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Features, Interviews

Long before Celebrity Interviews and decades before Twitter blurbs and Polls; likes and dislikes, teenage author, Marcel Proust, answered a series of questions asked by the  Daughter of the Future Prime Minister – Felix Faure, while playing a parlor game.

The responses and question seemed normal at the time, but has since taken a life of its own.

Posthumously coined the Proust Questionaire, it has become a way for great luminaries to ponder life’s greatest notions – love; hope, happiness and even the essence of life itself. These questions are simple, yet revealing; and although on first grasp might look quotidian, a little introspection would reveal layers upon layers of sensibilities.

The Proust Questionaire remains a timeless reminder of the caprices, appeal, and innermost self of the creative spirit, and a tunnel through which masters and literary greats continue to whisper to us through the ages. Centuries later, the questions remain a direct, yet subtle probe of consciousness and complexities, usually part revealing and part funny.

When asked what his current state of mind was, David Bowie replied – ”pregnant,” and when Proust was asked where he would like to live, his reply was: “in the realm of the ideal, or rather, my ideal.”

Not known to allow themselves be penetrated, writers and creatives generally, are known for elaborate masks, built with beautiful wordplay and grand illusions, but  we are at least given a fraction of the simple, yet profound intricacies of a brilliant mind and the strangeness that allows a person gaze into the unknown to create further unknowns.

This is how to question the creative at heart, and dreamers by rote.

Abiodun Awodele – Writer at dusk, masquerade at dawn.

1. What is your idea of perfect happiness? I’d have to say that will be being successful at the things I set out to do, the things that matter to me, and success for my friends at the things that matter to them. I want success for me and my crew. 2. What is your greatest fear? I fear failure. I break out in cold sweat when I think about not making the grade anywhere or in whatever form, and that pushes me to strive harder to avoid failure. 3. What is the trait you most deplore in yourself? I think I’m too trusting of people. Many times I’ve been taken advantage of because I invested too much trust in the person. I like to be sincere with people, so when they don’t reciprocate it saddens me. I wish I trusted people less. 4. What is the trait you most deplore in others? I’m caught somewhere between dishonesty and time wasting. People who lie make me mad, just like people who have no sense of time and cannot be punctual to save their own lives. 5.  Which living person do you most admire? I’m not too big on hero worship, but I’ll pick my dad if push comes to shove. The man has taught me some lessons on people management that I’ll never forget in a hurry. 6. What is your greatest extravagance? There was a time I spent an insane amount of money on installing a satellite receiver system. I mean, it wasn’t like I even had time to watch so much television in the first place, but I had it installed anyway, just to please myself, money that could have been spent on something more useful. 7. What is your current state of mind? Very hopeful and optimistic. I’m looking forward to doing things I feel I should have done earlier, and hoping they’d give me satisfaction I dream of in doing them. 8. What do you consider the most overrated virtue? Chastity. I won’t expand on this. 9. What do you most dislike about your appearance? I like me, no, I love me, a lot. It’s not like I have a choice or I can look any different is it? Why dislike what you can’t change? An episode of Botched will tell you it’s better to stay the way you were made. Just love yourself. 10.  What is the quality you most like in a man? The ability to keep your mouth shut and mind your own business. Too many men these days just want to run their mouths and poke their nose. Don’t be one of those men. 11.  What is the quality you most like in a woman? The ability to keep your mouth shut and mind your own business. Too many women these days just want to run their mouths and poke their nose. Don’t be one of those women. 12.  Which words or phrases do you most overuse? Mine would have to be LOL. Depending on my mood, it can be a conversation starter, filler or ender. 13.  What or who is the greatest love of your life? If I told you, I’d have to kill you 14.  Which talent would you most like to have? Super powers are more my thing, but if you insist then I’ll say it would be making money off  other peoples’ talents 15.  If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? Maybe I’d love to be more forceful with people, and less trusting in certain circumstances. 16.  What do you consider your greatest achievement? For now, releasing my first book would have to be it. The doubt and uncertainty was immense, but I finally rose above all that and just did it. 17.  If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be? Person of course. Imagine coming back as tissue paper. Ewww! 18.  Where would you most like to live? In quiet village (preferably on a farm) somewhere in Europe. Light would be constant and there wouldn’t be any ‘Fulani Herdsmen’ to disturb the peace. I love quietude. 19.  What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery? Being in a situation you don’t want, and not being able to do anything about it. 20.  