We have facts, but all of them have to be interpreted, these interpretation are like using a manual focus on a camera, each slight turn and the image gets clearer, what was hidden in the blur is equally true and what was coherent after is what we label as fact. Safe to say in coherence we make up truth, thus making reality as we know it a persistent and coherent illusion made tangible by our interpretation.
It is these interpretations that man and camera become siamese for, to make proof of, to make contact with truth or fact. And the flux being smarter, changes faster than a shutter, flowing on, leaving the siamese with a fraction, a dissatisfaction. And for these the flaneur goes back every day chasing the light till it is snuffed out of his or her lungs and at my death bed if I am lucky, my legacy will be like the last line of a famous Rilke poem, “The wall is builded of your images….”
The wall at Nok by Alara currently has my images. Life imitates art, my life must be art. If not then why bother?
Imposing my vision on what’s in front of me is my way of hijacking the world, the resulting work is how I justify my thug, asserting dramatic weight to otherwise bland events but before you conclude that it is fraudulent let’s analyze for a minute the objects in the frame as they present themselves imagining them as symbols. Chains attached to metal pole held sturdy by concrete on the foreground like a barricade impeding progress and a newspaper with rocks placed on it as if stifling the truth that the dailies hope to share. In a world where propaganda and click baits have eroded truth as we know it, no better visuals could articulate or summarize these events for me than this image.
You’ve heard it before — All photographs are self-portraits. We shoot our biases and sentiments.
At age five I was carted off to the boarding house. By morning on my first day, laces to my favorite shoes had been stolen because I ignorantly hung them by my bed. I learnt my first lesson about the true state of the world. Mad at my folks for leaving me there and unsure how to befriend anyone, I became a loner and couldn’t be bothered much about anything that didn’t particularly matter or directly concern me. I chose day dreaming as my favorite pastime, seeking my own truth and letting inanimate or my perception of the animate entertain me. Downside of this type of escape is you would care less for your academic books and your uniform will be torn or rough half the time.
Perched on the balcony of one of the buildings I stalk aerial shots from, I saw this kid talking to himself on his way back from school I guess, I didn’t even plan to shoot him but I enjoyed watching him entertain himself as I always do. Imagine my surprise when he was directly under my view and his backpack was open in a rough style that brought nostalgia. That kid is me. Here is a selfie. I have since re-imagined this photo in another body of work, that’s how much I love the photo.
On Quora, a smart person argued that a sign of true intelligence is to be quiet and calm etc. I have never particularly connected with those definitions and in fact I once aspired to that level of cool for a long time, e no possible. Imagine my excitement when someone in the comment box replied that Einstein was a talkative — haha good one!
I despise intellectual timidity — of course I am not defending babbles and pointless rants but rant if it will get your opinion out, rant if it will get your voice heard , rant if your intentions are to shake the root of ignorance and expand knowledge. The empty barrel might have been screaming “fill me up” but we glorify the squeaking wheel when we give it grease. At the fabled wedding dilemma where Jesus turned water to wine my favorite part of his specific instruction for the brewing of the miracle was gather empty pitchers then fill ’em up..
When I became a full-time artist and I needed to get the word out about my work, I made cold calls and showed up uninvited to people I thought mattered. Of course all of the doors were slammed in my face but what counted as effort for me was the action rather than the decorum of inaction and waiting to be discovered. Till date I have never paid for PR and even though I may have to pay soon for my next project, my mantra still remains that no one can toot your own horn louder than you and this is what happens when people with good work chooses to be quiet — mediocrity will become the norm and the so called good ones will gather in their favorite corner of the world and share footnotes on how the world only cares for bullshit work and they go head to head with an imaginary enemy.
I’ll say to you my dear friends, spread your wares on the floor of the market place that is the world, grab yourself a bell and ring and ring and ring, till your crowd gather then the gospel will be impactful. Then you can feed them the loaves and fishes — soul food.
Just imagine if Martin Luther King didn’t give that speech?
And while you toot your horn or blow your trumpet, you will quickly realize you are not the only noise maker in the room. Then panic sets in, you are worried they are louder than you, you are worried their music sounds better than yours, you are worried they make better art than you, you are worried soon the world will ignore yours and face theirs, most of all you worry that they are starting to encroach and want to shoot or do work like you, I’ll tell you a story.
