in Featured

Saturday, 19 December 2020

ON HUMANITY, ART & STORYTELLING - AN INTERVIEW WITH PEARL ADA

Humanity and kindness


Hi, pearl. Please introduce yourself


Hello:) My name is Pearl Ada and I am a storyteller.



You recently started a website - a free resource hub where people have access to resources and information on the dangers of sexual violence and abuse. Tell us more about it and why you thought this was such an important step to take, Did you receive any push back whatsoever before and after it was created?


Consent Haven is a free resource hub for all individuals, organizations, and groups that are interested in abolishing the normalized culture of sexual violence and abuse in Nigeria. We tackle rape culture through consent education.


To be honest, I started Consent Haven out of desperation and I guess helplessness. The plight of the girl child in Nigeria and Africa as a whole is something I just can't wrap my head around. It's alarming, to say the least. With the rape and murder of Uwa, I felt like I wasn't doing enough. Are my conversations about this enough? Am I part of the problem? I found myself struggling with these thoughts...I was really losing sleep for days, then I spoke to a wise friend of mine about it..:) He gave me an assignment, asked me to brainstorm - to come up with something I can do. That's how Consent Haven was born. I had all these pieces of information I wanted to share, so I got to work. I reached out to some creatives including you Roseline...:) Thank you for helping me out...


I can't tell you how many emails I wrote to organizations, schools or the amount of influential people I reached out to, just to get it out there. None of it worked and that's okay...no one owes me anything

In regards to push-back, I actually didn't receive any while working on it. I just lost a lot of sleep - because it was a one-woman team from the creation of the website, its design, the resources and all that. I am used to not sleeping much anyway...(laughs) I got a lot of praise from friends and family after its creation, I was truly grateful for that but to be honest, that wasn't what I was looking for.


With Consent Haven, more than anything, I just wanted people to share the website and its resources. I can't tell you how many emails I wrote to organizations, schools or the amount of influential people I reached out to, just to get it out there. None of that worked...(laughs) and that's okay. It just reminded me of something I have always known, the fact that no one owes me anything and that I need to work really hard to have a platform, build an audience so that when I share projects like this, it can reach people.


6ft 3


I believe evil can never outdo good, there's just as much good as there is evil in this world. People are good! People are kind! People will help you!

 



We are breaking others in search of relief... & when you hurt beauty you hurt yourself... These lines are excerpts from your spoken word poetry 'The person who tried to break me' and 'You are ugly' These lines made me wonder how people hurt people without realizing that they too are undergoing some sort of self-destruction, can you speak more to this? Do you think the world is losing the essence of kindness?


Hurt people hurt people. That's a fact. It's really difficult to see someone who is at peace with their body, mind, and soul wreaking havoc in other people's lives. When we understand and know love - true love which by the way begins with ourselves, we find it hard to hurt others. It took a while to get here but when a person hurts me, the first thing I think is damn, this person must really be hurting. When you know and feel beauty, you give beauty, you speak beauty, you show beauty. That's how I see the world. Is it a correct view? Dunno. (laughs)


When we understand and know love - true love which by the way begins with ourselves, we find it hard to hurt others

 

Is the world losing the essence of kindness? Nah, don't think so. Although it seems the world is just getting darker and scarier, I believe evil can never outdo good, there's just as much good as there is evil in this world. People are good! People are kind! People will help you! That's the mindset I try to live by. Will I meet people who will make me question humanity? Of course! But when I am open to good, I will come in contact with it. As a woman thinketh, so is she.


Art can change the world


Do you Believe Art can change the world? You are so multi-talented, I've seen you dance, you write so well, you have very powerful vocals and you do spoken word poetry, among other things. Which of these Art forms do you love the most, which one is more liberating for you.


I think Art can and is changing the world. I speak from personal experience. I am deeply moved by art, there's just intense beauty in it. I have learned so much from engaging with different art forms and also from creating it. It's one of the most powerful things in the world. I love storytelling, be it through music, dance, spoken words, poetry, drama, I feel so free and happy when I get to tell stories. Truly, all these art forms make my heart race   (laughs) But there's one that makes it beat a little faster than the others, and that is Acting.


I call myself a storyteller because I don't want to be identified by just one art form 

 

I am an aspiring actor, I love it so much, it gives me butterflies.  To bring the human experience to life on stage, on-screen - that's my dream. This is the only occupation I don't mind being identified by - Pearl the Actor:))) I call myself a storyteller because I don't want to be identified by just one art form. I can geek out breaking down a scene or talking about an actor who inspires me. I even have a list of actors who I learn from. For me, watching a movie is a study session, I break down scenes, think of the actor's choices, the director's view  It's manic really. (laughs)



First class law graduate


You are first-class Law graduate! As a law student, I know this is such a big deal and it is not an easy feat. How was your experience studying law outside Nigeria and what do you think Nigerian universities can do better in terms of providing quality education. Also, any reading tips for law students who are struggling to get their grades up.