What is your most marked characteristic? My carefree attitude. I’m easygoing, I think. I’m not too demanding, and I find joy in little things. 21.  What do you most value in your friends? Loyalty. Has to be loyalty. I want my friend to be my friend in every sense of the word. Is that too much to ask? 22.  Who are your favorite writers? John Jakes, Ted Dekker and Stephen King. 23.  Who is your hero of fiction? I don’t have any. 24.  Which historical figure do you most identify with? Marilyn Monroe 25.  Who are your heroes in real life? Parents, all of them. 26.  What is your greatest regret? That I didn’t pursue my writing dream earlier. Maybe by now I would have ‘blown’. Who knows? I’m grateful for the talent and all that, but sometimes I wish I’d listened to the voices in my head much earlier. 27.  How would you like to die? Peacefully, with two Angels on hand to take me to the mansion in the sky 28.  What is your motto? Life is an ‘I’ experience. It might sound a tad selfish, but do stuff for you. At the end of the day the consequences of your actions are yours anyway, so why worry about other people? ***** Abiodun Awodele is a writer, and his books, “Always and Forever.” and “As In A Day” areout on Okadabooks and Amazon.
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Features
  And Amidst all our call cult of activities, we’ve come to see boredom as totally inexcusable, but contrary to that believe or perception that boredom is failure, boredom is actually good or shall I say vital for the mind and spirit.
By Adesoji Lydia (@lydisaam on twitter) Any day I’m home with nowhere to go, my activities for that day will be something like this – more often than not: wake up from my sleep at any time I desire, eat when I feel like, sit with my books – academic or non-academic; fiction or nonfiction; scribble and write if I’m in the zone (like my boyfriend will say); go online and see what’s happening while I chat or reply my chat messages (I try to), watch TED talk or a movie, make and receive calls, and of course, sleep again. And then after, i press the repeat button, especially the one that controls reading and “sleep again”. And because the power supply in my area is dead and epileptic, I rarely get to watch TV and as such miss a lot from wrestling – at least I get to be hyper and scream Aside from the unrelenting heat, my day is great. I know what you think, but no, I don’t get a feeling of emptiness or boredom – I’m just fine. But we’ve got some wonderful individuals who just can’t stand the thought of being alone not to talk of experiencing it and when they meet another with the opposite, they find that individual boring. There is an adage that holds that one should be engaged in something productive or positive without which the negative will come to mind. We all know that adage, at least most of us do – “An idle mind is the Devil’s workshop.” As an individual, I spend a lot of time with myself and I’m not bothered or overly bored of myself and I consider it normal and thus greatly surprised when some individuals tell me that they just find it boring been alone – they just want to go out or have friends around – either ways, they don’t want to be alone. With the spread of technology, being alone and doing nothing is a new sort of disease. People do lots of things – anything – just to be in the present – from social media to digital reading to playing games; from partying to cooking, gisting; even quarrelling ones neighbour (of course, it’s always the neighbour’s fault) – the list is endless. But there are benefits of solitude which can be achieved when one engage in nothing – just staring into space – or zone out like my boyfriend does. Hedy Lamar says “I can excuse anything but boredom.” This age of time, we run away or avoid anything or environment that makes us bored. Very few individuals can stay alone in the dark and engage in thinking or go on a walk without a headset or stay in the garden/ field and admire nature’s little miracles. In defining boredom as simply a state of emptiness – an “emptiness” we all strife to avoid – we want every lacuna filled with something or someone. In a country like mine where the power supply is on life support, we’ve all learnt to support our “existence” with a power bank or charger so that we can charge at every opportunity  – we can’t just bear the pain of having our phones dead, they keep us company. And Amidst all our call cult of activities, we’ve come to see boredom as totally inexcusable, but contrary to that believe or perception that boredom is failure, boredom is actually good or shall I say vital for the mind and spirit. Maria Popova holds that to be bored is to be unafraid of our interior lives – a form of moral courage central to being fully human. Bertrand Russell – a British philosopher, in his book, “Conquest of Happiness.” explained some exciting and enlightening things about boredom. The following are some of his quote:
“We are less bored than our ancestors were, but we are more afraid of boredom. We have come to know, or rather believe, that boredom is not part of the natural lot of man, but can be avoided by a sufficiently vigorous pursuit of excitement.”   “A wish to escape from boredom is natural; indeed all races of mankind have displayed it as opportunity occurred… Wars, pogroms and persecutions have all been part of the flight from boredom; even quarrels with neighbors have been found better than nothing.”
