I am learning a few things. I still write. I am grateful. I am learning though man’s ability for hate. Our indolence to watch the reputation and Goodwill ofs somebody else beeingb stripped away from him. In the last one year or more, humanity has been under a severe pandemic. We have lost friends, loved ones sometimes names just appear and we get cold shivers. The grave has been very busy receiving bodies.
There’s something else that has been growing. We have received posts, stories by supposed experts. I learned about conspiracy stories. I learned about a group of people whose sole aim is to warn me against anyone who might be silly enough to wish to help me fight or survive the pandemic. They tell me, that the pandemic is something evil, created from a lab to wipe me out of existence. Another one warns me against considering vaccines. It is interesting and sad. Have we really considered how we got here? I used to think that when I get to 70, I would understand everything. I had a lot of fun chatting with my grandma. I have fun watching my grandchildren. At different age levels, they offer me a world through their eyes. I learn and I am grateful at my wonder when they see a world that I left years ago. Standing at the departure hall of this existence, I wait for my ticket to be called. My hunger now is a curiosity what my journey will feel like. To the best of my understanding, I will chat again …soon I hope.
When you hear the word artist, all types of pictures come to your mind. If you are wealthy, you fancy a Picasso? Impressionist? Surreal? If like me the names just float over your head. You have holes in your pocket besides, you comfort yourself that you want to live in the present. You throw your mineral bottle out the door. You are then confronted with the bottle in a different setting, and this young man walks up to you. Quiet smile and says his name is Gbenga Adeku. You swallow and stare. A thrill walks up your spine as you stare at the ant. You remember you were taught to be as industrious as the ant. This ant was the bottle you threw out. You swallow again, shake your head and Gbenga stretches his infectious smile,and invites you to his studio.
Welcome to Centerspread with Gbenga. Come with me for this conversation.
Please tell us a bit about yourself
I am Gbenga Adeku. I am an upcycle artist. Upcycle means I create high value art from waste Items. I am a protege of the famous Dotun Popoola. A son of Segun Adeku one of the few neo-african printmakers. I have a passion for fine art so I studied at obafemi awolowo university, graduated 2015, served and started out as a freelance artist for a few years before discovering a strong anti-waste drive. I currently run XtetixUpcycle an art studio centred on upcycling and teaching youths to do the same.
2. As a child, did you want to be like your dad?
. As a child I always wanted to be an artist, it felt like being an astronaut to me. I was an apprentice to my dad as early as I could remember. I thought what he was doing must be important as he mostly had many foreign friends over at his gallery cum studio. He let me draw and at times play with his art materials. I enjoyed the freedom I feel even then.
Yes, I would say I really wanted to be like him.
3. What tilted you to your very peculiar art?
. What tilted me…old empty perfume glasses & exotic wine bottles. Those always look exquisite to me, and it always take too long for me to dispose them. PET bottles were the exact opposite, I thought they weren’t exquisite, they were everywhere. They’re such a nuisance. Like a metaphor for bad human relationship, I found out that I like the bottles before I bought the drink but disposes off indiscriminately as soon the drink runs out. The guilt of knowing my mindset contributes to toxifying the environment converted by disinterest in plastic waste into keen passion. I started to pay attention to plastics, in doing so I discovered how much more they could do, become, and even speak if they were given voices.
4. Climate change is an issue that some human beings are yet to come to terms with, I am stunned by your exhibition, why do you do this?
. Of all the solid waste degrading our planet, in my opinion plastic waste is the most violent, yet the most easily generated and hardest to properly dispose. I want Nigerians to see their “discards” become more. I want to share the truth of the living dirt. Paying attention to waste is the first step to gaining an environmental awareness.
.5 What influences your art?
. Just as a musician is inspired, I am influenced by my surroundings, issues of daily life, love, hope, spirituality, most especially the 21st century african pop culture. Let’s just say I like to express myself per time.
6. The artist makes a comment as he receives, what is the most urgent comment you want to make?
. Gbogbo ènìyàn ló lè lórí Afínjú. Meaning every human can have a cautious, aesthetic & an environmentally proactive mindset.
7. How affordable are your works?
. I see my works as properties, like a real estate asset, so I’ll say my works goes for friendly prices likened to buying plots of land in small Nigerian towns.
