Saturday, May 12, 2018

I’m in “think” phase…

I am always thinking though, my mind is always occupied with thoughts, lots of stuff. Good thoughts, bad thoughts, worries…I should check my blood pressure but I am worried to check because I think it would be above normal. At this moment I am listening to Celine Dion aka Celina Odion according to my Bini people and drinking tea which I absolutely love, all to calm myself.

I have found that growing plants calms me, so I am trying to consciously embrace it fully now.

I picked up this drawing just now and I asked myself, why didn’t I ever finish this? I have had it for about 2 years now, I remember when I started it…
I am afraid of the outcome, doesn’t look like what I had in mind when I started, I am paranoid but this work however small is important, every small piece of drawing, every piece of unused paper I cut from the posters I collect, they all form a part of a larger piece of some work that might eventually get finished. 
I remember when I was working with Olu Amoda during my one year internship in 2003 or was it 2004?!... Anyway Mr Olu would always say that every piece of metal he had left over from the gates or windows and art he made were very important (you dare not take any piece of object from his studio, but I took a small piece sir...I needed a souvenir ..what?!!). 
Now that I think of it, I realize they were more important than the main body that bore them in the beginning... Process... time...

I am going to embrace every unfinished drawing and face them head on starting with this one. I want so bad to tell a beautiful story of my journey in this art I do, 10 years, 20 years, 30... from now. Keeping every fragment of material (as storage permits) and every fragment of thought and imagination through this blog (as PHCN, aka NEPA, and internet permits)

Dear blog I have missed you dearly…

Tuesday, December 12, 2017


wall collage of ink jet/ laser prints, fliers, collage works, tote bag, string, photos, charcoal and pastel drawing, found objects
10ft Height, 2017

I started creating these memory board style installations in 2016. Izozo in my local language Bini means “to wander”. It literarily describes this installation. I lay my thoughts out and the wall acts like a notice board where I spread them out. It’s a memory board suited to different situations that have occured. This particular memory board was created in Lagos and it focused on recollecting a memory from a place I visited 2 years before. I drew things I remembered, used maps from the place, photos I took there and objects I collected and used while I was there.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Studio Update... May 2017

I miss the days I would wake up in the morning anxious to make a blog post when I lived in Mowe, Ogun state between 2010- 2012. To be fair on myself, I had less responsibilities and barely any project or exhibition going on, it was mostly me time!
Now!!! sigh.!!!

Let me just say I wish I could blog more not just to put my thoughts out but more because it helps me speak to myself, break down my thoughts and it reveals a part of me which I may most likely not like to speak about, to vocalize in speech. Writing is my safe place, I can't see anyone so it's easy!
And besides not many people read it hehehe!! Yes, it's true!
So thank you for reading, I know some people who always read my rants, thanks..kizzzesss!!

So it makes it easy for me to unpack my thoughts here! Here I am not worried about whether my sentences are grammatically correct or words spelt right. I can make mistakes here,(deja vu...why do I feel like I have written this before in another post) I can change my mind. More than anything my blog is really for me, it's my reminder to my past, I go back to my posts and I read them and it reminds me of things that I otherwise would forget.

I forget so much, I think I know why. Just this morning when I was about to step into the lift to get downstairs, I couldn't remember whether I had locked the door just 5 seconds ago, now this shouldn't be a big deal but it is because this happens to me every  day, not just with the door but other things.
I consciously have to tell myself to walk away and I did that this morning, I said "get into that elevator Taiye cos I'm sure you locked the door as you always do!" ( I am still thinking about the door, not sure)

I need to get to my update...

2016 didn't end on a great note!!! I was depressed from loosing my studio (best stusio I ever had by the way) but it was the circumstances surrounding it that caused the depression. I am not new to moving house, I kinda enjoy the process, of packing and unpacking, sorting things, finding lost things and the hardest one; letting go of things. I have moved a lot in the past 10 years, 7 times to be exact! That's a lot for that space of time, which means I never really get to settle down in one place long enough to really enjoy it, or get to be friends with my neighbors or get a sense of belonging to a community. Ah!! this last one took it's toll on me. :(

I think all my moving is also playing out in my recent work and even the past ones with the idea of transitions, which I have discussed in my very early posts from 2011 or so. Below is a snippet from my artist statement (text in progress)

"I am mainly interested in the idea of “transitions”, man’s ability to change but specifically looking at women’s ability adapt to new circumstances, either by fitting into already set and fixed roles, roles set by cultural and traditional expectations (as mostly the case in parts of Africa), or creating or setting new ones that “seem” more suitable and are influenced by modern times.
Through my work, I am trying to understand specifically women’s constant adaption to change within different situations of marriage, feminism, profession, migration and sexuality (popular subjects now within the African community) and so on. Also the changes that occur with women’s bodies and mind (through time and memory), their structure and fragility."

