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A Visit to the Future


The artist with 36 students from Oguta Girls Secondary school.

This is how it should be. I walk from the second floor of my studio in Oguta, occasionally looking down to the streets and passersby- the hardworking mechanics and carpenters; the young tailor who prefers to do just that since she cant afford to further her education; the motor electrician who also uses his Toyota Siena car as an ambulance for carrying dead people (his wife sells groundnuts and black-market fuel in front of his shop, with their only daughter assisting after school hours). In this village, one can interact with the real lives of people- their struggles and joys. The roar of motorcycles, the whiff of conversation that somehow climbs up to me, the huge Trinity field full of white sand and dry grass all add to the picture of rural life here in Oguta can hear the fish-seller shouting out her wares for people to notice. Life here is very down to earth. Somehow we all know ourselves. Oguta used to be a very boxed-up community, with the clans intermarrying. This gives a relative peace, these bloodlines. Yes, the lake is about fifteen minutes walk from my house. I prefer to ride my yellow bicycle. From the distance, I saw my aunt walking by. She doesn’t hurry to anywhere again. A lot have fallen- her hair, breast etc. She is readying for the other life. Nothing here seems to A visitor once asked why I couldn’t restrict all my work to a specific room, or just organize the place. I don’t let the cleaner to touch my stuff. I think finding my tools is an integral part of the creative process.  It’s a bit like playing a jigsaw puzzle. All the scattered tools and colors form patterns that allow me to see possibilities for Art. The balcony of the house has three views- the right view shows maroon rooftops and a cacophony of houses muddled into each other. There doesn’t seem to be separating spaces between houses. It is so typical of the village. Some houses seem to be practically on top of each other. Okay, I have cable TV, three electric generating sets, and a car for trips to Owerri, the capital city. The city is only thirty minutes away from here. I don’t miss anything, really. My mobile phones allow access to the Internet, to my collectors and friends. Whatsapp, Gmail and Skype help me stay in touch. I mentioned the other day how a group of thirty-six secondary school students came on an excursion to my studio. The town is now turning a glowing orange. After stretching a few more canvases I would go searching for dinner. It’s usually a hot plate of fresh catfish head. Maybe I will drink some wine too. As an artist, what more should I want? There is ample time to paint, besides every other daily affair.

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