Yesterday a friend invited me to an art exhibition at Didi Museum. I promised that I would stop by if I could. I love art, though I don't know much about it. Like most lay people would say "I just know what I like!".
I got there and signed-in at the reception. The guy manning the desk asked me if I was an artist.
- No! Not at all!, I responded.
- Really? You look like an artist.
- What does an artist look like?
- Like you!
The main exhibition room was pretty bare aside from the gorgeous paintings, the artist and a handful of reporters. I would say that there were about 7 news people and my friend and I. I can't remember if this was the opening day or not. I guess it must have been if the reporters were there. But do people not attend art shows? Or perhaps there wasn't wide publicity for the event, afterall I wouldn't have known about it had my friend (who incidentally is also an artist) invited me.
As I was getting ready to leave, a reporter inquired if she could ask me a few questions about the exhibition. Panic time! Because, like I said, I know zero about art. The camera man turned his lens on me and beads of sweat started to gather at my brow as the reporter started asking her questions.
- What do I think about the exhibition?
- Mmmm.. The paintings are absolutely beauiful.
- What do you like about the artist's work?
- I love his use of colour and how he portrays movement. I like how his work is open to interpretation. You can't look at each painting and say "This is what the artist is trying to depict." (My brother later told me that the word I was struggling to find was "abstract." I knew that!)
- How do you think the arts movement has progressed in Nigeria over the last few years?
Haba! Does this woman think that I am an art critic?????
- I think that there it's actually been quite vibrant over the years and there has always been a core group of people who appreciate art. However, it doesn't always seem to have gotten the attention that it should have. I remember going to art exhibitions with my family when I was much younger and that there were always a lot of people in attendance. I don't remember that there were a lot of places to view art though. So, I think that the arts movement in Nigeria has always been very strong but contained to a small group of people.
- Okay, so how do you compare that to art in Nigeria now?
My God, lady! Let this be the last hard question you ask me.
- Hmmm, well, I think there is now a wider appreciation for the arts. Yes, there have always been supporters of the arts, but I think it's gathered more speed and recognition now. For instance, there are more places that you can go to view art. Aside from here [Didi Museum], you have Nike Art Gallery and Terrakulture.
If there were some other questions, I honestly cannot remember them, or I have blocked them out. LOL!
Afterwards, I 'confessed' that I didn't know much about art (like that wasn't already so obvious).
- Really? But you did so well. You knew about colour and movement.
I felt like a 3-year old who had been patted on the head for going potty solo for the first time (Wait! Is 3 years old even the right age to potty-train? Okay, so I'm rather clueless about babies too!). I guess making people feel better about their lack of knowledge and incoherent ramblings must be an important part of her job. I asked her what station she worked for. She replied "Galaxy."
Thank the good Lord! I don't think anybody watches that station anyway.