Artist friends of mine have commented about the fact that I have bare walls at home, with no works of visual art on display. This is not because I lack appreciation for the output of visual artists. I guess I like to see and hear things in my imagination. Hopefully these impressions seep through in the colours, textures and timbres of my music.
I can’t say I had a lot of encouragement from visual arts teachers at school. There was a problem with always arriving a little late for the art class, due to timetabling constraints and the gridlocked traffic of my schooldays in Lagos. The art teacher didn’t have a lot of sympathy for me and my plight. He chose to frequently rap me on the knuckles with a paintbrush, for lateness. This had some impact on my enthusiasm for attending his lessons, naturally.
In adult life, I have come to appreciate the wealth of symbols that visual artists give to the world. I have drawn inspiration from exhibits in the African Gallery at The British Museum to compose a song cycle –After Hours in the African Gallery, for example.
I’m currently collaborating with a visual artist to present a time based presentation that is likely to feature in an international art fair in London. It is likely that songs from the aforementioned cycle will be included in the programme.
There’s yet another piece I have in the pipeline that aims to present sound portraits of significant historical moments for folks of my heritage. Maybe it’s okay for each of us to focus on our strengths.