The news going round in Nigeria is the alleged misappropriation of funds by a former National Security Adviser – Rt. Col. Sambo Dasuki. He’s been accused of awarding phantom contracts to buy military equipment meant for the campaign against Boko Haram.
The alleged fund is $2Billion. The sheer brazenness with which the funds were disbursed is stunning. It’s been claimed that part of it went into political campaign efforts to ensure the re-election of former president – Goodluck Jonathan, while others went through dubious quarters. More names of beneficiaries of Sambo’s largesse keep surfacing.
This revelation coincides with the Christmas season, so I’d thought I could respond with a poster that wittily captures the sheer flagrancy of the situation. I came up with the idea and shared with an art director who was kind enough to get the design out, on time.
The poster has since gone viral on social media. Curiously, it’s not tagged with either my name or the art director’s. The intention is to ensure that the message isn’t distracted by my name, and to protect the designer’s anonymity. The poster, after all, is a response to a controversial national issue.
I’m fascinated by how arts can be used to amplify social and political conversations. I scoop the Internet to discover interesting pieces here-and-there on artistic deviance. I suppose my fascination is bore out of the sheer minimalist nature of such arts whereby complex social and political issues are reduced to simple and impactful artistic forms.
The UNHATE campaign by United Colors of Benetton probably ranks as the most deviant of political arts, in recent memory. It provoked global conversation by promoting a message of love. The design is remarkably well executed and simple.
Banksy might be the patron saint of this form of art. He (or she?) has been consistently creating distinctively subversive and satirical arts. His cloak of anonymity makes him more endearing to his global audience. His response to the global immigrant problem is genius.
The “Santa Suki” (not coined by me) poster’s virality reinforces my understanding of how art can be used to amplify political conversations. I’ve done couple of these in the past, some anonymously. I intend to do more in the coming years (and outside the political), and to collaborate more with brilliant creative people.