8. There have been artists that stamp themselves on the psyche of their society through their works. What type of stamp are you looking at?
. Maybe a Plastic Lazarus stamp, but sincerely I’m particularly not looking for a stamp, so to say, but I’m certain it will find me with consistency in time.
9. Please share with us your average day.
. My average day starts by 6am with prayer, podcast & good music to go. Studio works starts around 7am/9am. I keep a to-do list, but mostly do between 30%-60% per day. The process of detailed works gets boring so I play loud music to keep me going. I take intermediate breaks as my mind, body or logistics demands, work closes by 5pm, sometimes earlier. I took the habit of working at night from my father. 4 times a week, starting from 2am. That is how I spent most days.
10. What has been the effect of your art on your contemporaries?
Wow, I haven’t considered that. I probably can’t measure that at this moment, but I certainly hope to inspire my contemporaries to take on upcycling. I have friends who keep sack loads of pet bottles for me. They know I need it plus they probably don’t like the guilt of throwing it away.
11. Please share your frustrations and successes?
. My number one will be *Environmental awareness* I believe the government and environmentalist organizations can do more educating the people at the grassroot level that means the towns & rural settlements in Nigeria.
My second frustration is that there’s too much plastic waste to upcycle. Once you tell someone about the dangers of these plastic, the reaction is mostly positive. They begin to keep the pet bottles that they drank from, soon a sackload, 2 or more is stacked at their yard. Only to spend months before going to the landfill because recycling hub isn’t yet a thing. It isn’t yet a commercial business for the masses like POS money agents. If it were, I’ll have more peace.
12. How do we reach you to book?
. I am on Instagram as @gbengaadeku and you can also contact me on orilafinju.com
13. What other medium can we employ to manage our waste in a world being over- burdened by human neglect and ignorance?
: The most wasted human resource is our brain and this is the reason why other things around us go to waste and we don’t have the slightest clue on how to make things better. So first we need to educate each other, especially the generation Z that waste management is integral to a healthy planet. We also have to intentionally create industries invested in waste upcycling, recycling and not just disposal.
I was thinking of this lately.I felt I had become a charity case. As I got older, I was stunned to come across friends who rarely said anything. One particular friend in fact comes to mind. Quite comfortable and tended to give me the impression she tolerated me. We had a habit of having arguments more often than chats. She would point out that I was too much of a personal introvert. I would ask her in very acidic terms if she wanted a blabbermouth. Personal introvert? She will tell me I kept my pains personal. Ergh.
I did not even realize she was a silent champion of some of my experiences as she was also close mouth near me. Life can sometimes give you more limes than you need for a lemonade and I had learned to sweeten the limes my way. Sometimes I streamed out my pain in poetry. It was the only way I learned to talk. Communicate my inmost thoughts. Not very surprised to learn I could count my friends on a finger. Who needs them I would taunt myself as I tried to stare down the pinpoints of pain and longing I suspected I saw in my eyes.
Hey, this piece is not a moan. I want you to be able to come back and read again right? Good. What did I start with? Giving as gift. Cool. Have you thought of giving your love quietly as a gift? Thinking compassionately of someone in a loving quiet way?. Particularly if that someone is likely going to make you clench your fingers and hold your breath as you tell yourself to stick a smile on.
Giving to someone when our intention is to box the ears of that particular person? I have experienced it. It is not giving a material gift, but giving another human being a second chance to redeem love from you. It is the best gift. I have my own problems understanding that but I sigh as I remember the good Lord admonished us not to enter his synagogue if we are at odds with one another. Sometimes in annoyance I find myself praying that the brother will not come by so I can enter His synagogue in some semblance of peace. I discovered it never works. My synagogue is my heart, my spirit and my sacred place. I must learn to worship the Father in the open airy space of peace in the meadows of my soul where all is beauty, songs and gratitude. I learn that giving is a gift, a gratitude returned for the love of the Father towards me. I am alive, pulsing, and moving.
Love is giving, and that we must learn how to earn. The ability to love and give it in your thoughts, in the comments you make to another about anyone, and your activity in creation.
