By Anthony Azekwoh

 

“I know hate is a strong word, but who likes a weak one?”-  Chika Jones, Spoken word poet.

 

Friday, the 29th of December 2017, was a day to remember. That evening, Arts and Africa, an e-journal that reports on culture, literature and all forms of artistic expressions, marked their third birthday. To properly mark this occasion, they also took the opportunity to relaunch and rebrand themselves with the event, hence the name Àjíǹde, which translated from Yoruba means Resurrection.

I represented Kọ́lá Túbọ̀sún, who unfortunately couldn’t make it to the event but sent his warm regards. We entered the event and were greeted by cheery women. As soon as we entered, we were immediately greeted by a warm atmosphere of music, laughter, and poetry that reminds suspiciously of home.

Joey was performing at the time. He is a young hip-hop artist whose talent for wordplay and rhythm was already very clear. As he rapped, I took a moment to appreciate the lighting in the room which cast everything in a warm golden light and the paintings which were hung around the room. Joey received a big applause as he finished his amazing set and we welcomed Chika Jones, who absolutely dazzled us with his poetry.

Chika came on stage accompanied by a guitar, talking about a wide range of topics in a bright, witty manner, making the subject of hate more relatable, enjoyable even as he got laughs from the audience. He spoke beautifully on the things he hated in society, the things he deemed unfair and then he moved on later to a poem about love, one that was enough to move even the toughest of hearts.

After Chika Jones’ amazing performance, a brief 5-minute recess was called, to give us all the chance to get some drinks or food at the bar. It was closed during the performances to allow everyone focus. It was during the recess that I met one of the founders of this amazing platform, Ọpẹ́ Adédèjì, an amazing woman who, along with the wonderful Afọpẹ́ Òjó and their whole team, had brought such an amazing event to life. I also met the talented Dami Àjàyí, again as we had met more than two years before, when he paid a visit to my secondary school introducing us to his work.

Fọpẹ́ and Ọpẹ́, co-founders, on stage

After the recess was over, we were greeted by yet another performance, this time by Yakeeb, a man whose poetry spoke volumes. He spoke about love also, bringing the age-old topic back to life in front of our eyes. As he spoke, Aàdesokan, an abstract artist who had his own solo exhibition called “Almost Delirium” earlier this year, began a live painting. The painting, like all paintings, began with an empty canvas but as time went on, it was soon filled with a myriad of bright saturated colours, mingling with dull ones to form an image strengthened by the force of his almost erratic brushstrokes.

After another recess, we were treated by a soul moving viola performance by Eghonghon-aye who graced us with not one but two songs played beautifully from her viola. The first was a slow-moving song that was a bit sad. The second was a piece made to embody the gracefulness of a swan. It was a faster paced upbeat song which contrasted with the first and yet, they were both played perfectly and with great skill.

After, the founders, Ọpẹ́ Adédèjì and Afọpẹ́ Òjó, graced the stage and they talked a lot about the history of Arts and Africa, the present, and also the future of their amazing platform, telling us more about what to expect in the close oncoming future.

All in all, it was an amazing event, organised by amazing people with performances from skilled and talented individuals. I sat in the car thinking, as we drove home, that if this was what they wanted, a resurrection, then they had more than surpassed their goals.

 

 

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Anthony Azekwoh is a student of Covenant University, and the author of The Fall of the Gods, which won the 2017 Awele Creative Trust Prize and has been serialized on Brittle Paper.

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