“Boredom, however, is not to be regarded as wholly evil. There are two sorts, of which one is fructifying,  while the other is stultifying. The fructifying kind arises from the absence of drugs and the stultifying kind from the absence of vital activities.”   “There is an element of boredom which is inseparable from the avoidance of too much excitement, and too much health, but dulls the palate for every kind of pleasure, substituting titillations for profound organic satisfactions, cleverness for wisdom and jagged surprises for beauty… A certain power of enduring boredom is therefore essential to a happy life, and is one of the things that ought to be taught to the young.”   “A generation that cannot endure boredom will be a generation of little men, of men unduly divorced from nature, of men in whom every vital impulse slowly withers, as though they we’re cut flowers in a vase.”
Boredom is beneficial to humans. Some of the joys of solitude is that it helps one reflect on things, allows you daydream – positive daydreaming – without which there will be no creativity, another joy of solitude or boredom is that it brings ideas that can change your life for better. Isaac Newton was alone, engaging in some thinking time – alone time – under an Apple tree. An apple fell to the ground and this act caused him to ask questions which led to his discovery of Law of Gravity. “So during those first moments of the day, which are yours and yours alone, you can circumvent these boundaries and concentrate fully on spiritual matters. And this gives you the opportunity to plan the time management of the entire day.” Bear in mind also, that just as sleep is the state of relaxation for the body, boredom is also the state of mental relaxation. So, the next time you think of been alone, instead of making plans to escape the boredom, walk into it – open your mind and enjoy yourself by yourself. You never can tell the life changing idea that might creep in
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Features
Flash fiction works are without doubt enjoyable, especially when the writer gets it right. This style of writing usually starts in the middle and aims to surprise the reader with a shocking or unexpected end. In today’s fast paced world where communication is instant, thanks to smart devices, Internet and other innovative technologies, some readers enjoy consuming information in bite-sized chunks. This is why the flash fiction category is important to the prestigious Etisalat Prize for Literature. In this category, only 300 words are required. For 2015 Etisalat Prize for Literature, John Chidi, Jacqueline Uche Agweh or Kuti Ojuolape Modupe have been shortlisted for the Flash Fiction Category. The winner of this category will receive a cash prize of £1,000, a high-end device and will have his or her published e-book promoted online and via SMS. The two runners up will receive £500 as cash prize (each) and high-end devices. See the entries of the shortlisted winners below:   Kuti Ojuolape Modupe – Gone. Her beauty was unfair, un-fair, an ebony thing, but that wasn’t the reason I loved her. It was not the way she curled her finger around her hair when she was nervous or how she flicked my nose when she was upset with me. It was not her voracious appetite for trouble which seemed to always have a way of finding her, nor the way she always made me late for work with her morning shenanigans. It was not even the soft feel of her hands when we touched or the butterflies I felt when when kissed. No, it was that I had fallen for her at all. I wasn’t sure if I had fallen all at once or if I had like a thousand crystal shards of broken glass. It was the way she made me feel things I had never felt before. Love. A strangeness. An uncertainty. Yet, my love for her was a jumping thing, never stable, like her. And that was why when her cupboard was bereft save for a note, I already knew what it would say. She was gone.   Jacqueline Uche-Agweh – Madness in Degrees ‘’What’s wrong? Dr Ogbe asks our patient, Naturi. ‘’Nothing!’’ Naturi snaps back. ‘’Something’s wrong, but I won’t force you to talk.’’ “Just leave me alone!’’ ‘’Fine,’’Dr Ogbe replies, and ignoring Naturi’s petulance, her fingers tap away at her keyboard. Both women subsequently lapse into silence and Naturi’s full lips curl into a hard line. Silently, I watch the drama. I am, after all, assistant psychiatric doctor, and I have come to understand the thinness between sanity and mental neurosis. Naturi is a beautiful 19 year old girl, a vivacious creature with a head filled with things you wouldn’t believe. Once, she claimed a voice had told her to dance; and did she dance? Really, I believe we are all mad in degrees, but only become patients when overly ambitious in our pursuits. Naturi’s face goes from indignation, to scorn, and finally to misery. And maybe hoping for solace in a man, our eyes lock, and with tears trickling down her face, she cries out, ‘’I am in love! But my heart is broken.” Dr Ogbe looks up at her now. ‘’I met him at Sophie’s,’’ she says softly, heart-broken. ‘’His name is Chizzy.’’ ‘’What is the problem?’’ Dr Ogbe asks, with practiced patience. “He keeps staring at another woman.” Puzzled, Dr Ogbe hands her a tissue and books her another appointment. After work later that afternoon, I see Naturi standing in front of Sophie’s boutique, eyes fixed on the lovely clothes displayed in the show glass. Curious, I linger and watch her gapping at the clothes, or so I thought at first until I drew closer. Two exquisite pale mannequins are displayed; one male, the other female, plastic arms touching, and both staring eternally into each other’s eyes. Embroidered on the male’s shirt is the name, Chizzy!   John Chidi – Invincible I cheated death tonight. The third time in the 1, 390 weeks, 5 days and eleven hours I have spent on this planet. A sedan, headlamps off, was doing no less than 80kmph in my direction. I leaped. A screech, as rubber fought asphalt then a loud thud and a crash, followed. I was safe. The cretin! What on earth…? My body was shaking in wonderment–and alarm. Sweat broke out on my crown while my heart, pounded with tumbadora intensity. I was grateful to be invincible… The first time, I was seven months old. Mother told me I was prone to lurching. I did that one day in the maid’s arms. She was only seven, with no experience in those matters. I fell and hit my head on a slab. I suffered intracranial haemorrhage and was in a coma for 10 days. The second time was after final exams in the university. Stress and exhaustion had reconfigured almost everyone in our clique into images of kwashiorkor onset–protruding heads, sunken eyes and bony frames. A picnic was prescribed. The lagoon, our destination, was nearby. The idea was eat, chat and laze. At some point, we, mostly the guys, decided to swim. And swim we did. When the others came out of the water I didn’t. A fisherman rescued me; I’d gotten entangled in a net. Since then, my life’s been relatively without incident until tonight. I looked beyond the gathered crowd. The car had come to rest against a concrete pole, bonnet twisted in agony, engine emitting steam upwards and dripping water below. The driver’s seatbelt-less torso had borne the impact. My wife was pushing through the throng. My gaze followed where her attention was directed. There was something, no someone, lying unnaturally on the ground. It was me.
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Social Media Week is a leading news platform and worldwide conference that curates and shares the best ideas and insights into social media and technology’s impact on business, society, and culture.
 

Social Media Week Lagos season has officially started. And for the travelers who are ready to descend upon Lasgidi, you’ll want to arm yourself with prime reading to get yourself in the right mind frame for your trip. Electrifying, energetic and entertaining are some of the few words to describe Lagos. And we’ve crafted a little list to get you started on getting a snapshot of the city from a literary lens. Here are three examples to jumpstart your trip – only for the literary squad.

