies we’ve created around ourselves and badly needed to be solved. So in essence we are only talking about the utilitarian aspect of art when we talk about contextualisation.

You are living in Paris. Do you know the work of Xavier le Roy or Jerome Bel? How do you perceive this conceptional dance pieces?

I only know them by name I don’t know their works.

Do you consider yourself a city person?

Unfortunately I am a city person, I was born and grew up in a very big city, even though I try so often to run away from its monstrosity, yet I realise that I still have a lot to learn from it.

Which books influenced your work on stage?

I can’t say precisely, I know that I have read a lot of books and they’ve all in one way or the other fed me as a person, and it is my person that then influence my work a lot as an artiste. Like I said, I use certain books based on certain projects I’m working on, but in general I connect with the writings of Wole Soyinka, perhaps art came to me in the same way it came to him based on our temperament and cultural affiliation I guess, he is a very close companion. But presently, the ideas of Amin Maalouf, Edward Said and some writings of Sigmund Freud I can really relate to.

To which philosophers do you feel connected and are you referring in your artwork?

I think I have a very personal opinion about talks on influences and references, I don’t pay so much attentions to them, only when I write, I hear echoes of certain writers I have read long ago or recently, and I don’t mind to write it the way they come to me, even if it was the exact phrase, so I might eventually feel connected to them but I usually don’t refer to them, because I don’t see the need, and in the same way I think my own work will resonate in other people’s works or for the coming generation that find it useful.

I think the human mind works in an unprocessed manner, the memory of all our little experiences, the things we’ve read in books or observed in the world around us – all of these our mind observes, it discerns, it learns, it is the mind that cultivate virtues, that communicate ideas, that has desires and fears, and that’s also what we at the end refer to as consciousness. The coming generation will always use the shoulders of the past generation as a stepladder to climb taller and I think it is just natural for that creative commons to happen without anyone claiming to posses that or dwelling on recognition or its copyright.

In one of your poems you wrote:

If I were the King

I’ll close more hospitals

To build more Theatres

People get more healed there anyway.

Please, tell me about this concept that theatre can heal....

Oh that’s such a long time, hahaha. Maybe what I meant at that time was that sick people get cured in the hospital, but the people we consider “normal” also get cured in the theatre. And if we look at the statistic we see that more theatres are required than hospital. I must have been referring to Africa in that poem hahaha, because that’s where people still believe that development is when you build more blocks and wide roads, while the genuine human development suffers at the expense of our quest to catch up with Europe, but I ask myself if this aspects of development is really what makes us happy, why are we still sad in Europe? I can’t remember precisely the context within which I wrote it, but I think it’s close to this.

Does ritual have an importance for your work?

Well it depends on what you refer to as “Ritual” if you are talking about some procession, which calls for the beheading of a cow, and its blood serving as wine or its skin used for clothing purposes, then I think that’s what we do with animals. If it is in that sense, it sure does, because I’m quite concerned about that cow. And on the other hand, if you are talking of something transcendental, that deals with truth and something fundamentally in connection with the earth and all that dwell therein, the sky, and very conscious of space and time. Something that has a soul, spiritual yet profane. I think all these have an importance in my work.

Do you have a wish, an aim for the future?

I only wish that the ideas I send into the world will resonate and have some impact in its little capacity. I don’t have any specific aim for the future, one step at a time; I am still trying to deal with the present and my actions today will surely pave the way for my tomorrow.