My name is Esan

The day promised to be very hot. He had his bath and still felt sticky, Esan imagined it was because of the dream. His nose still twitched from the smoke. Dressed, he got into his car and drove to the office. He saw Liz and gave her a grin, she scowled in return

Good morning

There is nothing good about the morning

It is standard greeting

Yeah and Liz gave the computer a scowl. Esan shrugged and went to his seat

More staff started arriving and Esan joined in the general camaraderie that was a television production room

Mr. Sunny walked in and the room went gradually quiet as he seemed to be looking at programme schedule for the day.

Liz got up from her desk, she had ignored the general teasing of the production boys and seemed preoccupied with the computer. She only looked up when Sunny walked in and said a brief hello. Esan was intrigued. Generally Liz was seen as one of the boys. She related with the other production staff. In fact he noticed that she had a wicked sense of humour and would give as much back chat during post mortems like the rest of staff. He knew that some of the boys wanted to sleep with her and he had always been amused by  her comments that the boys could not satisfy her. Esan always kept away from such discussion because the boys all knew about Tumi and left him alone.

The only person who never ever spoke about Tumi nor tease was Liz.

Liz now came over to his table and gave him another frown. Esan smiled

Think you can give the day a chance?

Do you know the meaning of names? Liz asked him abruptly

Esan stared, then shrugged  Is that your next programme?

Yeah, Sunny wants me to find out the meaning of names, like the idiots who call their babies Sunny for instance Liz clipped as Sunny walked up to them

Esan tried not to laugh.

Sunny raised his eyebrows and gave Liz a smile. There was a strange look in his eyes as he regarded Liz

I am Sunny by nature

Esan suddenly noticed the strain as Liz gave their boss a casual look and Sunny stuck his hands into his pockets and turned his back on Liz giving all his attention to Esan

I know the meaning of your name Esan, it means retribution in your language right?

Yes Mr. Sunny

All weapons fashioned against you cannot prosper right? Liz said in a mocking tone and turned around to give Sunny a baleful look

Sunny grinned. That is right? When am I to expect your programme ?

Esan replied ‘I should submit by Wednesday against a Thursday transmission’

Cool, I have given Jide the go ahead to schedule and included your programme for 11 pm

Thanks Esan murmured

Sunny gave Liz a mocking bow, And when will her ladyship bring her synopsis to the office for me to approve?

Liz snapped ‘It is already on your table’

Sunny walked off and Liz sighed ‘One of these days he will find I have claws and I scratch bloody’

She wiped her eyes. A mannerism that Esan found  unsettling. He however did not feel like asking her why.

The day ended for Esan with a phone call from Tumi asking if he was coming over for dinner. Suddenly the smoke smell came back and he told her he was going to be busy with editing his story. He tidied up his desk and headed for the editing room. He had refused to edit his story at the station because he wanted it as a surprise for everyone. He smiled imagining the reaction of Sunny when they watch the programme. He wanted special effects of burning fingers as he planned on being the narrator. His face darkened as he remembered the woman telling him the story

She had walked up to him by the street .

She spoke in a soft voice and most times he had to lean over to hear what she was saying. It was a good thing she had given him permission to record.

Conversation with Pamela Elekwachi

I remember in my young days, discussing your menstrual circle wasn’t seen as good manners. Your mother never even called it a menstrual cycle. She simply asked you if you had seen your cloth or time. When I was much younger, I will wonder what she meant. Your time or cloth gave the whole idea of a menstrual cycle of womanly secrecy. We felt funny. When I got into secondary school, it was globally seen as a curse. Don’t start me off on the dozen or more names we called that time of the month, you hated. The question was never you wanted to discuss it with the male folk except when you waited for your father to kill the cockerel to welcome you into an age. It was initiation with beauty and secrecy that made you feel not just a woman but understanding the responsibilities attached to attaining puberty. It was an age we seem to have lost. It is a different thing here. The question then was not if we could afford the process of ‘looking after our monthly visitor as we also called it then. Today, I am talking to a young beautiful woman…not about her monthly visitor or the curse,,,but about something altogether interesting for me. Please meet my firiend

Pamela Elekwachi

You are a Toastmaster, please explain what that means

Toastmasters International is an educational organization that has helped people from

 diverse backgrounds become more confident  speakers, communicators, and leaders.