I have been thinking about my work lately in relation to things happening in my life. When I look at my wall collages, I think it's me being lost but trying to find my way amongst different possibilities, laying and layering my options... selah

Anyway I am still in recovery and I am not in the right mental space to find another place, I am not ready, I am moving between my sisters's places, it's good to spend time with family especially my nephews and nieces. And you know what's interesting, it's making me think about new work, I can't wait to show you my work for Chinafrika, it's the best example!!!! Hint: Book

But kaiii!!! I broke down, every part of me but I am grateful for my family specifically my sisters!! I didn't have much to look forward to in 2017, gosh words fail me, I was in a bad place.

But guess what, many positives have happened even though it's been really difficult. A few projects sprung up and the opportunity to also travel ( I am not an artist with a lot of money so I am always happy for expense covered travels haha!! Why don't people believe that I am broke most of the time. I'm just a very DISCIPLINED spender AND PLANNER and I never allow money direct my life)
I was in the US in May for Ori meta and now I am in residence in Matadero Madrid Spain for a 6 weeks residency. I will also visit Leipzig briefly later in June.

8 artists in residence in this studio

My desk

The coke here is so tiny

Besides side participating in a group show in Germany, and Cuba, one upcoming in Lagos (possibly), I had my first museum acquisition (been on it since last year) and a gallery is signing me on and I have to prepare for a solo next year! I know right,!! I can only say THANK GOD!

I feel blessed what more can I say, this is God saying "Taiye its going to be ok" and I know it will.


temporary tattoos, I just might have a real one some day(might)

I fell in love with Georgia O'keeffe with this show... Simply amazing

That's it folks, join me for another episode of (floating) studio updates soon!

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Studio Update: Musings and clay

This is my latest drawing from the Feminists musings series as seen from my last blog post, it isn't finished though.

However I do have new work in progress. A hybrid bust of a sort. Since the "change of name" series began in 2010 where it was sparked by the "change of name" pages in newspapers,  where (mostly women) publicly announced their marital status.
"I formerly known as... Now wish to be addressed as... All former documents remain valid...  Take note." 📝
My interest in "transitions" have grown even more, I find this subject quite interesting and enchanting at the same time. How does a person become several people at different circumstances? Its man's ability to adapt to change I guess be it conscious or unconscious. Or it could be through traditional beliefs like reincarnation which I explored in the "Hairvolution" series. With this sculpture series I'm taking a cue from Instagram selfies... pouted lips and tongue out. And there's the face without emotions, eyes closed and un-bothered. I will make another post to articulate my thoughts better, for now here are some photos from the studio

Blogspot isn't great for posting pictures hence the chaos going on right now but thanks for stopping by.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Feminist Musing: Finding your own feminism

In 2012 I had an opportunity to make a contribution this international feminist art journal, n. paradoxa.
 These were my opening and closing lines respectively;
“Am I a feminist? I’m not quite sure.”...
“So am I a feminist? Does this label really matter?”

I am still asking myself this question four years later.
For the past few weeks, I have been conversing with a friend on feminism among other subjects. We talked about women’s rights, women in marriage, cultural expectations of women and some of these conversations were even sparked by my own work. Need to mention, he is feminist.
One day he concluded and said “You’re a feminist”
I responded quite defensively “No I’m not”

The debate went on for a while, days even, but I couldn’t defend my position, I was at loss for words, so says the artist whose work focus mostly on women. I have always refused to associate myself with feminism and I wasn’t going to start now. I regarded feminists as women who were rude, loose, men haters/ bashers, who posted nude photos of themselves for the public, insecure, lonely, you name it! And I didn’t do any of those things so how could I possibly be a feminist? Another reason was because I focused mostly on western feminism and feminists which to be honest I have issues with till now; hence the last thing I wanted was to be associated with feminism.

However I have come to understand that feminism is beyond all of those things, feminism is pretty deep. If a person is any of those things I mentioned above, it’s just because it’s who they are, and not a feminist trait. Feminism differs from place to place and person to person. Different things or situations shape us already as individuals. A single mother who is feminist may not necessarily share the same feminist values with a happily married stay at home wife. Same difference can be seen between an African feminist and one from Europe.