Thank you! My experience studying in the UK was beautiful, truly. It really wasn't easy but I didn't have to go through unnecessary hardships and all that. At the core of their education system is the wellbeing of the student, something which the Nigerian system completely lacks. If you put a student first, they do better, they excel but when a system is designed to attack your effort and hard work, it's just terrible, it's not conducive. The Nigerian universities need to put the student and their needs first, before profit and politics.


Honestly, I don't know if I am the right person to give study advice, but I would say you should know what kind of student or learner you are. Are you a visual, auditory, or verbal learner? Do you do better in groups or alone? Figure this out and fix yourself where you can thrive. I never made notes in class because I learn by listening, never missed a tutorial or seminar because I learn through discussions, barely attended lectures..(laughs) I don't like group study, so I studied alone most of the time. I preferred my room to the library. Just figure out what works for you. You don't have to do what everyone does. Not sure this helps. :):)



How to handle lonliness


What is your experience with loneliness, at what moment in your life did you feel it more and how did you cope with it?


Funny enough, my most lonely moments were around people. I have always stood out like a sore thumb, starting from my 6'3 height to the way I view the world Never been able to fit in a clique or group, so my most lonely years were during primary and secondary school. I hadn't come into myself then, so I always felt lost and just wrong. I don't think I coped with it at all then, I was just trying to survive day to day. I only realized how much I was struggling later on.


Why are you so particular about the Humanity of people, how has this acknowledgement that human beings are fundamentally flawed helped you navigate through life?


I wish I could give you a grand reason but it's just an innate thing. It's really an I was born this way situation. I have always been burdened about people, the world, humanity. I don't know how to live or function without this sense of responsibility. It shows up in everything thing I do and say. For me accepting that people are fundamentally flawed helps me love people better, helps me afford them grace I don't always do this, but I keep trying to be better.


Body shamming is bad


Some people have chosen to cower and shrink themselves because society has termed them as being overly sensitive or just doing too much. Can you give any words of Affirmation to these kinds of people?


There are a lot of unhealed people in this world you see. Hurt shows up as jealousy, envy, low-self esteem, gossip, and even ignorance. When you understand this, it becomes easier to ignore the naysayers. People will always have opinions no matter what you do or how you do it, so why not become your highest self?.   Just boldly live your one beautiful life because las las, they will still talk(laughs) Also, you are not alone! Everyone has a tribe, people who they can relate with  You may not have met or heard about them yet, that's all.

I have always been burdened about people, the world, humanity. I don't know how to live or function without this sense of responsibility.

 


Do you consider shamelessness to be a good thing? If yes, how do we eliminate the culture of shame? How helpful is shamelessness in chasing and actualizing one's goals and dreams?


I think the problem is that when people hear the word shamelessness, they immediately think of someone who goes around doing just what they want, how they want, not caring at all how their actions negatively affect other people There's a disconnect because this is not what we mean by it.


As humans, we are interconnected, whether we like it or not. Also, no person can survive alone in this world, we all need each other... A person who truly lives shamelessly doesn't let other people's opinions, expectations, or world views stop them from being or becoming their highest selves. They acknowledge the importance of advice, care, and community but realize that no one can want the best for them more than they do for themselves. They know how to sift through opinions, they are experts at blocking out the noise, and they know how to learn from advice without letting it control or damn them and their dreams. Every great name you know today lived shamelessly, they blocked out the noise and did what they had to.


By the way, people who are in tune with their bodies, hearts, minds, and souls don't shame others. It doesn't even occur to you. So, if you participate in the culture of shaming others, there's something fundamentally wrong - and it's not with the person being shamed :)


Body shamming tall girls is wrong


Have you ever struggled with low self-esteem and body shaming? How did you handle it, especially in this society where beauty is being defined by unrealistic standards.


Sure! I am 6'3. Growing up, my height was all people talked about. Both Adults and children teased me Girls are not supposed to be like this, who will marry this one? She's this tall and she's not even that pretty too, how will you kiss your husband? You look like you are going to break, she's so huge! ....

I struggled a lot, I did not feel feminine at all, finding clothes and shoes that fit was a hassle, and boys weren't even checking for the giraffe girl. I mostly felt like an alien    (laughs) Of course, this isn't the only reason but my self-esteem was non-existent.


It took a while but I handled it by redefining beauty. Beauty is something that I am, not something that I have to prove. I am beautiful and enough just because I exist. That sounds radical but it's true.


I don't need to be defined by anybody's standards. Nature chose me. God chose means (laughs) Things are different now though, my height is still what everyone talks about but it's now all about my aura, how elegant, powerful, and graceful I am. Isn't it funny? There were no drastic physical changes, I even got taller but people's attitudes towards me are different. When I walk into a room, you can tell that I operate differently. I believe I am beauty, so I radiate it, and you have no option than to acknowledge it I now carry myself like the queen I know I am.


A person who truly lives shamelessly doesn't let other people's opinions, expectations, or world views stop them from being or becoming their highest selves.


What is your current job and what is your dream job? I know mine is to relax and be receiving unsolicited credit alerts, yours?