Suddenly, you earn yourself the peace of listening to the beats of creation. The whirring sound of the wind in the grass, the silence has a shape and a song and there is promise and gratitude in your soul,
I very rarely come on to the social media. I ask myself, why I need so many followers, I come across the word influencer and I shake my head for I do not want to be bound. Life is continuous motion to animate the spirit. I am at the edge of a world. I sense the rotation of other worlds under pulsing conditions. There is motion all around me. Learning and moving is the basis of the human longing even in his sciences. He feels he is an embryo who must assimilate and imbibe , be alive and pulsate with the movements. Why will I want to bind myself to an edge of a vastness I can only dimly sense?
I learn that If I learn that giving is a gift, I understand one law..’throw your bread upon the waters’, ‘only in giving do we receive the benefits of Love we once received when the gates opened and man became conscious in His Subsequent Creation with the possibility of Eternity.
To earn the possibility of being part of IS in creation. The greatest gift we ever received when the Lord gave.
Learn to give from yourself friend, for giving is a gift and we are recipients of this gift.
The last post I had here was sharing some of my thougghts of my experiences. I chatted about writing the television series I NEED TO KNOW. I decided to reach out to the young persons I met while shooting the series. My first responder is a young man I called Vince. He had kept in touch and sent me greetings when I turned70. A conversation evolved. This is the main outcome of my conversation with Vince.
: In the series I need to know, you took on the role of Vince, what did you think?
Starring as Vince in the series was the greatest challenge for me then as it was the main male
character of the series and I knew I just had to put every other thing aside to pass
the message and showcase myself
: 2. At the end of the series, did the series have any effect on you?
Oh yes I learnt a lot from the series.
And I want to say that though I got on set as an art student but left as a medical student in the sense that it taught me about my health and my self. I would say being the very first time of acting along side great and fantastic actors
from the industry, It was also my first time being involved in an international project
3.What lessons did the series impact on you personally
On a personal note, I would say that it took away carelessness from me as I
started knowing about responsibility and accountability, values, morals, healthy
lifestyle etc. It also helped me to caution my emotions and taught me to be a good parent (thanks to Dr Tanya). There were lots of misinformation out there which were all corrected by going through the scripts and watching other actors deliver their lines
4. Did you make lasting friends from the series?
After the recording of the series, we all had to go about our studies which was
very paramount to us all then. Well, I would say to an extent.
5. Tell us a bit about yourself twenty years after the series
Well, I am Ayoola Munis (arpa) a broadcasting journalist, voice over artiste, advertiser and creative director. I am also married to Abiodun Ajayi Munis (medical doctor) and we are blessed with a daughter AraOluwa Munis.
We reside in Canada but the Nigerian blood still flows.
I ve just started my career in life professionally and I believe in getting the job done at the right time.
6. Was anyone affected by your role? Share please
I wouldn’t really know if anyone was affected by the role played but my talent created lots of spark for people of my age then, to go into acting.
: 7. In Today’s understanding, do you think the series could still be effective?
For such series to break even now is really going to take a lot of energy, dedication,
professionalism, trust from parents (especially those who watched the series then)
It is possible but it’s really going to be a tough one because of what now trends
in the social media and on the minds of young people out there
8. What are parenting issues that could be revisited? Share your thoughts.
Availability, communication, affection, education, morals and values.
Example, Vince’s mum was there to communicate with him as she had to double up
as a father and friend. Vince was just that talented lucky child that could have been
misled by peer pressure.
May would have been a lucky girl but she had no communication with
her parents as domestic violence was king between her dad and mum.
Lack of education for Amina’s parents and region, affected her decision making in life, as she was forced to follow the tradition of the land which led her hand to
be given out in marriage to a much older person.
Green didnt know his father and was exposed to street life which turned him to a street boy and almost ruined his life.
9. What do you think the producers of the series should add to reproductive health issues if they wish to revisit the series
Vision and ability to believe in one’s self. Lots of young ones are tossed here
and there for lack of vision and do not believe in their ability to achieve or
be a better person in life, though financial constraint might affect them also.
10. What lasting impact did the series have on you then and now?
For that, I would say responsibility
11. Thank you for sharing, please give us further comments on your views as Today’s parent.
Though parents are really working, doing a lot for their kids to have a bright future but it wont be enough to order them to do their homework, chores and other things, rather, do it with them.
Be positive in all you do before them and never tell them lies.