The main umbrella that apparently brings all feminists together is as simply put “equality for both men and women”, after that level, it begins to vary and for the most part even present opposing views on certain matters or subjects. From this point is where I have come to realise that all feminists should accommodate and empathize with each other’s views but not necessarily agree with them (to everyone and their own o).

On a personal note and in trying to find my own feminism, I think roles should not be confused with equality. I think certain roles have come to fit men better than they fit women and vice versa, but it doesn’t mean they are fixed and cannot be interchanged. For example I am a (female) sculptor but it is seen as a masculine profession because of what the job requires, it is a tough job! But it doesn’t mean a woman can’t aspire to it. So to that head of department in Ekenwa campus Benin that refused to allow me pick up the direct entry form that year... thank you oo! . I still studied sculpture anyway! (Sorry I had to veer off and vent.)
Feminism simply means it’s ok to switch roles; roles should not be fixed to one gender. It should be fluid and not be set in stone. My gender should not define what I can and can’t do; only my choice should.

I live in a society that has preconceived expectations of women. Personally to be really honest I am ok with a few of them and this is another reason why I thought I couldn’t possibly be feminist. Let’s take cooking for example. I love to cook and I will most likely treat the kitchen as my territory when I am married. Some feminists may not agree to this but to the person who doesn’t, it is ok, he or she won’t be committing a deadly sin and neither will I. Again everybody and their own o!  But let’s be honest how many men can really cook??? And whose fault is it? For generations girls have been raised to believe this is their role, sons on the other hand are taught other things the kitchen excluded, and even when they have, they are raised to believe that eventually their house girl, sorry wife or girlfriend will do it for them just as they have seen from their parents. (In J. Lo's voice “I ain’t your mama”)

I also found out two things about feminism.  First is that feminism does not apply to women only, it is not gender based; feminism is a state of mind that should be present in both men and women.
Second is that women who are Feminists do not necessarily need be working class executives, rich or independent women; a stay at home wife can be feminist, any woman can be feminist no matter who you are. However being feminist is not an excuse to be rude to people, just thought to add that.

So does it matter if I am a feminist? Yes it does.
By choosing to be feminist, I do not have live under the pressure of society. When I choose to be feminist, it means I will not allow myself to be undervalued outside and most especially within marriage. When I choose to be feminist, I will not accept the norms of society that says it’s ok for a man to cheat and for me to accept it. When I choose to be feminist, I refuse to be hit by a man and still stay for more beating. When I say I am feminist, it means that it’s ok to be unmarried at 32 and that nothing is wrong with me, I don’t have spiritual problems, I don’t need deliverance,  it’s just life happening and my time will come and you will all eat my jollof rice too, but for the mean time, I’ll wait. 

When I say I am feminist, it means it’s ok to live in a house or apartment by myself, not because I can’t stand people but only because I need space to practice my art. When I choose to be feminist, it means I won’t allow anyone to talk me down because I am a woman especially with that disgusting statement “don’t you know you’re a woman!!!?!
When I choose to be feminist it means I treat all my friends the same and not sideline some because they are unmarried as though being unmarried or childless nah disease (so annoying). And if I had chosen to be feminist earlier on in my life, I would have bought that car I had saved up for that year!
Everyone should be feminist more especially Nigerian women so we can teach our sons to be one. So yes I am a FEMINIST.
It is how we choose to express it that makes us different.
All the images on this post are from the new series I started during my “feminist” musings.
Remember when in school if you did something wrong, you are asked to write a statement apologizing or denouncing your bad behaviour, in a hundred or more lines. So this is me telling myself that I am feminist in many many many sentences. The drawings are in charcoal and coloured pen and they represent the conversations I have had with my friends, myself and you as regards feminism. My feminist antennas have been turned on, and I am on that path of finding my own feminism. There are many things to consider on this journey, but it’s an opportunity to find one’s self. 

Coincidentally I read this satire titled HOW TO BE A WOMAN IN NIGERIA by Nigerian writer El Nathan John today and i thought to share it here,

Thank you for stopping by!

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Why are artists obsessed with the past?

art archive and history

Are artists really obsessed with the past? I think so. I am guilty. I had a similar conversation with a (senior) colleague he was more keen on the future but I was bent on holding to the past. Could the age bracket be one reason for this? But then one would think that since I was younger I would be more focused on the future and vice versa. Had he seen enough of the past and wanted a new experience from the future. Am I bored of the present and want to look back for something new albeit old?
He did share some interesting stories from the past which were very interesting and I probably had no idea about. 