 I was drawn to them after I came across the beautifully crafted and coruscating speech of

the winner of the 2018 World Championship of Public Speaking – Ramona J. Smith; and I went,

“I want to learn how to speak  like that!”.

 The rest they say is history and my first Toastmasters meeting was my last as a guest at

Sunshine Toastmasters Club Akure. I became a Toastmaster in my quest to polish

my communication skills towards becoming a better leader that galvanises action for change.

 I am currently a club officer and serve as Vice President Public Relations for

Sunshine Toastmasters Club. 

With the viral videos of blundering public officers making the rounds, I advise that we

 don’t have to wait till we are at the peak of  our careers or positions of power to start

learning these skills; investing in one’s personal development should always

be given  top priority. 

2. I am curious about the bead/bracelet story. 

Yes. That’s  a simple yet powerful symbol for World Menstrual Hygiene Day

coming up on 28th of May. Menstrual Hygiene Day (MH Day) is a global platform that

 brings together non-profits, government agencies, individuals, the private sector and the

media to catalyze advocacy and action towards a world where women and girls are

longer limited  because of their periods.

It’s a menstrual bracelet made with 23 white beads and 5 red beads to signify the average

 28 days cycle of periods. 28/5 is also May 28. People are encouraged to make them

wear them and post the pictures on their social media handles with the  hashtag

MHDAY2021 to show support that periods are nothing to hide, end period stigma and

advocate for increased access  and affordability of menstrual hygiene products

 for women and girls around the world.

I am impressed by your comment at a recent lecture of yours whereby you implored the

menfolk to show understanding of  the reproductive health of girls. Please explain.

This is a missing link that hasn’t been given much attention as women and girls need to

feel supported on this issue. Men who should be allies usually do not have enough

information on the issue to properly lend a hand. Advocating for equal  education

for women and girls, men and boys will ensure that at all stages of life, women and

girls will find supportive partners  who can empathise with their situation and render the

necessary support or assistance if it comes to that. The stigma and bullying that

also comes from boys or men especially on the subject of menstruation eg ergh ewwww’s

and snide comments that make women/girls treat their periods with utmost secrecy will

 be drastically reduced.

The goal is that girls and women can  confidently ask for help from menfolk and

 avoid using unhygienic products or poor sanitation infrastructure at the expense

of asking for help.

4. Organizations round the world find it funny that developing countries hardly pay

heed to the economic need to ensure the average young girl can afford a sanitary

towel when the need arises. How can we resolve this?

There needs to be the political will on the path of the government to prioritise

action towards this cause at local and National levels. The Government should

work on creating an enabling environment for investment in this sector to produce

 affordable menstrual hygiene products. The condition and standard of existing WASH

facilities in schools, workplaces and public places must be reviewed because this is

 an essential element of MHM. You can’t imagine the struggle women go through

and all the opportunities they miss because they cannot comfortably manage their periods

outside of their homes.

The cost of menstrual products keeps rising especially since covid. Pads are taxed like

e luxury items instead of being treated as a necessity and human right.

Condoms are shared freely while a normal biological process is not given the attention

 it deserves. MHM is related to SDG’s and is also a Human Right

Ministries of health need to spend development budget on MHM. Some countries

even in developing economies already have National policies on Menstrual

Hygiene and Health Management especially for school girls. Items such as

menstrual products should be subsidised or provided free to school girls as

implemented in some countries; this will ensure they do not miss out on school

 and social activities. Investment need to be made in innovation, research and public

education on the issue in addition to supporting the work of NGO’s and private citizens. 