  One Night in Lasgidi by Teju Cole If you haven’t read Teju Cole, you simply should. This summer he publishedOne Night in Lasgidi in the Paris Review about the inimitable vibe of clubbing in Lagos. If Cole’s words weren’t enough, he also curated a soundtrack to go with his piece. Check out his curated list below including tracks from Nneka, Wizkid, D’Banj and Wale. Africa In Your Earbuds #64   Tour of Duty: Journeys Around Nigeria by Pelu Awofeso Not exclusive to Lagos, travel journalist Pelu Awofeso grabbed a backpack and camera and roamed 18 states in Nigeria for Tour of Duty. Bothered by the media’s portrayal Nigeria as a country full of scammers… CONTINUE READING
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Features
By Olanrewaju Odesomi The Serenghetti in East Africa is one of the Earth’s most stunning landscapes, and as well, is home to one of nature’s really enduring beauties – the Wildebeests. The sight of its unabashed and untamed beauty, which the darkly tone Wildebeest epitomises call to many, myself inclusive. The Essence of a real education. The Wildebeest, or shy beast as some love to call them is as much of the Serenghetti as its fiery sun and open landscape and their migration every year is one of the world’s true moving wonders; a testament to tradition and never changing mindset. The migration in search of grass and water has become a yearly phenomenon now extensively covered by the media. What amazes me more than the graceful magnetism with which they move and how their movement of purpose and sheer quantity glisten against the smiling sun, is their lack of collective preservation. Every year, the Lions await them – hiding behind tall grasses, patiently waiting. And every year, the Lions employ the same tactics of divide and conquer – where they suddenly charge at the Wildebeests, mainly to destabilize them and in the process, look for the weakest, or the youngest to attack. And every year, like clock work, it works, as the strong, and fast, leave the young, and/or the slow to the guts of the Lions, even though they easily outnumber the Lions, sometimes by ten thousand to ten. All Animals by default, are born with a survivor instincts, or are made by default to operate under ‘natural selection’, where the strongest feeds on the weakest, and everyone is for himself, and learning from history is a strange proposition. Humans, like other animals, are born of a default setting that starts with I, and ends with ME. Iwant so, so, and so. Everyone is against ME…No one gets ME, and we then act from a subconscious, myopic angle, where we fail to see beyond our noses but see ourselves and perspective as the singular most important, revealing thing in the world. But what has separated us from animals, and took us from the caves to the edge of space has been our collective learning, and education, and the idea that what happens to one, is a disservice to many. The Essence of A Real Education Education, to me, is everything you learn besides that which is taught in class. It is what you remember and what shapes you when everything else you’ve learnt is long gone and forgotten. It is how knowledge reshapes your life lessons, and coordinates your mantra. It is that which teaches you what the most important thing in life is. Our default setting is destructive, selfish, and prejudiced and what it does is, it makes us see ourselves; family and friends; tribe, religion, and belief system as the peak of human intelligence, endeavors, ability and comprehension. We are wired to act subconsciously in such manner. So, the essence of a real education is to help us stay aware and conscious of our biases and default settings, and if possible, help us get rid of these beliefs. What education should do is wither away at our inborn prejudices, replacing them with curiosity and consciousness. Education, as much as it is learning, is also unlearning: unlearning our default system and prejudices, while learning to be aware and conscious. David Foster Wallas in his now legendary commencement address: “This is Water,” said
“…the value of a real education…has nothing to do with knowledge and everything to do with simple awareness; awareness of what is so real, and essential…”
It is not the quantity, but rather, the quality of our knowledge that makes us conscious. And being conscious arms us with the ability to know what is important in life. In as much as I don’t know why we are here, or the meaning of life, but I align, and strongly too, with Charles Bustoski words that “…we are here for different reasons, and yet the same reasons…”, and enlightenment is what helps us understand we are all united in our differences, and each every one of us, may be different in age, look, race, education, and skill, are all here to share the same human experience. The value of any education should be to help us see alternatives, and make us aware that reality is not limited to that which we can see currently, but rather, to help us “imagine immensities”, and realize that there can be, and should be better alternatives. Areal education should open our eyes to new ways of perceiving things. It should also help us know that we know not everything. It takes a certain kind of education to make us understand that certain things