Do you know where sounds like "gbam" came from? This word has now become slang.
From cinemas! Yes! So I learnt that once upon a time cinema houses in Lagos only showed motion pictures without sound so guess what... There was an interpreter and he wasnt interpreting to English oo he just basically made sounds that imitated the action or mouth movements in the film. So remember there was a lot of Bollywood movies. I can't even imagine the experience! Lol!  Na WA!

My obsession with the past began with Hairvolution and since then I have not turned back. If anyone remembers I realised somewhere during that project why I was given the name I bare which I never knew all my life. So in essence, I lacked knowledge about my own self. Immediately after that project I began the "Going back to my roots" collages. From art history to my family history my knowledge of the past is minimal (many young people of my generation are guilty and even worse for the younger generation) and I knew it was very important for me to learn about my past and while not make work with this knowledge?

Another kind of obsession...
Waiting for Beauty...  This is the title of a new drawing series I am working on.
We all use mirrors and the mirror is an important object that is always present when we speak of beauty.  It is only when we look into a mirror that we can judge ourselves and our beauty. The mirror is an object of obsession!
I am interested in this obsession (along with my obsession with hair) which ties into the present but we must look into the past and understand what the mirror stood for and this may may tell us where our self obsession with beauty began. And let's not forget our present day selfies... Yeah! Yeah?!  
The past and the present always meet! 

An object of exchange during slave trade amongst other items, the mirror is a consistent element in this set of drawings I am making.
So is it wrong to focus on the past? No. The past is important if we don't document it, we will loose it forever. What do we teach our children? Especially in a country where archives barely exist, in the future today's art may become our only link to history.

The drawing below measures 45x45.5cm
Graphite pencil, acrylic on drawing paper.

hair mirrors and beauty
waiting for beauty...  By Taiye Idahor (c) 

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Studio Update

Taiye Idahor blog post
the united nations

Good morning!
Long time no post. I have been busy people.
Image Above: Hey I was in France about a week ago for a focus program but I participated as a curator. In short summary of that trip: Nigeria has a looonnnnnggg way to go with art, collecting and not to talk of our museums. Story for another day, this is a studio update!

In the studio I have been working, yes I have and I am looking forward to showing my new work, and I hope I get an opportunity soon.
However I have been trying to finish up (like that will ever happen) with old works. "Finish" used here refers to works I started already ( paper cut, collages made but lacking drawings or paper cut, collage pieces cut but not glued and so it goes) but I just never came around to finish but they will always be ongoing work whether or or not I finish what's on the table.
The work in progress series are as follows;  Ivie series which started in December of 2014 which has now inspired new work.
contemporary African artist
Hybrid series... WIP

Contemporary female artist
shut cut WIP

There is the hybrid series which I absolutely love and that started in 2015. And going way back to Hairvolution my first solo exhibition in 2014 there was an installation called "shut cut" which was ongoing even during the exhibition and still so now (many unanswered questions remain, the void remains).
These are just 3 series and they exclude my new pencil drawings which are broken down into 3 parts again.  One on beauty (I have not given it a name yet) and another called the memory project. With the memory project I am trying to remember things, events, people,  places and so on from growing up. I found that I can't remember a lot of things especially during my teenage years and into my early twenties, there's a memory gap and I kinda suspect the reason why (still thinking about that). The third part is actually just one drawing I started early this year. I seem to make one mark every two weeks, it's been very slow.

Now I have a new project idea and I really want to get most these ones mentioned done at least to a certain extent so I can create room mentally for the new one; studio space is not the issue! And what's more exciting is that it's a sculpture project... I'm excited!  But I need money o!  Resin has almost doubled in price now according to my colleague Niyi (he stopped by yesterday).
The prices of everything has gone up o! Hint...

Also this post is made from my new phone...  I closed my eyes 😡 and got myself a new phone so I hope I can be more faithful with blogging.

Yes that has been my phone for a long time, is it my fault? No light nau! (translation: really bad power cuts, in fact the going rate is 1.5 hours every 3 days)  ask anybody in the shangisha / magodo area it's that bad. So I am grateful for the rain and cool weather,  how man for do?! And I'm keeping the phone!

As we love to say in Nigeria... It is well!
Thank you for reading.