A lot of work is ahead but the decision makers are the ones that need to be made

aware of the magnitude of the problem  before it can be resolved.

5. Please let us know why you started the GirlON Project?

In line with the MHDay goals, the concept of the GirlOn Project was born when

I was celebrating my birthday in 2019.

I came across a twitter post where discussions on the unimaginable state of menstrual

hygiene for girls living in rural communities.

 The use of old rags and unthinkable unhygienic items for their periods, their exclusion

from social activities of their communities when they were on their periods and the

 high cost of pads, tampons and the likes which was even a struggle for working women

to purchase. Some heartbreaking studies even show some girls engage in

 transactional sex just to be able to purchase these products.

The GirlON Project focuses on empowering girls with information on menstrual

hygiene education to promote menstrual hygiene management, end period stigma, advocate

for affordable hygienic products & increase its access to girls in rural communities. We started

by raising pad donations for girls and then realising that the menstrual education was

more important. Our outreach covered 4 secondary schools in Ipele, Owo, Uso and Ogbese

communities in Ondo State and reached 1200 girls. In 2020 we went virtual due to covid-19

and this year we are collaborating with the Office of the Wife of Ondo State Governor,

Betty-Anyanwu Akeredolu Foundation (BAAF) and BEMORE Empowered Foundation

 to mark the MH Day for 2021.

6. How do you plan to extend the concept of The GirlOn Project? 

For now, we are focusing on Menstrual Health and Hygiene for girls as we work

within our funding constraints. I actively work with young girls and as an HR

Professional passionate about personal and career development for girls and

women in general, Girl ON-Education, Girl ON-Personal Finance, Girl ON-Leadership,

Girl ON-Investment, and Girl ON-Entrepreneurship are all  avenues that would be

expanded and explored in the future.

7. I find today’s generation is more interested in making money, why did you decide on

improving our understanding of the menstrual cycles of young person’s?

Trust me, I very much believe in making money… you should ask my friends. But I sort of

have a different concept of money.

 I believe the best things in life are free and giving value and memorable experiences

that one can learn and grow from is

more empowering. 

I believe that this information empowered me when I was younger, the schools cannot

do everything. I recall an NGO visiting my secondary school and speaking on a topic I

no longer quite remember. I know it was impactful because at that age, one is very  

impressionable and their words stuck with me for a long time. I want young people to

 have good interactions and experiences  that will stay with them even if they don’t

 remember who I am. As adults, we must commit to giving young people a better experience

instead of focusing on their shortcomings especially if they don’t know better. Though there

 are other causes I lend my voice to, such as Breast Cancer and Childhood Cancer;

MHM is one of the causes I choose due to its long lasting effect on the lives of girls

and women. I hope each person finds theirs and does the bit that contributes to

the drop that makes an ocean.

8. In our society, discussion on the reproductive health of young persons particularly

about the different health issues of the menstrual cycle is usually not discussed openly,

 how do you think we can overcome this hang up.

Women and girls have to be willing to end the shyness and shame associated with

discussing such topics within themselves before stepping out of the room to discuss

them in public. Persistent stigma, cultural myths and taboos have done a number on us.

We are ready to stop hiding in the shadows and suffering in silence. This has not been the

trend, but whenever one wakes up is their morning. Right?

I’ve been seeing hilarious Tiktok videos on menstrual cramp simulators being used on men

and then alternatively used on women. The men are writhing in pain while the women

 are like “this feels like a mild cramp”. So the conversations are now in public 7spaces

 which is a good sign.

Programs like that of BEMORE Empowered Foundation targeting young girls with

 impactful life skills ranging from ICT, solar training, health awareness, and menstrual

hygiene among others should be encouraged. I also know a young man actively  working on educating young people in reproductive health and related issues- Nathan Akatakpo of Peregrine House of Hope operating in  Lagos.

