I am an alien/sojourner. Sent to this part of the world to work my work. Orun meni tomala agreed with me, master artist to prodigy, that an experience on this planet called earth would be what I needed to find a part of myself.
From where we stood, earth was a magical gem and most wondrously primitive. And that was until…like every good story told must have a perfect antagonist…man. I chose my cloak, and it informed where I would be planted. The most exotic cloak yes! Black, woman and Yoruba. It led me to an understanding that all cloaks are exotic, mine just suits my personality.
I bid farewell to Orun meni tomala, till we meet again we embraced and parted. Now, in an earth world with very many worlds within It’s world, I work my work in a strange land called my home Nigeria, experiencing Her lands and Her peoples. My arrival was in the year 1975, the place I would call home was a young child aspiring to govern itself and remain free from colonial masters. It has been 38 earth years since I got here and this hopeful child underdeveloped into an intellectually immature, self destructive being that puts shame to shame. Famous for Its corruption-gangrene eating into Its every existing fibre at the most diabolical speed, it remains my greatest challenge, to stay or to leave. I choose to stay because I am not done experiencing who I am not!
As I work my work, I learn the earth name for what I do is called Art and I, an artist. I am introduced to another world called the art world. Like the bigger world the art world mimics, it has its economics, politics, leaders, king makers, producers, consumers, technological influences, plenty sense and plenty nonsense. The most humorous part of this world is the smoke and mirrors conjured by magicians. I stop laughing when the magicians gained illusive powers to decide what Art should be and should not be. As I withdraw my involvement, I am labeled an outsider and made synonymous with ‘difficult’. Soon when the smoke clears we will learn that what is will always be. So to the magicians I salute with my middle finger. This is a greeting habit I have picked up here and must leave behind on my return to mother ship.
The greatest pleasure I find here is discovering other artists who have visited this strange blue planet and many who are still here. I am also influenced by stories of Yoruba ancestors. I have been directed by the works and personalities of giants like David Dale, Bruce Onabrakpeya, Nike Monica Davies and great Susanna Wenger who have left a distinct trail within the Nigerian soil. Lately, Anslem Kieffer, Antony Gormley, Ai Wei Wei, Motohiko Odani and colossal Do Ho Suh have encouraged me to extend and exert myself the more, for there is still so much to do, many more artists to experience. I am not done living to my fullest potential, I have only dug half a foot into the six feet I am permitted. Now I must dig faster, my cloak is getting older, do not ask me why I’m in a hurry, I have work to do.
Lastly and humbly, if you find my artist’s statement not acceptable with regards to the standard of the art world do excuse me, I am but an alien addicted to the taste of freedom, who knows not better, tired of pretentious artist’s statements.