I made it to the Lagos Books & Arts Festival by the hairs of my chin, chinny chin chin (or however that goes). I was in Port Harcourt for the latter part of the week and so missed the interesting-sounding Friday sessions. On Saturday, I was catching up on much needed sleep. Ditto, Sunday morning and early afternoon. I finally got to the Museum grounds in Onikan, where the festival was being held around 5pm. I assumed that it would be over but decided to risk it anyway. There were still quite a few stands anyway. Booksellers, publishers, artists all displayed their wares. A panel discussion on 20 years after Africa's (first?) Nobel win was wrapping up. I'm sure it was a good discussion. Looking through the program, I saw that I had missed quite a lot of interesting sessions. Well, there's always next year.
I bought a locally-produced how-to VCD on baking and icing cakes. I don't know when on earth I will ever get around to watching it. Let's just hope that it's not money thrown down the drain. I bought a story book for my friend's daughter, because I don't think she has any Nigerian books (and we can't have her growing up thinking that only Caucasian children exist in books now, can we?).
After that, I went to look at the Positive Faces exhibition on at Terrakulture. It is a collection of photographs of HIV positive Nigerians, which will be on display until the 21st of September. There is still so much stigma surrounding HIV/AIDS and so to see people (many of them young) who consented to have their pictures taken for this exhibition was amazing. Many of them now work in the area of HIV/AIDS advocacy and education and there were photographs showing some of them at work in their various communities. One young man in the collection said something along the lines of not feeling any stigma from people, because he doesn't let himself feel any stigma and because he feels quite positive about his life. It's such a lesson for anyone, I feel. Life is never going to be perfect, but our attitudes determine how we will deal with life's ups and downs, and in turn affects how people will view us. So, if you live your life boldly with little intention of setting-out to please other people, people will more or less accept your choices (yes, they may gossip and snipe but they will soon enough move on to someone else who seems more vulnerable and eager to please).
Back to the exhibition, it's nice to see art that isn't just pretty to look at but which also makes you think about a different aspect of life.