A gathering of creatives fascinates me. The ambience becomes enlivened with a type of energy expected from a camp of teenagers, only tamed with adult mindfulness. It’s more thrilling if the gathering constitutes literary creatives. (I’m quick to qualify the type of creatives because I spend more time with advertising creatives).
The setting at Terra Kulture was typical. An audience sits attentively, watching a spectacle of readers, recitals, dancers, fashion parade and the occasional flashes from camera. A stretch of tables at the back of the hall advertises books and art merchandise, as a rollup banner on the stage reads, #ThisArtIsEnough
I can only recall a few years ago where I attended a book reading inside the bookshop at Terra Kulture and “Taruwa” at Bogobiri, Ikoyi. Other attempts have failed either because I couldn’t make the time or I didn’t get the info. I’m a little flexible these days so I’ve decided to attend as many as I can.
Excuse my distraction: I noticed how things have really changed sartorially and in vibes at literary events. Folks in the audience looked far from the stereotypes - scruffy, melancholic, and all round sloppiness - that define literary folks. My friend - Dami and I, perhaps stupidly, usually make fun of those that play to the ugly stereotypes. He always has the wittiest putdowns. I remember when we saw a poorly groomed writer with unkempt dreadlocks. Dami whispered, “Dude, is this Art”? I struggled to recover from laughter. I tried to defend the writer and make a case for tortured artists. Dude just shut me up and said, “That’s why we don’t have many of them on billboards endorsing brands but they’ll be complaining that advertisers are not doing enough for the arts, when most of y’all look like poor citizens from a Dickens novel’.” I mentioned that it’s a simplistic conclusion and also reminded him that Soyinka featured in one of the early and cool Glo ads and Chimamanda is a constant for Fidelity Bank. Then came, “Shut up! Don’t you see that those ones always look fly every time?” I did shut up!
Let’s say the fedoras, snapback, fitting clothes, stylish blends, few paraded female legs (Yes, I said it) and the general zestfulness guarantee our attendance on the next edition of #ThisArtIsEnough, if any.
A major highlight was watching Tade Ipadeola read a poem and meeting him after. I always observe Tade from a distance and I peek into his life and works through mutual friends, some of whom wonder that we’ve never met before. He also expressed an excitement and mentioned how he’s been looking forward to the day we will meet. I just became smaller than I am. I was introduced to Tade’s poetry in my undergraduate days. I was stunned reading The Rain Fardel and A Time of Signs. Lawd! Poetry won’t die as long as some poets live.
Another highlight was watching my friend, Qudus Onikeku – talented dancer, dance with the energy of a rascally god. I wonder how he pulls his stunts without reports of dislodged bones. We will later spend some minutes outside the event, alongside designer, Muinat, to exchange wisecracks about the Nigerian youth and discuss perspective about the creative industry. He’s all for maintaining purity of the arts against capitalist distractions. I’m all for maintaining the purity of the arts and making shitloads of money.
So I had fun, bought two books, met new people and left with these pictures: