This Oyinbo life sef!

Before stepping foot in the white man’s land, Everyone said it was one of the highest achievements one could ever attain. That my life would change for the best instantly, the grass is ‘over’ green on this side, that I would have fewer things to worry about and in short, this is a PERFECT LIFE!

BUT…

No one said the cold would almost make me lose my mind, or that I would have to subject myself to learning ‘phone’ orBritish accent because these people say they find it hard to understand my kind of English.

Nobody told me to be prepared for a culture shock. where I had to get used to calling my lecturers by their first name or in some cases a nickname depending on the lecturer. instead or Mr this or Miss that, Dr Teke or ‘Prof Prof’, Daddy, Baba, or Mummy as I was used to calling my lecturers back at home or else your carry over is just nearby.

Yes, indeed, they told me I would not miss home cooking as such- and I really did not. well…sometimes. with one too many African restaurants and shops you might not miss much.

BUT!

They also did not tell me I would not be able to eat my Agbalumo, roasted corn, point and kill, Masara (my definition of boiled corn), ube, Mango that drips juice down through your elbow as you use your tongue to put it under control. No one said I would miss eating dried Aya, Kush and Dush, drinking Kunu and Zobo (need I mention pure water in those dry and hot Abuja weather).They did not tell me I would have to fast from Fura and Nunu, fired cheese (Wara), and Ofe Owerri! Lord! the thought of how much I have missed is making me cry sef. which kain life be this?

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They forgot to also tell me that Christmas and Easter would be like a day of mourning. you are subjected to staying at home. Nothing like marathon eating from house to house (Including take away meat) or visiting UncleKeske for Christmas Choi.They forgot to say my Amala would be replaced with mashed potatoes with peas and turkey roast or fish and chips and Apple crumbles. This Oyinbo life sef!

They told me I would have a better life here with more opportunities. More opportunities to grow? no doubt. but that better life ehn, more like I knew the true meaning of depression. As a typical Nigerian babe with a knack for psychology, there are certain illnesses we took for granted because the awareness of the severity wasn’t blown up like HIV or Ebola. So you could imagine when I came here and I was told I suffered from mild depression. I was like ‘is that a new type of Malaria?’ When you would always have to RSVP before visiting someone, why wouldn’t people be depressed? You cannot just be in the neighbourhood and say ‘i was passing, and I just wanted to say hello even though half the time, it is a lie’.

Talking about RSVP, nobody informed me that to attend a wedding, common wedding o you would have to RSVP on or before a particular date or else, no food for you. And your RSVP admits one; when in Naija, one invitation card is for ‘and family’ (which really means anybody).

No one ever told me I  would know the true meaning of racism. that there is a difference between been black and being African, that even amongst my African people, I would face segregation- when we all need to fight and stand for our rights, we are Africans but when it is time to reap the benefits, I become Nigerian or Ghanian or East African. No one prepared me for the backlash I would receive from these dear white people because of the colour of my skin. I would have to deal with been labelled with an identity when filling out every ‘equal opportunities’ form that says: choose one of the following, African (Black), Black (Carribean), Black (British).

No one prepared my mind for the cynicism of the British man, that when a British man tells you something is good, you have to check the semantics and syntax and when he says ‘ I’m afraid’, just get on those two knees of yours to pray he is not about to throw a bombshell at you.

I wish someone told me that my passport would sometimes stand as a hindrance to getting a good job here. My certificate would in some cases be an obstacle because my boss is probably just a diploma holder and he/she would not want to feel threatened by me. That no matter your degree, if you do not have any hands-on experience, you are going to OYO. I wish someone just whispered to me to be careful of all I read and hear because I would graduate a critic of almost everything cultural and issues on identity.

No one mentioned that the academia in this part of the world is based on competition. A ‘healthy’ competition teachers (un)consciously put in place for everyone to become rivals with each other because of a grade.

Nobody said, holding on to my Christian faith would be one of the toughest decisions I would ever make. Because social liberalism and Christianity have a lot of differences.

