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.