Many others are personally invested in contributing their quota to fill the misinformation

gap which is leading  our youths to calamity. It’s not a one day thing but constant

 advocacy will help in the long run.

9. So many issues are associated with lack of proper leadership. Why do you think leadership is important and how can one get the requisite experience to lead effectively in the future especially for young people.

Like i said earlier, most people are waiting to become leaders without any preparation in place; folding their hands and waiting for it to be given on platter of gold. When they eventually get a seat at the table, they are not able to function properly because the foundation is not strong enough to carry their new responsibilities. 

I advise people to see leadership as a daily activity. If there’s a conversation? contibute! if something needs to be done? take a stand and do it! if you are not clear about something? Ask! Let’s stop waiting around for a messiah; nobody is coming to save us. Doing some heavy lifting may be an inconvinece now, but we learn by doing and making mistakes along the way.

The moment i found my voice, i knew it would be in injustice not to share my perspective and offer value to people within my sphere of influence. I currently serve in several roles in different organisations; Catholic Womens Organisation in my church and Old School Alumni; General Secretary for Ondo State Branch of Chartered Institute of Personnel Management Nigeria(CIPM); National Editor for Breast Cancer Association of Nigeria; Executive Secretary for Brendan Obioha Childhood Cancer Foundation (BOCCF) in addition to VP PRO of Sunshine Toastmasters Club.

Having an attitude of service means you will get more opportunities to learn and become a better version of yourself.

10. Thank you for your patience and understanding, how may we reach you for further

 information?

It was an honour  having this conversation with a veteran broadcaster such as you.  I can be

 reached on linkedin https://www.linkedin.com/in/pamela-elekwachi/  

email pamela.elekwachi@gmail.com and twitter @pamzy_el. 

To follow our MHM activities follow of TheGirlOn Project; @thegirlonproject

(Facebook, Instagram), Twitter @girlonproject.

Thank you very much, Danke

Conversation with Sehinde Odimayo

First time I met him, his quiet exterior defined for me that I was meeting an artist. Finely bred with an almost other- wordly preoccupation. Punctilious in manner and a smiles that scaled over you. I was intrigued. I had been told he is a prince and I wondered what princely duties took him to that aspect of the Arts. I visited his Treasure House Fine Arts gallery first in Ikeja then later at Ikoyi.

In today’s long conversation, I have the distinct pleasure to share my conversation with a Giant. He knows why I call him that. Please welcome  Prince Sehinde Odimayo

1.We learn while we were in school the understated

Art is a creative activity that expresses imaginative or technical skill. It produces a product, an object. Art is a diverse range of human activities in creating visual, performing  artifacts, and expressing the author’s imaginative mind. The product of art is called a work of art, for others to experience.

Please define how I should understand it

Fine art is received as already explained above, but the technique for making the arts is what is learned either formally(at school)or  informally (though the ancient  apprenticeship or workshop system)

2. A prince and a gentleman, who is Olasehinde Odimayo?

I was not born an omooba (prince) in 1949,but became one when my late father John Feyisara Odimayo,1978 became an oba, the olofun of irele and jagboju Vlll, and he reigned until 1993. my early manifestations of the arts became obvious when I was a small child before I turned five years old, when i use to collect motor spare parts from the maintenance yard of Kabiyesi’s timber trucks, which I stored in shoe boxes and in making foldable paper boats whichIi also stored in shoe boxes. my late brother Oladele told me this, and he also said the paper boats I use to throw  in the gutter in front of our house, whenever it rained  and i would watch them sail away until they disappeared(our house at that time was 23,oshodi court, Lagos).I have taken interests in the arts since my secondary school days and also went on to major in them at Ibadan.

3. Is Art received or learned?

Like everything in human life and activities, there must be responsibility attached to the work of the artist. every work is primarily created to give pleasure to the audience or beholder. the arts regardless of the genre must let the sense of beauty arise in us, in whatever we do, even in the most insignificant things, such the way we dress. So the artist must ensure he draws from beautiful and high sources of inspiration, so his works can also be beautiful, give joy and happiness to his fellow human beings otherwise he can also depending on his inner being  draw from low and base sources, which will result in ugly and depressing works like in music and visual art.

