Monday 11 June 2012

Water… No Get Enemy?

 Again, late Afrobeat legend, Fela Anikulapo Kuti has proven to be a philosopher not so recognized while he dwelled among his people. A theme from one of his works, Water No Get Enemy was adapted for a toured art show on water management.
    The African Artists Foundation (AAF)-led project, titled, Water No Get Enemy, used the show as a platform to create awareness for better management of water resources, adding its voice to the global alert on possible shortage of water in the future. The show also drew attention to man’s ignorance of water management techniques.
     Organised in conjunction with The Embassy of the Netherlands, the tour show employed photography and paintings to drive home its message.
From Abundance to Scarcity by Olayinka Stephens
     When it took off at The Wheatbaker, Ikoyi, Lagos, artists, whose works were listed to show in four states across Nigeria, included Lemi Ghariokwu, Chinenye Godsproperty John, Mario Macilau, Alenosi Ogbami, Kunle Ogunfuyi, Olayinka Sangotoye and Alafuro Sikoki, and from Ghana were, Nana Kofi Acquah, Muyiwa Akinwolere and Alexandra Fazzina.
      Though the focus was on water conservation and management of related resources, images on display, however, showed that there is a thin line between water and environment, generally. 
      Familiar images such as Godsproperty’s Under Siege Series, presented at one of the AAF shows, last year, and also among the Water No Get Enemy, explain people’s ignorance of proper, especially, as they relate to food and water particularly.
     In fact, the images of used bottles of water, which are captured in stagnant situation, covering about 300 metres of drainage are a scary sight.
      If Fela were to see these images, he would have realised that, strangely, water get enemy. From the immediate view of the photographer, stagnant water is seen at the horizon, apparently disturbed by the dumpsite on the waterway. It’s just a matter of time for a heavy rain to show the community how flood causes havoc when people refuse to heed to simple waste management rules.
     In contrast, another community, according to the works of Ogunfuyi and Olayinka, would apparently not survive with Godsproperty’s Under Siege Series. They are the fishing communities, as works such as Floating Community and From Abundance to Scarcity show the true colour of the inseparable relationship between man and water.
  COMPLEMENTING the greenery of the riverbank is Olayinka’s piece of boatmen having fun! For the riverside community, arrogance and neglect of constituted authority may have caused the decline in fishing, but ‘scarcity,’ for another people, especially those in arid regions, could be more devastating.
     In one of Olayinka’s series, people, swarming at a well for water, tell the story of desperate search for water. In the background of the picture is a clear sky melting into the apparent dry land.
     Lack of potable water in Nigeria, in the opinion of the director of AAF, Azu Nwagbogu, is a contradiction. “Despite being a coastal nation, we still have issue with potable water,” he argues.
     He explains that the show explores sub-themes surrounding water, such as cleanliness, hygiene, recycling, flooding and the conservation of aquatic resources.” And the mission, he says, goes beyond the visual arts.
    He adds: “Live musical compositions by Dutch pianist, Marcel Worms, inspired the art pieces.”
     It was scheduled to show for nine days at our states in Nigeria.


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