should, and are allowed to be different. A lot of us make the mistake of thinking formal education was meant to elevate the holder in a class system, and we couldn’t be more wrong. Instead, what education should do is enlighten and stretch us continuously to the point of awareness, and help us see the importance of each individual in the world, whether schooled or not. But unfortunately, many of us belief formal education caps us the right to lord over, or look down on anyone without it, or without the level of ours, and see them as inferiors. In reality, any human, alone, no matter his level of skill, intellectual sagacity and knowledge is infinitely small and limited, especially when taken into account the universe and cosmos. Senecasaid “The most important knowledge is that which guides the way you lead your life…” An individual has little to go on, alone, except through the channel of our common identity, and inter-connectivity. And here, l’m not against creative independency. No. Infact, I ensue its values, and place as one of the concrete pillars holding human development. But even that depends on what Albert Einstein called “Social Cohesion”. Scientist, and one of the 20th century ardent thinkers, Carl Sagan, extols more light on it when he said
“…i think if we ever reach the point where we think we thoroughly understand who we are, and where we came from, we will have failed…if we know only one kind of life, then we are extremely limited in our understanding, even of that kind of life. If we know only one kind of intelligence, then we are extremely limited, knowing even that kind of intelligence…but seeking our counterparts elsewhere, broadening our perspective, even if we do not find what we are looking for gives us a framework in which to understand ourselves far better…”
The essence of getting any sort of education, in my opinion, is curiosity, and open mindedness. Education never should make us sure of our understanding, nor should it make us grossly skeptical, as even the later indicates an operation from a default setting of old ideas, where nothing new has gotten to us. Education should remind us of that which we don’t know, as every creation started from a place of ignorance and belief in alternatives. Ignorance, accompanied by curiosity, and the ability to visualize immensities are the ingredients that cooks up discovery. So, any education, no matter the type or length, that leaves us with certainty, either of our superior knowledge, or of what reality really is, is somewhat limited in its scope, and dangerous too. Getting a real education leads to human freedom – either mentally, or physically. And it also helps us to choose our attitude in any given scenario, whether in an argument, or especially when life happens. We can either beg to differ respectively, or resort to name calling, or the gang up mob mentality now pervasive on social media. Human freedom, as it is the ability to make up your mind, is also the ability to change your mind. That said, we also need humility to make us understand we can’t be right all the time. A real education should leave us with the ability to respect everyone’s opinion, agreeing to disagree, without chopping off one another’s dignity, or going out of our way to blind the other’s sunshine. Awareness, and staying in consciousness helps us stop pretending our harsh words does not have impact on others and instead makes us increase our empathy, and shared existence, putting us on our way to being ‘someone that does not offend by superiority’. Only small, ‘uneducated men’, stop others from standing tall. One of the redeeming factors of education is to teach us better ways of solving matters, besides the use of brawn. You cant shake with a hand, and at the same time use it to give a blow. The real essence of an education can be likened to an Artist working on a log of wood – with a chisel, meticulously scrapping away at the edges, until, finally, a beautiful bird leaps out. So too does education – it quietly cuts away at our default settings, and subdues the prejudiced mind, while improving the heart. Are you still a log of wood occupying space, or is the essence of your being about taking flight? – That is the question a good education asks.
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Features, News
Channels TV Book Club shared their list of top 15 Nigerian books in 2015. The list contained books published within December 2014 – December 2015, and covers the category of prose, memoirs, business, politicsccccc, biography and more. What do you think about the list? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.   [color-box] Ayomidotun Freeborn is an all-round creative mind, visual storyteller and ex-geek. Learning all the rules and breaking everyone of them. Follow him on twitter @iamayomidotun [/color-box]
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Features
French Artist Eugene Delacroix once said “I believe that when one needs a subject, it is best to hark back to the Classics and to choose something there” And that is exactly what Nigerian – American Artist Kehinde Wiley is doing. But more than that, Wiley is wreaking havoc on the white dominated portraiture of the renaissance, and repainting masterpieces, quite literarily.
