Recently I had to talk about the sense of Art to someone who obviously had no clue, a new generation ‘yuppie’ pastor that would like to convert me to his church soon. He couldn’t make any sense of Art, and felt there was too much noise about Art.
As we spoke for an hour or more, it seemed like a total rediscovery of my original first attraction to Art. I found myself defending my livelihood, giving it a dignity suited for the very noble profession. I found myself falling in love again, as I revisited important points in my past life, discussing and explaining away the meetings between Art and the ever seeking human Spirit that yields upwards.
Many times I have realised my weak standpoint in the entire creative process, I have risen to lofty heights, I have also fallen into the depths. I have seen my limitations, my faults, yet I have continued believing in becoming great.
The Artist has this high-wrought sensibility of the Spiritual, of God, far and sometimes intensely above others. He continually must point towards, must ascribe, inscribe and describe always.
It was an interesting event-painting a portrait of my wife that will live with me forever. I felt a lot of ambivalence about the whole work.It dragged for about a whole year, and yet am not through. One day of course, I will sign it.
Painting is a great delight, my responsibility to tell the life of a person, an opportunity to communicate my encounters, to decimate ideas. I occasionally play, following God’s humour-one easily sees this humour at play in Nature. And yet, African Painting can not be waved away as being petty because it is born out of Actions, and Reactions. I tell anyone that cares that we Africans must still tell our own stories, using time-tested media as a vehicle.
The volume of work coming out of the Dark continent is all that Africa is about, all that it is saying now. In my work, I battle my ghosts, and outlive the very life itself. I am interested in the breaking bursts of light everywhere. I enjoy living in the Equatorial belt with its great bursts of sunshine.
I live with the fact that the works of my hands will outlive me, that my Art will inspire conversations many years after I am gone. Somehow, the fact that we are expecting a baby sort of brings a whole bunch of emotions careening into the forefront of my mind.
The people of my Paintings are sexless, most importantly human before any other characterisation. I freely use my license to appropriate, to associate, to recreate and give worth. It is an arduous task, painting in this Age. Maybe one should not sell his works again. Maybe I should sell firewood…or hawk pure water. I can live on all these. Actually, I enjoy living with my Art.