Take their minds away from sin by helping them know God early enough in life.
Remember that the future depends on the present.
Vince of I NEED TO KNOW, known to us as Ayoola Munis, thank you for sharing with me.
Growing Old….. I NEED TO KNOW
Some twenty years or more ago, I was an enthusiastic writer of a drama series I NEED TO KNOW, Most of the cast and crew were young men and women I was meeting for the first time. I remember Bisi, or better stated Funke Akindele. A young, vibrant and irrepressible girl who constantly had a hoarse voice and had a vivacity you could almost feel. She was Bisi in the series and had a definite mind of her own. She was friends with her mates Ngozi, Hauwa and Essien. The four girls in the first season of the series. It was interesting how the girls interacted with each other and their general mother, Mrs. Tomori or otherwise referred to as Carol King. For a long time, I had a problem separating the girls from their roles. Maybe it was because the series I NEED TOKNOW was such a hit. The girls had fun, made it the series look so real that even when they were off camera, the jokes went on unabated.
Mrs. Tomori became a real big girl to the girls and boys. There was Bayo, who got a role because he kept making fun of the young man who was being auditioned to such a level that Lloyd Weaver asked him to audition and against expectation became the lead male actor Bayo in season one of the series. Bayo became a full actor after he read theatre arts from Ibadan.
I am flipping the pages and taking some interesting reading of my experiences because recently the cast and crew of this series came together and memories flooded in. What was the series about? Looking at students of Independence Memorial college and how they faced questions of adolescence and sexuality. UNFPA wanted to have a series that used drama to create a fun teaching of reproductive health issues. It hoped that adolescents will have the answers to the questions of sexuality and reproductive health and be empowered enough to take responsible decisions on their reproductive health issues. In addition, it was to help underline the need to take positive decisions on issues so they could achieve life goals not hampered by child marriages, female genital mutilation, early teenage pregnancies and a host of other things.
As the deputy representative Daniel Landry explained, UNFPA added parent /child communication guideline for adults in the series. I NEED TO KNOW became a monster hit and the cast became stars in their own right. What happened to them after the series had run its course? What was the effect of the series on the cast and crew? When we met, there was camaraderies, memories and high fives. I wanted to learn how we all were making progress on the highway of life, dreams and ambitions.
Bisi as Funke Akindele we all always knew. Funke Akindele learned the enter –educate style and became the widely popular Jenifa in Jenifa’s Diary and has continued an activist drama series that states her vision and guide in her comedy skits that make sense. Did we sense that when she was Bisi? Did we have any reason to expect she was going to be such a thoughtful social commentator?
Jenifa’s Diary has created its own space in our media world and I salute Funke for visioning an interesting series.
Do you remember Vince? The Cassanova boyfriend of May who gave his mother sleepless nights because he had a thing on May, a young girl we projected as having HIV? His mother Tanya who was a doctor in the series had to separate her medical responsibilities from her concerns as a mother.
Vince became a professional mass communicator, and tells me, that what he learnt as a young actor affected his love life to make him a restrained person. He has taken parts in other media aspects of his life, conducts interview and longs for opportunity to allow today’s young persons learn how they can take effective control of the issues of life and goals.
What are those issues now? Fraud, a misplaced decision to make money by whatever available means possible. Fast cars, fraudulent practices, drugs, cybercrimes have overtaken the youth of today. A young man hacked my Facebook account and put out a story that I have benefited from money doubling. The intention was to sway my friends into taking such short cuts. It was a very sad experience for me. This is one of the young person I had offered a free writing course so he could learn about being a writer. The feeling of someone stealing my identity was very strange, it was sad to find the attempt to smear me as a dishonest money doubler painful.
Can a series like I NEED TO KNOW help such a human being? Are we truly lost in a world so dark and dense that the principles we learned in growing up may no longer suffice to comfort us as grow old?
I used to wonder what I would feel like as I approach seventy. I remember when I was 69 my children smiled and said my seventieth was going to be their show, I would be Mama 70 and theywould laugh. I celebrate my birthdays. Always emerging from weeks of contemplation thankful and quiet. I rarely had a birthday party until I got to my sixties.
