Saturday, 3 October 2009
I have now finished the films l wanted to edit for the show in Lagos in March.
The first series of films consist of three looped pieces entitled 'UN-Reality' which plays with ideas of the unexpected and unfamiliar to introduce the viewer to unusual customs such as the little girl lying down on the floor which is a very common way of relaxing in Nigeria. To me she looks as if she is dreaming which takes reality into unreality and then perhaps into the realms of fantasy.
The next loop is of a glasses case swinging around a glass table which again is uncanny and which my hosts found very disturbing and began to think l had powers l had not got!!! - it was of course the ceiling fan but only when it was turned up full blast!!!
The third loop was taken at night in the big house in Owerri which was a bit creepy at night l must admit. This is of an open window taken at night with all the strange noises of the night coming into the space - again being black and white with elements of shadows this time, which reminded me of the Film Noire genre and the horror films we are used to seeing picking up on our own symbolism.
The other two films entitled 'Day' and the other 'Night' were taken in one of the big rooms in the house in Owerri, one at night and one during the day which l called the ancestor rooms in my mind, as they had these huge chairs which made a real presence (and yet absence) within the room and these were all placed in a circle. The daytime film gives an air of calm and recollection, whilst the night-time version brings in all the essence of ritual associated with the Mbari ritual of sacrifice but also an element of contemporary fears such as the police blocks l experienced. Night and Day were very important in the Mbari practices. Within our own culture Epstein uses this theme in his underground sculptures and Michangelo with his Dawn and Dusk, although different in concept. Again the binary oppositions are evident in this work of mine as they have been in my art work to date.
Attended the Africa Week celebrations at Spike and homed in on a man that l recognised as a Chief from Igboland - what a coincidence! He was wearing the maroon coloured felt hat with the little sprig sticking up on top that l have seen Innocent Nwoga wearing, so l was fascinated to find out more. He is Professor Kenneth Iwugo and he is the director of the postgraduate CPD programme in Water and Environment Management based at Bristol University - as we were talking l found myself moving backwards half way around the room!!! I think personal space must be a UK thing!!! He was very interesting and we agreed to meet again at some point at a peace meeting which is part of the UNESCO initiative. I had been asked by Dr Celestine Chibundu whether l could find someone to help him provide a bore hole for the community around him in Owerri....so maybe this meeting could be helpful.
Sunday 6th.September l met up with Innocent who was paying a flying visit to London and then going on to the USA to meet up with his family. We spent the day by having breakfast at the Electric Brassiere in Notting Hill Gate and then moving on to the National Portrait Gallery as he said he wanted to see some more traditional art. We saw the BP Portrait award winners and a lot of the other entries - a lot of photorealism! My favourite was a back view of someone's granny in her underwear which to me had a resonnance of Rembrandt in this analysis of aging - a gem! We then went upstairs to the Tutor rooms which again l rather like as there is something very real, and yet not real, about these portraits in terms of time and actuality.
Then we met up with my daughter who took us to a very old established pub which is used by opera goers before and after they go to a performance, Sarastro restaurant, 126 Drury Lane, Theatreland, London WC2B 5SU. To be thoroughly recommended as it has such character and is in the heart of the old London city.
All together a wonderful day and re-establishing links with Owerri.