Art message in video
BY TAJUDEEN SOWOLE
THE slow acceptance of video art in the country has not deterred adherents of this genre from forging ahead with their message.
One of such recent efforts aimed at promoting this genre brought together artists for the In-Short, Short Film Festival Lagos.
Held at the Goethe Institut, City Hall, Lagos Island, the show, which came on billing of Video Art Network (VAN), Lagos, had as theme, Experimental Video.
|Unstable by Jude Anogwih|
The growing popularity of video art across the world, particularly at international shows and biennales has taken so long to come to Nigeria. And when it did in 2009, one of the participants, Jude Anogwih, has to raise the bar.
The In-Short, Short Film Festival presented him opportunity to make a statement with his Unstable Stables (2:3mins).
In Unstable Stables, challenges of urbanisation are the focus, as the camera, from the angle of an automobile’s interior, peeps into people’s survival strategy.
He notes that the ‘confrontations of acute political, economic and social crisis make possible the voluntary or forced migratory movements that characterise the contemporary African society.”
Anogwih says, “rural/urban and cross-border migrations are motivated by the need to escape non-viable conditions or to find better jobs and new homes.”
As crucial and natural as these movements are, the over all price, he warns, include depleting environmental conditions, overpopulation and increasing criminal activities.
|Disconnect II BY Emeka Ogboh's|
OTHER artists on the show included Jelili Atiku’s Alloy wheels 5:45mins; Lucy Azubike’s Identity 2009, 1:20mins; Uche Joel Chima’s Lying in wait 5:30mins; Victor Ehikhamenor’s Coming and going: before the walls crumble, 5mins; Emeka Ogboh’s (dis) connect 3 mins; Wura-Natasha Ogunji’s The epic crossings of an Ife head, 2:05mins; Ima Okon’s This temple 3:34mins; and Mudi Yahaya’s The black woman unplugged 03:50mins.
One of the most popular video artists in Nigeria, Atiku continued his activism in Alloy Wheels. His work roves around the state of insecurity in the country. He links car-aided suicide bombing with increase in immigration, as people seek to go to safer states, particularly Lagos.
“This migration has indeed heightened the severity of poverty and also strengthened capitalist economy.”
And the irony of this development, he argues is that the state is no longer safe for both the newcomers and the residents.
“We, the residents of Lagos, live in constrain and constantly engaging in mad-rush for money. As the rush continues, mental disorder prevails!”
In Coming and going: Before the Walls Crumble, Ehikhamenor goes back to the rural areas and captures the damage of migration. He laments that the cultural value and the beauty of his village life have disappeared. “My first encounter with art as a child has all been eroded by time and ‘civilsation,’ and what has replaced them are alien. Symbols and codes of communication with our ancestors have become rubbles.”
And more worrisome, the artist appears to have given up hope of resuscitating the lost glory of the rural home. “Helplessly there is nothing anybody can do about it; there are many other things to contend with than struggling to retain what many people now consider archaic and useless,” he says.