I remember a birthday some half a century ago. I had suddenly decided to visit my village, The oddest thing was I was a boarding student then and rarely was granted exeat like other students. The civil war had justended and my father as a former police officer had retired as a security officer fora timber company. During the civil war, he had been captured by the rebel soldiers and held hostage until his junior officers confirmed e was not Igbo and he was released withhis bosswhowas British then. For the three months, he was away with the igbos I had become an emergency head of family. Ihad gone through the harrowing experience of burying a man who was cut down in a barrage of gun fire by drunken federal soldiers in ourpresence. I slept with the sound of that gunfire for nights until my father who turnedup weeks later shared the experiences with me. When the young igbo widow roamed the streets crying and holding her new born helplessly, relief came when papa went looking for the commanding officer and ensured the woman was taken intocare. One meadow that stayed dark for ever. In the dark, I could only see my confusion, my hate. In the dark was my cry of the Western riots years earlier, when we stood on the balconies and tried which group of thugs were in the horizon and yelled ‘UPGA: or other wise in order to stay alive as #operation wetie’ ravaged Lagos. We survived the long walks , the yellingcrowds and sometimes the flames. In that meadow came the civil war. I had igbo friends had started teaching my dad some of the igbo phrases my friends taught me and I even has my first go oyfriend
The horizon? At that time, it was hazy, dark. You stared at everyone suspiciously. I learnt I was Yoruba, I had grown up in the North, the wide open dusty spaces of school, speaking Hausa with my schoolmates,folktales, Mr. Abdul andhis funny shoes. Hausa jokes barely could speak Yoruba, My step mother who brought meup could only teach me in Hausa, she was Shuwa Arab, It did not mean anything. My father’s other wives spoke a language I could not understand, until much later did I learn it was a dialect of my hometown that I visited when I was already a teenager.
I was introduced to my mother. We stared most times at each other. I was always very polite. Said all the polite things. Thank you Ma. I am not hungry ma when she offered me food.
Then she told me a love story about how she met my father,when she eloped with him to the North,the uproar and then the marriage. How she became a Christian and how I came about. Wow. I remembered and used that as a story in Nuen Yeye. It explained a bit of me and my dreams.
It was meadow that had a sun streaming light into it and gave me a glimpse of the horizon. Milky dawns tinted with song of me as writer like the fingers of the dawn streaked through the meadow and I could open my eyes to a dawn that gleamed.
I look again into Yesterday, this meadow,left fingerprints on my soul. It was meadow that yawned its boredom with my ignorance and teased janus a couple of time.
I make preparation for October as Janus slipped back several steps and opened the door to so many yesterdays.
I will share, as I peepand smiles hope like the pairs of trousers I had once given my love, my heart and dreams.
The agonies of wife, mistress, friends and life
- I have had quite a lot of conflicting thoughts lately. I usually go into a contemplative mood as my birth month and date approaches. This year, it was markedly different. I am going to be 70. Not much different right? I have friends who are much older. For me, three score and a decade, I felt like Methuselah. I went into a depression that puzzled me. I just could not bring myself to look forward to the date. Each day became an agony of reflections. I went back to my library and frowned at my books. Published and unpublished. I wondered when I would be a household name. I speculated about Maya Angelou, Jane Austen, Zulu Sofola, Gerry Huntman, Keith Walters. Private and public stars in my literary world.
I wondered about friends and friendships. I became uncomfortable wondering about such awful thoughts. I recognized the desperation to have felt love and experienced what I might call love. A very awful and depressing time. Did I want to celebrate this awfulness? Why did each day present itself in such sad colours to me
I saw myself outside of Creation living amongst aliens. It was crazy. Kept waiting for me to wake up from the environment.
This morning I did. I woke up to me. Always questioning, my age, my loves, my pains, my conviction in a Creator, and yes my despair over humanity. The odd calmness had lifted. I did not dread the day. I sighed. I was back into humanity. I felt a huge relief as I sent up a prayer of thanks. I am back to normal. I am back learning the basis of Love, understanding the essence of God’s love. I am learning to see His Mercy. I stand grateful and expectant of Grace.
I will like to share my journey as I stand expectant in the departure hall of Creation.