Kehinde Wiley: the Nigerian repainting the history of arts Kehinde Wiley’s Mother is an American woman who met his dad, a Nigerian, at UCLA. Kehinde Wiley, obviously, is a twin (Kehinde is the name given to the second child of a set of twins by the Yorubas), birthed in South Central L.A and earned his B.F.A from Yale. As if that isn’t improbable enough, Wiley is one of the most commercially successful artists of his generation. Wiley’s Art is a history Laden representation of the present, with insights from popular culture. His subjects are popular black individuals that includes MJ, LL Cool J, Biggie, Eto’o amongst others, painted on a backdrop of decorative patterns; arts and crafts; fabrics and floral designs that are sourced from all over the world. He is also known to do ‘street casting’. In Wiley’s arts, the ‘very’ white Kings and saints of Classical protrature are reborn as Blacks; possessing the same pose and dignity, but with modern attires to represent contemporary culture. The thrones and crowns are replaced with blings and Nikes.     20150220161406-EL137.63 His work has been likened to that of Markelene Thomas – the Brooklyn based painter whose complex rhinestone and acrylic paintings of black women draws heavily from pop culture, and the late Jean Michel Basquat who reconstructed arts by pulling strings from his origins. But Wiley’s Pastiche paintings bear more resemblance, theoretically, to the controversial works of Barkley Hendricks the 70’s. LNee Hendricks’, Wiley’s work is also controversial. His critics are quick to point out that his paintings, especially the inclusion of designer labels, are too pop culture infused to be regarded as high arts. In an interview with the New York Times, Wiley answered: “Fashion is fragile and fleeting, but it is also an indicator for the cultural and social appetite for a nation.” He went further in an interview with NPR, “Why take it out? The brands people wear are serious business.”   More seriously though, is the question of what the measure of involvement in his paintings by his assistants are, or the sources of the pattern in the background. Wiley’s assistants paints the busy patterns and floral arrangements in a studio in China, as confirmed by him. It has much to do with his success as the demand for his work are too much for him to do it all. Western Arts, Wiley believes, has ignored brown faces and he sees it as as a duty to change that history, until blackness is as much a thing in Museums as whiteness. And it has to be said that he is succeeding, and in doing so has become one of the influencial artist of the 21st century.   [color-box] Olanrewaju Odesomi is an accounting graduate, and a Certified Customer Care Professional. He is a dreamer who dances to his own music, and whose peak is yet to be conquered. Guilty of writing. You can find him on twitter @lanreode [/color-box]
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At 16, I was curious.I wanted to be kissed. I wanted to be wanted. The promise of delight between my thighs had me fighting against all my father had taught me. I wanted to be a ‘bad girl’. At 20, I was still a ‘good girl’. I had never been kissed, I had never had sex, and no boy had declared feelings for me. I felt ugly, alone, strange, unlovable, burying my depression in fantasies of the crushes I had become infatuated with, in the four years I spent in the University, observing boys. At 20, for the first time, a boy looked my way. He wasn’t perfect but he was something. He was eager to please, he was huge so I wasn’t as conscious of my size. He was very dark, with a massive dick. And he hurt me. He wasn’t ready. I was, but I didn’t know what to do. I nursed a half torn nipple and sore vagina back to health for weeks, wondering what the hell everyone else had ever been on about. At 21 I fell in love. Half in love. He was short, smart, confident, and made my insides glow. I cared for him deeply and wanted to be enough for him. I worried about the way my breasts hung, my stretch marks, the size of my stomach. I ate healthy, and took drugs to purge a week before I saw him. I shaved clean and hurt myself in the process. I was so embarrassed with myself, I ate weed before going to see him. If I disgusted him, if I sucked, I’d be too high to notice. At 21, yet again, I fell in love. He was tall, kind, adoring, and beautiful. My heart had been broken, and he was the light in a dark, dark tunnel. I couldn’t wait. He didn’t last 2 minutes and he went on about how beautiful I was and how amazing I felt. After that we fucked endlessly and sex was no longer a phenomenon. I had been kissed, sex didn’t hurt and I knew how to ride. I even twerked on good days. At 22, I had my first orgasm. I worried and questioned my normality, as I had when I was a 20 year old virgin. I read up on orgasms, and decided masturbation was more self education than sin. It was scary, the feeling of incredible pleasure, and I learned to to enjoy it, to keep rubbing my clit till I had cum completely. At 23, I have had only one man, and I have let him go. I may be up for a comfortable rendezvous or two with a stunning stud, but I’m not looking. If I could meet my younger self, I’d tell her to take it easy. I’d tell her she was beautiful, and that what her father and step mother thought of her body were their own limitations, not hers. I’d tell her to wait for someone who would value her first time as much as she’d wanted to. I’d tell her not to fall in love before she loved herself, learned herself, and determined what was important to her in life. I’d hug her, and beg her to just calm the fuck down. Does this feel incomplete? Some things are way too classified.   [color-box] Awele Nonso is an expressive writer, organic skin care enthusiast and die-hard feminist. She blogs at Shismatic Minutes [/color-box]