4. Is the artist  expected to have a peculiar responsibility?

Indeed all artists regardless of the genre they work with draw inspirations from various planes of creation, depending on the purity or otherwise and desire of their beings. what they draw and how they invariably depict it in the earthly will be homogeneous with their beings whether good or bad, pure or impure, base or uplifting. their works will always  portray where they are drawing their inspirations from!

5. We see the artist and the artist views the society. Most times, what the artists envisions is unsettling, questioning some of our values and value system, please educate us

Only a few days ago i watched Prof.Wole soyinka and a Turkish female writer in a talk show, in which both of them agreed that through the style and content of his or her art, an artist is an activist. They should normally be the conscience of society, as their works, mirror the state of society they live in or in which they find themselves. they will always through their works reflect what  is good or wrong in his or her society

.

6. Dante’s Inferno frightens us but today, there are different levels of Arts, can you please educate us

indeed all artists regardless of the genre they work with draw inspirations from various planes of creation, depending on the purity or otherwise and desire of their beings. what they draw and how they invariably depict it in the earthly will be homogeneous with their beings whether good or bad, pure or impure, base or uplifting. their works will always  portray where they are drawing their inspirations from!

7.To retun to the mundane, can a student of art survive on his art talent?

 There has been a phenomenal growth in the promotion and development of visual art as an endeavor to give pleasure, joy and happiness to Nigerians and as a business. One is talking particularly about the period from 1982 till today. This has manifested particularly in the coming of art galleries and gallerists, private art dealers, publication of books on visual art, art exhibitions and art fairs in different kinds of spaces eg gallery spaces, hotels, public and private halls, college premises and even private homes .There have also being many fora for lectures, symposia and workshops  organized to promote the development of visual art. before 1982 the art scene was in the country was in the doldrums. one must emphasize that both contemporary, modern and traditional arts are the area of focus being discussed.

however we can’t compare the growth, promotion and development of art here, with the situation in Europe or America at all, where visual art has always been promoted in many and diverse ways for many centuries without any interruptions. Tthis has been so with the availability of various art institutions eg public and private museums, galleries, school’s of art, mega art shows such as art biennales and fairs .the scale of promotion of art in Europe and America can’t be compared with the situation in Nigeria and Africa because the endeavor has a very long history of, growth development and promotion, which hasn’t been the case in the latter. The coming of the missionaries in the 19th century also  contributed immensely to the disruption of the development of our arts, as the missionaries erroneously discredited our arts which they mischievously classified as objects of paganism, an act which created a disbelief and lack of appreciation of  our traditional arts among our people The damage done by the missionaries to the development of our arts can’t be underestimated or imagined, the consequences of which is the very low level of appreciation of our arts by our people which is still being experienced even up till today.

8. Art is generally understood as any activity or product done by people with a communicative or aesthetic purpose—something that expresses an idea, an emotion or, more generally, a world view. It is a component of culture, reflecting economic and social substrates in its design., there is Art and Craft , What is the difference?