Most times, I wonder how as humans we always come to a flat level. The personal… ultimately we are concerned with ourselves. I always wanted an answer..why is the human being ultimately only interested in himself? Does he carry the ability to wonder what the son’s of the Light saw as they watched us? Can we step above ourselves and see? The ant can not comprehend the elephant but is boastful of its ability to be a nuisance. Our faith or convictions we’re intended to show us a basic underlying principle…Love. Jesus must have felt some sadness when He gave us the clue..Love your neighbor as yourself. Love conquers, it heals, binds and upholds. It is selfless. It teaches us the one thing we lack, the clarity to serve. Love swings on the axis of Creation. It is the rationale for our existence. There is the joy and the pain in the garden as Jesus found our obtuse selfish greed painful. Being Love Incarnate, He could not condemn. We are Christians? How? Through our denominations? Jesus had only one. Man created the others. Some of us felt we moved and see ourselves as adherents of the Message. We are sometimes very vindictive, callous and totally merciless while we tear into tiny bloody shreds anyone who cares to have a contrary view. We kill anyone who follows the injection to search diligently. We love orchids. We lack the greatest gift that the King of the Grail gave to humanity. The gift of Maria as the consumate not that determined Creation.. Love.
Prepare your souls, the pain of dropping from your vault into the Father’s world. The agony …intense agony of serving Love…becoming a human…your birth into the cascading lights and glorious songs as you move or are propelled through the womb… to your birth and you open your eyes to Love.
Is there an affliction for the aged? First time I saw such a prayer I hesitated to say amen. I was curious. I asked myself that question. I am tired of all types of affliction. I am in the departure hall of Creation waiting for my flights. That was another friend telling me that when he turned 65 a year ago. We laughed over it. I asked him to explain, he said anytime a human being in the world today arrives at his age, he should mentally take himself to the departure hall of Creation ingratitude. He should prepare for his flight to be called. Hmmm. Can your flight be delayed? Do we have scheduled departures? A friend told me quite firmly that he had every intention of leaving at 60. I remember him saying, he would ask questions if he had to celebrate his 61stbirthday here on terra firma. When I asked him why he said he could not imagine him being70 here on terra firma. He died at 60
Why am I writing in this vein? Wish I can tell you but I have always been known to be reflective as my birthday approaches. I find myself reviewing and checking on what I want. Some of my friends shrug and say, a birthday is not particularly different from the previous day Problem for me is, usually three months before I instinctively become reflective. I reflect on my experiences, lessons learned and sometimes make resolutions. Not, not new year resolutions, I don’t do that, make new year resolutions. Just review us as humanity and the depths we have dropped into.
Should I go to the departure Hall of creation and await my flight? When I hear the comments rest in peace, I am usually uncomfortable. Imagine not being allowed to write for all of eternity. I am horrified by the intensity of that kind of pain. I will be 70 in a matter of weeks. I still love writing.
Standing on the edge of the vast Creation, I watch and sigh, like the elephant watches the ant. It sees the ant bust building its world which can easily be destroyed by the switch of its tusk. Does the elephant know of the ant by name? Crazy thoughts. I sense a vastness I will never fully comprehend, the ego of assuming you are part of Creation, the danger of being swept off if like the ant you become a nuisance. Does the Creator know my name? Is it important? The laws are there to take care of my dreams and longings.
My best friend sighs and tells me that she always knew I have these questions. I am looking forward to completing my 70th year here. It will be significant for me. Some questions will remain unasked as I really do not want some answers? Did my activities in creation encourage love?. Will the mention of my name bring forth a smile, a shrug. Can’t even remember my great grandmother. She earned the right to be referred to as my ancestor. That is funny
These days when I remember my dad,I smile, I can still see his face and my mum, we talk in a more friendly manner now. I am sure some of her pain for loving my dad is lessened. I see her now as a woman and understand the wild love she had for my dad. Have I ever felt that type of love for anyone? I am not in the confessional am I?
I just might be lucky and turn 70. I am grateful for the number of times my love was returned, given and cherished. I feel oceans of love for some too, who might never return it in the same quantum. I have been permitted so much in this creation. Like a pinpoint of light I stand overwhelmed, enmeshed enraptured by grace and mercies. The essence of love and beauty swamps my spirit and I am absorbent grateful spirit.
Thanks for reading, a part of my experience. What is the affliction of old age?
Does the Father Almighty know my name?
Alight pinpoint of gratitude shimmering in eternal praise.?