Two artists, good friends, one in his 20’s and the other in his 50’s, both bubbling with ambition and piles of unsold art, took a trip to Dubai with intentions of pitching to galleries and patrons in the UAE for obvious reasons. After a long day of sightseeing and rejections they arrived at this beautiful boutique hotel that doubles as a contemporary art gallery owned and managed by a feisty yet honest American woman with a lifetime experience dealing and managing all sorts of art and artist. Pitch happened, the artist in his 50’s was more favored, the 20’s dude got no love, in his usual brazen never say never struck a conversation to know why he wasn’t getting any love, asked for advice on how to become great.
Feisty American replied, “Stop looking at anybody else’s work.” What the 20’s heard is what the guy in the image is doing, “Close your eyes to the BS and sing your song — oh sing- oh sing!”
The 20’s artist was liberated since then. He has gone on to make beautiful works from the depth of his core and has since remained unperturbed by encroachments. And when the spirit of worry rears its head for attention, he shuts his eyes tighter and blows life into his own trumpet making his life into a beautiful afro-beat and jazz song one photo at a time!
The immediate intention for most of my images is to convert and isolate the subject from what is around, from what is known of it to what I want to make of it sort of like a mask off, to peek into a future like a seer or step back in time. All this done with a material of the present.
With a mask on, everyday people are dubbed heavenly creatures and messengers from the other side in African tradition. See the masquerade images of Zohra Opoku and Leonce Agbodjelou. I was privileged to a rite of passage done for young boys in my culture and after the ceremony I emerged from the room a man. Of course, I am not telling you the activities that took place during the initiation but what was interesting for me was how I was treated by my Dad thenceforth, I was now a contemporary stripped of a teenager’s mask and wore an adult even though deep inside I am no different from the Five-year-old I described in the paragraphs earlier. the mask can liberate people’s identity and because of this, it influences others. The mask has many different meaning like the literal, symbolic, and behind the mask has many different themes. What are some masks in the real world and themes that connect to it?
“Masked, I advance,” said René Descartes, “but sometimes I wonder about the alternative. Imagine if we had no secrets, no respite from the truth. What if everything was laid bare the moment we introduced ourselves?” Wishful thinking..
In the image here, a Welder shields his eyes with a mask to protect them from the harsh sparks coming from the immense heat melting and welding metals into shapes he desired. Even in its literal form, it is as profound.
My surname confuses everyone including my fellow country people. My surname is Logo* which is an abbreviation of what is a lengthy appellation like one of those you’ve heard from Game of Thrones.
“OgunLogo Omo Eniyan, Ekun Takiji A nu kan gbeja ara e’’ translated as “The legion in one person, a sprightly Tiger that defends himself’’. My grandfather who I have once written about was nicknamed ‘’Kiniun Adugbo’’ “The Neighborhood Lion” and my Dad’s friends call him Ekun ( Tiger).
Well I am called Logor incase you thought I had a cat family nick name as well but my point is the attributes that makes up the poetic name of my ancestors are evident in my life and I have since embraced it, fierce independence in thought and action have made it easier to pursue my goals, won me friends and allies and it has also made me an anomaly. This image I shot because of the way the sculpted supposed Lion or Tiger head hangs over the kids as if it’s some kind of guardian angel, which brought to my mind many things, the role of the cat family in my nomenclature, the way my work makes me move through the urban jungle like a cat waiting to pounce on a kill of an image and lastly how it reminds me of the Chukwuemeka Ike’s classic, “The Bottled Leopard”.
A friend teased me recently to relax and stop carrying the weight of the world on my shoulder, my response was, this is how I know how to live. Like Odin, I am wired — intense or nothing. Safe to say my favorite response to such claims are in the lyrics of Michael Kiwanuka’s Home Again.
I left my head
Many times I’ve been told
All this talk will make you old
So I close my eyes
Moving on, moving on
Many times I’ve been told
Speak your mind, just be bold
So I close my eyes
Moving on, moving on
So I close my eyes
And the tears will clear
Then I feel no fear
Then I’d feel no way
My paths will remain straight
One day I know
I’ll feel home again