Art and craft are two different human endeavours, because of their different origins, the former is the spirit(spiritual) while the latter is of the intellect(earthly).one has already discussed above the spiritual nature of high art, in which the artist through homogeneity in his spiritual desire longs and automatically connects himself to homogeneous planes in the realm of medium gross and indeed beyond for inspirations, which he then manifests on earth as works of art regardless of the genre eg visual art, design, architecture, dance, literary arts, performance arts, dance etc. works of art, of are always permanent and indestructible and survive civilizations as we know today eg from ancient Greek, Roman, Egyptian, Atlantis, African, Aztec civilizations. on the other handcraft is of the intellect, ie of gross matter or earthly, perishable and transient. craft pieces are works anybody and everybody can produce repeatedly without the high beyond the earthly inspiration of art. crafts are objects of everyday needs and uses, which everybody can produce. whereas everybody and anybody can be a craftsman, not everybody or anybody can be an artist. art is esoteric while the craft is mundane. however, in traditional African art, the definition of these two activities are almost blurred because most ancient African art bore a lot of the elements of craft in them which make them manifest as craft pieces because they were usually made due to the demands of the patrons, who always need them routinely, for everyday needs and uses. however, a lot of the craftsmen who started carving objects needed by their patrons after many years of producing crafts actual transit to become true artists, whose works became highly inspired which would manifest in the high quality of their works .examples of this could be seen in the works of ancient Ife, Benin artists and Yoruba artists of the 19th century especially those of the northeast Yorubaland of Ekiti and igbominaland.in this regard the work of Olowe of ise Ekiti , easily the greatest and most famous Yoruba carver is worthy of note.

9 Art is important because creativity is the foundation of a child’s education. It helps to develop motor skills, eye-hand coordination and has a large impact on their social and emotional growth. It also enhances their cognitive development which can have a positive effect on math skills and other related subjects, and parents carry a primary responsibility in this regards, how do we transmit this to our children and when can we start that?

The knowledge of the activities of the animistic beings are often depicted in vivid and pictorial forms, which  when shown and depicted can be interwoven with the teaching of the arts because inspirations are also experienced by the artists in vivid lifelike pictures and they must be received in deep humility because they are actually blessings that are being mediated from Above through a long chain blessed helpers downwards to us! so great responsibility is therefore attached to the teaching of the arts and the awakening of the sense of beauty in us and around us, something  that can be of great help in our vocations, professions and indeed in our entire future lives. indeed this is like laying the very crucial foundation  for building of our future lives and indeed of the world as should be according the will of God!

10. In the past, we were given pictures of certain Nature beings that frightened us, it gave a basis of Nature beings in a dark sense, how can the enlightened artist help us redress this?

That which is received as inspirations and depicted in the earthly by very  gifted artists can only be light and beautiful and never dark and ugly. the enlightened and gifted artists will only produce great works of art we can describe as MASTERPIEECES

11. So many years back, we had the pleasure of visiting you in Treasure house of Fine arts, are we to expect a come back soon of Treasure House?

 I have never left the art trade at all. Due to major challenges about 2013|14 i had to close down the physical gallery space at ikoyi. however i have always remained very active in the business of art, focusing mainly on promotion, writing on virtual art, consulting-,already working  on line, even long before Covid came and even now the possibility of still opening a physical gallery space, at iju ,ogun state and online gallery spaces still exit. Ones life is totally and exclusively committed and dedicated to the promotion and preservation of Nigerian and African art

12. Look into tomorrow and share with us your picture of Art in the country and young artists

From art history, we know that the arts flourish during the time of peace and national economic growth and personal well being. for many years now since the national economic has not been doing well ,the arts have not being flourishing very well.alot of money is always needed to be voted for the ministry of culture to support the promotion and preservation of all the arts. wealthy individuals are always needed to patronize the arts. the ministry of culture receives probably the smallest vote in our national and state budget  annually. of course if we have adequate resources the arts will always flourish and the artists will also do well. so the same will apply to young artists for them to have a bright future and successful careers. for young artists to do well we will always need committed and dedicated patrons who will always acquire their works all the time, so they can always have a thriving studio practice and be able to exhibit their works regularly. 

Nigeria is a huge country where you find artistic expressions and manifestations everywhere you go, so given a stable and growing economy the future will be bright for artists of ages.

Thank you very much for coming on Centrespread.

The age of Reflection

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.

Centerspread with Gbenga Adeku

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.

1

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.

Giving as a gift

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.

After Effects of I NEED TO KNOW…. VINCE

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

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?

Yesterday’s Meadow,Tomorrow’s horizon

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