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Anyway, At least this Oyinbo life has made me love myself more, harness my strengths and work on my weaknesses. it has made me realise that all those times I almost regretted going to a public University prepared me for times such as this.

BUT… then again!

This Oyinbo life sef!

#BerlinMemoirs: wir lieben Straßenkunst

From Art critic Emilie Trice who calls it ‘the graffiti Mecca of the urban art world’ [though her statement is contested by other art critics], to UNESCO referring to it as the city of Design,then to various tourist admitting it is the most ‘bombed’ city in the whole of Europe. The city of Berlin cannot be mentioned without speaking of her street art.

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For the tourist who visit Berlin on a regular, most of the questions they ponder on are: Are the street arts legal and do they still represent expressionist movement/art?

Before diving into the questions, it is pertinent to understand how the street art came about.

Two decades after World War II gave Germany a hard blow, they found it daunting to regain all  that the war had taken from them.it took  years after the war for  Turkish and French migrants to occupy places that were destroyed by the war. For them to remember history and comment on the situation in Germany and the political world at the time, the migrants took to carving words on concrete and making temporary paintings on the  famous wall and on buildings. Overtime, it became a muse for other artists like XOOOOX, Mein Lieber Prost and Alias who turned places the military had occupied to a playground of  street art.

To answer the above question, it  is difficult for most Berliners to answer if street art is legal because the streets are filled with these art forms, but the artists are arrested if found painting on the walls. Though it seems illegal but tourist get mesmerised by these graffiti’s and as you know, tourists help to strengthen the economy.

In an interview with one of Germany’s ‘THE LOCAL’ newspaper, head of German Police anti-graffiti team Marko Moritz maintains that the Police regard graffiti as a criminal activity.According to Moritz, his team’s job is to arrest members whose paintings are not exactly rooted in the art but in what he terms as Gang Culture which he described as unscrupulous youths bombing buildings, trains and sidewalks with their signature and all shade of colours wich he expresses as a cruel way to deface public property.

While in Berlin, my teammates and I focused on Appiah’s theory of Cosmopolitanism as it relates to Baudrillard’s theory of the glass reflection. Our aim was to understand how and why cosmopolitans view these graffiti without expressing any form of feeling or aura. which brought about our use of a reflective glasses.

Details of those pictures are on http://www.mediaresearchmethods.wordpress.com or if you are in Coventry in July, visit us at the Glass box in the 11th-17th for the exhibition.

To answer the second question, I ask- do you consider the art you have viewed above expressionist?

I am of the opinion that all forms of art like Benjamin Walter express how the artist sees and understand his/her society. Some of the street art did not mean much to me but for the fact that the artist used a blend of interesting colours, i as every other cosmopolitan and tourist in Berlin had to click on our cameras shutter for memories.

 

 

Katie Patterson’s Totality

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To celebrate the 70th anniversary of the council of Arts which coincidentally clashed with the 500th anniversary of Utopia, Somerset house in collaboration with the art council introduced eight new commissions on display at the house. One of which was Kate Patterson’s Totality.

Katie Paterson’s  totality comprises of  images of nearly every solar eclipse that’s been documented by humankind; through drawings and since photography began, including the oldest solar eclipse drawings from hundreds of years ago, and the earliest 19th-century photographs, to images from the most technological advanced telescopes now.(This woman is Queer!)

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Her work is on display as a mirror ball with two illuminating lights. You can never miss it when you see it. it’s like entering the moon for a minute. I wonder how she came about all the images and pictures.

The commission is part of Somerset House’s Utopia 2016: A Year of Imagination and Possibility

Chronicles Of An Expeditionist: #Utopia2016

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The trip was long overdue. Though I hadn’t the slightest idea of what Utopia is/was as the case maybe.Up until my visit to Somerset house in WestMinster I had no clue what it was all about but all thanks to GOOGLE for giving me the heads up when I needed it.