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So it’s a thought provoking Thursday for yours truly. I trust you all are doing great. Quite recently, I have seen a number of arguments on the internet about rape and indecent dressing. Surprisingly, the ayes were greater than the nays in the polls as to whether indecent dressing by ladies is responsible for rape. It was and is still a shocker to me; as to why someone in their right mind will make any excuse for an individual who commits rape. I am strongly of the opposing faction. That school of thought which believes that rape cannot be attributed to indecent dressing of any kind is where you’ll gladly and happily find me. Truth be told, I find it a hypocritical statement of the highest category to attribute a girl/lady/woman’s rape to indecent dressing. For the simple fact that we believe that men can be raped too (even without penetration). Let me examine the basics a little. Rape is a sexual assault on an individual without their CONSENT. So as long as the person does not agree to have sex or sexual relations with the other party, if sex occurs it will be rape. Irrespective of the existing relationship (whether espoused, affianced, boyfriend/girlfriend, sex-buddy, friends with benefits, etc). Thus, it has to be consensual. Now if that is what rape is, how can women dressing indecently be held responsible for them being raped? When a 7 year old girl (as recently reported) is raped by her uncle, do we say indecent dressing is responsible? The lady who was asleep in her house and burglars broke into her home and raped her, shall we say it is because of the nightgown/pajamas she wore to bed that is responsible? Even the girl who goes to visit her boy bestie and he forces his attentions on her, is she wholly to blame? Then again, when guys go about sagging their pants and showing their boxers/briefs, how many of them have been raped as a result? I understand the reason for caution and am all for dressing decently. I will also advise against visiting your male friend all by yourself if its a private visit. However, I also realize that many times, a certain amount of trust must have been attained for a lady to go and visit her friend by herself. It is now dependent on the said friend to betray or protect that trust. What is more, a rapist is as sick as a voyeur or a person who is guilty of bestiality. Now how many persons can defend someone who’s having sex with goats, cows, etc?   [color-box] Eky Shirley is an unrepentant Liverpool FC Lover. A girl who loves words, books, and good music. She blogs at Eky’s Corner. [/color-box]
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So the 27th of September, 2015, came around soon enough. I had just spent the 1st week of a grueling 11 in Lagos and was going for my first social event, a meet up with the members of the Mainland Book Cafe. You could have called me a fringe member, since I was told about it by the one and only modern day Ojuju, Beordoon . I had even written a post for the blog, so I felt like I was not too much of an outsider. More importantly, I was going to see the popular “Bar Enclave” and it’s twitter renowned TURKEY. So yeah, I was excited. I had no idea what to expect. I only knew one person of all the people (so I thought): plus, am pretty much as unconventional as they come and was a tad worried. In my head, “writers” are the knowledgeable ones; are supposed to be stuffy and all that (yeah I know, we all judge people on some level. we all stereotype, so let me have my two minutes please….) Never mind myself, I just rant and have never really considered myself a writer. Anyway, I got there a tad late and met the mini community. Guess what Ekene? They were all cool people; not fuddy duddy at all like my imaginary TV screen projected. The conversations were all inclusive and every one’s opinions were listened to, even in the selection of the next book to be read. The informal atmosphere of The Enclave helped me settle right in as well. And the turkey? Please, that’s subject for another blog series in fact. So for sure I knew I was going to come back for as long as I remained in Lagos. And I did go back twice. Made a new set of friends, met some people I had only known online, saw some old friends again and discussed books in a setting as different, yet as similar as my literature class for the first time in ages. I also attended my first book reading, got an autographed copy of Sector IV and generally had a nice time. For the rest of my stay in Lagos, my last Sundays of every month were booked. Sadly, am back to base now and miss the MBC meetups. Hopefully, I’ll visit soon enough and they will not forget about me; as I sure will not forget them!   [color-box] Eky Shirley is an unrepentant Liverpool FC Lover. A girl who loves words, books, and good music. She blogs at Eky’s Corner. [/color-box]  
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