Back to Shore

clip_image002The Return to shore, 22” x 22”, acrylic on canvas, 12/2010

The farmer returns from the farmlands across the Lake at dusk. This scene is from my memories of the scenes at the Lake in my village in Oguta, Imo State. All the farming is done across the Lake, where the villagers own large portions of land. This is also the reason why it is almost impossible to see small patches of farmland around family homes.

Some of these farmers put up shelter by their farmlands, and live there through the planting season till after harvest. They all bring their harvested crops home in August. The villagers welcome them at the shore, and they exchange tales-the villagers tell tales of events at the village while the farmers tell tales of the farmlands.

This joyful exchange formed the origin of a festival called Ogene Nkirika, celebrated in my village at the season of the harvesting of the new yams, sometime in August. The indigenes return to Oguta to watch a dramatization of the morbid, the vulgar, and the jocular. There are a lot of costumers and disguises. The drama is open to everyone, all you need do is to join into the carnival procession that starts from the shores of the Blue Lake to the end of the village, and you are on stage. It is quite entertaining.

The return to shore is a joyful moment, in a sort of coming-down-to-earth way. The painting draws from the loose application of colour of the old English landscapes of Constable. The large blotches of colour are expressive, and I always wish to remember Turner when I look at a landscape. There is an air of weightiness, and abstraction of form, looking for the simplest definitions of each form.


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