Utopia happens to be a book written by Thomas Moore (I remember him from the book A Man For All Seasons- all thanks to my Literature teacher who compelled us to buy the book we never read) which describes a world totally different from ours where there would be neither pain nor hatred. Utopia 2016 marks the 500th anniversary.

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Utopia 2016 marks the 500th anniversary of the literal text and in celebrating, the Utopia hub opened her doors to creatives from fashion, literature,theatre,film  and the list goes on who would speak on how the text has inspired them all to strive for excellence by pursuing their ideas- which might sometimes be queer.

One of such was a man who has been fascinated by the idea of taking pictures underwater to show the beauty of the world under water. At first, when I heard him speak, my Nigerian superstitious belief said: ‘this man must be a from the underworld- which we usually  term as manny water’.

In the cause of the man’s speech who left his family job to travel around oceans just to take pictures under water, he highlighted certain things I took home as  life lessons.

  1. Go the extra mile to live out your dream
  2. Do not just have a PASSION, have a strategy to actualize the passion, Don’t Just Hashtag, take  ACTION!
  3. Remember passion is vital but have a strategy is pretty much everything.

And on that note, I ask you, Yes! You ! What are you doing with that passion?

#Utopia 2016 would run for four seasons this year. That means you still have a chance to visit the amazing city in a house.

 

Afromysterics: Rebellious Lawyer turned Master of Air

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Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference- Robert Frost.
 This poem directly expresses the life of Laolu Senbanjo who is popularly known as afromysterics is a  Lawyer from the south-western part of Nigeria. He took up law as a profession after his father when he was denied an opportunity to study art and music in school which has always been his passion. He first worked at the Human rights commission in Nigeria but realised he would not happy or rather in his own words, ” I felt like a there was a missing piece I needed to fill”. Most of his family members saw his art  and music style as fetish and against the Christian doctrine which his family practiced.
In 2007, Laolu Senbanjo created the brand Afromysterics, a term he uses to describe the ‘Mystery of African Pattern’. His form of art portrays the culture of Africans in realism After quitting his job as a lawyer and moving to New York in 2013 without a penny, Laolu found inspiration in using anything he could lay his hands on as his canvas especially the human body especially the nude human body.He says his moment of epiphany happened when he came across a picture of New York’s renowned jeweller and model Reign Apiim striking a pose in front of his art. in his words, “I could see an extension of her. It was like everything just came together in that work.”
Ever since his eureka moment, Laolu has registered his painting on shoes,clothes and any form of  fashion statement piece that people can hold onto and regard as priceless. speaking of his idea of using the nude human body as his canvas, Laolu says:”I call it the Sacred Art of the Ori because it’s the essence of humanity itself. I try to paint on you what I see as ancestral skin. It’s like I’m giving you new skin. I look at you, and your body tells me what to do. So I feed off your energy, and that has to be right. I feel very connected with that person, and they take a part of me with them.”
On the 24th of March, the afromysterics master was asked to make statement pieces of the Nike Air Max shoes at the AIR MAX CON where he would be using his art to express his love for Air Max, New York City, and sports.
Laolu’s work was featured on the 24th to 26th of March.He highlighted his African roots as the world celebrated Nike’s popular Air Max brand. He made a special appearance the 25th of March.
Photo Credits: Instagram/laolunyc

Musings Of A Researcher

 

My trip to Birmingham was an eye opener. Despite the cold and the task my teammates and I were given,(which at some point was exhausting- try smiling to a plethora of people for a long time and you would have a clue of what I am talking about) i had on ” ethnographic researchers cap” on (I actually thought I left it in Coventry). while the task was ongoing, my colleague and I found a RIVER ISLAND store that had quiet an interesting  yet questionable.

The store had at the entrance of it’s building a couple of black mannequins, all blonde and taking selfies. this strategy brought a lot of questions to mind.

 

  1. why did the store choose to use all black mannequins?
  2. Does this imply their major customers are blacks or vice versa?
  3. Why were all the black mannequins wearing a blonde wig?
  4. Is River Island trying to drive a message that says most black girls are going blonde?which is a fallacy.
  5. Why are these black mannequins taking selfies?
  6. Are they implying black girls take more selfies than any other race?                          These were some of the questions that I began to ponder on while at the store. What is your take on it?                                                                                                                                That been said, we had to take a selfie with the selfie girls. oops! mannequins
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I’ll Write you a Love note

 

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Still on my Birmingham experience, one of the task some groups were asked to work on was about them writing a poem on the city and the life of people in the city (I was so glad my group did not get that task) but we were all asked to work on it either way. though i have a knack for poetry, I could literally spend my last to listen to poetry and don not get me started on what happens to me when someone writes a poem about me. do not just try to get me started on that issue.

Now the thing is, I doubt if I am so much of a good poet myself but I decided to try my hands on it. However, it may not be like that of Shakespeare (which I would tell you about in no time) neither does it have all the “punch lines” that comes with metrical compositions. Anyways,  check it out below and I would love to know what you think about it. don;t forget to drop a comment.

PS: it wasn’t written for anyone in particular.

A LOVE NOTE

I know one day I would write a love note.

About how you found me doing the lord’s business

How your endearing words became soothing to my sores

I would write about how you were a blessing to my life

How you were patient with loving me.

I know one day, I would write a love note

About how you knew my mumu button and never took it for granted,

About how you loved me unconditionally

Though I found it hard to be vulnerable to you- yet you loved me still.

I know one day I would write a love note

On how your words of wisdom brought chills to my spine, On how you communicated your thoughts to me with no holds barred even when I was too selfish or maybe proud or maybe…

I know one day I would write a love note

About how I dreamt of your body interlocked in mine and you whispered I LOVE YOU in the dark sheets.

I would write about how your hugs bring warmth to my soul.

I would write about how selfless you are to me and people around you.

I would write about how you taught me not to be afraid of making tough decisions.

I would write about how valuable you are to my spiritual, social and emotional life.

I would write on how you inspired me to chase all my dreams and aspirations and you were never intimidated by the strides I took

I know one day I would write about how Jordin Sparks No Air resonates in my thoughts when you are not by my side.

One day I would write about how we prayed and shared God’s word together, I would write about your unique leadership skills to me and all those you lead.

I know one day I would write a love note

On how you spoke the truth to me even when I did not want to hear it.

On how the men of God you respect showed us the way to love as Christ loved.

I know one day I would write a love note

About how I bless the woman that gave you life and raised you to the man you have become.

I know one day I would write a love note

But that day is surely not today.

-Blackfab

Continue reading “I’ll Write you a Love note”

With Love from BHM City

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In the course of my studies, I have come to terms with my learning technique. classroom activities are good but I enjoy leaving my comfort zone to study people and a new environment. gladly, I had this opportunity on the 23rd of March. my classmates and I were asked to experience ethnography as a methodology for research in media culture and communication. this experience took us to one of the largest cities in England- Birmingham.

we were shared into groups of seven and each group was to carry out a different task. mu group was asked to walk and talk as we shared the tensions we might face in the course of our research. at first, I thought walking and talking would not be a bad task at all. in fact, I thought it was the simplest thing to do. but! I was wrong especially when the weather is a major distraction. the purpose of the task was to enable us as aspiring researchers and research student understand a potential respondents environment. it was to showcase the challenges people face on a daily basis, observing and making sure we are unbiased with our reports.

it was a terribly cold spring  Wednesday, I could barely think effectively while my colleague and I walked round Birmingham city centre. it made us realise one of the challenges we might come across. Weather conditions would affect people’s mood per time and invariably the result the researcher aims to get might be flawed.i.e. a cold weather cold make people gloomy and a sunny one… I bet you know by now!

The Birmingham trip was worth the while and i would love to do it again and again.