Yes to credit alerts! I currently work as a freelance content creator. Acting is my dream job. I wanna be a businesswoman too - hopefully, all these will lead to countless credit alerts (laughs)


Humanity is important


I have always stood out like a sore thumb, starting from my 6'3 height to the way I view the world, Never been able to fit in a clique or group,


Tell us Five Random Facts About you, What do you do for fun


  • I think out loud, so I talk randomly

  • I make lists and notes for almost everything

  • I listen to music in various languages

  • I hold a lot of dance concerts in my room. I intensely dance for an hour or two for my imaginary audience...

  • I love corn - boiled, roasted, dried, popped    corn is corn



Lastly, Any advice for young people trying to find themselves?


Be intentional about the growth you hope to see in yourself, however, don't rush it. It takes time to unlearn - and growth occurs in stages. Take things slowly and trust the process. Once there is a clear intention - a clear plan, things will fall into place.



Millenials should get rid of anxiety 


Thank you for having me! 

Sunday, 22 November 2020

WHY I WRITE: OBEYING THE DIVINE



Why i write


I write to complete creation; to lend my hands to the moulding of this temporal space I am made to dwell in. 

I make sentences because my father left me with a head pan of letters and a shovel of words. He named me a builder and asked me to draw light from darkness, to invent and cement a storyline. He threatened to throw my birthright to the dogs if I do not create a soft landing, a base, an accessible megaphone to allow for koinonia among my brethren.

 I write with the audacity of a god, an heir to an empire the king left at foundation level and ascended into divine space. I write because I carry a yoke on my fingertips, a light burden that unearths itself in a form devoid of emptiness and ready to give the world shape. 

When I write, I am obeying the last wishes of my grandfather, a gentle spirit and king in a small village in southeastern Nigeria. I like to believe divinity sent him as my forerunner to deepen and uproot languages with his tongue, to travel across dynasties, and baptize royalties with moonlight stories so that I can be worthy enough to unbuckle the straps of people who have walked through timelessness. 

They say writing flows in my ancestry; that my mother and the mothers before her wrote on sands, that they registered shivers down the spines of men and scrawled threats into the palm wine keg of the drunkard who dared to beat them even before paper was invented. I write because I want to summon them, to make them have breath in this new world they are not accustomed to; to continue their legacy.

In this world full of limitations, writing is my escape route, my oxygen of confrontation, and my freedom lounge. When I write, I embody the temerity to call things that be not as though they are. Like a true daughter of a royal father, I give breath to clay and dare them to turn to dust.

I have the power to create life and take it, to transport bodies across continents from my favourite armchair and sprinkle diverse traits over the characters I have formed.

 When I put my pen to blank paper, I feel like a god with the bravado to build anthills in the savannah, to come out boldly and declare that the beautiful ones are not yet born, to look at the yellow sun and slice it in half, to behold the severity of chaos and still declare that everything good will come. 

I evade prosecution with my words. How I can boldly declare my sister a serial killer without facing the full wrath of the law or look the future in the eye and tell it that tomorrow died yesterday. I write because I can reinvent, alter time, build up, and tear down.

I write to remove the thorns of misogyny for daughters like me who will walk through tough paths on their journey to becoming unbreakable. I want to give them a weapon to bruise society when it tries to shrink them; to make them reject the suffering type of comfort that keeps them in anxiety with its claws around their necks.

I write to squeeze the necessity out of darkness until it is drained to comprehend the light. I write because, in a country clouded by bad judgment where I can be stoned to silence or death by anything that dares to fall apart, it is not my time to die. 


Writing workshops

I wrote this essay as a student at SprinNG & it was edited by my Mentor Ìbùkún

Tuesday, 8 September 2020

BODY LINGUA FEATURING JAMILLA OKUBO'S ART

Disclaimer: The poetry is not an attempt to explain the artwork. This will just be me writing whatever poetry came to me when I looked at the artwork.



Today we will be exploring the awesomeness that is Jamilla Okubo. I saw her Art on Pinterest and I was in absolute awe. Her art, in my opinion, is a raw and defined mix of Afro, colour and culture. Her painting calls you, mirrors your thoughts and leaves you wondering. It gives you a feel-good sense of adventure and wishes you into resonation. I want to say maybe it's just my eyes, but I know it's not. Jamilla is simply amazing.


Jamilla Okubo's Bio


Jamilla Okubo is a mixed-media and interdisciplinary artist exploring the intricacies of belonging to an American, Kenyan, and Trinidadian identity. Combining figurative painting, pattern/textile design, fashion, and storytelling, she celebrates the Black body in relation to movement, expression, ideology, and culture. Inspired by kanga cloth, which communicates messages derived from Swahili proverbs, quotes from the Qur’an, African folklore and popular culture, Okubo creates her own patterns in reference to the history, mythology, and vernacular of the African diaspora. 


A fusion of Jamilla Okubo's Artwork and my Poetry


Jamilla okubo



Body lingua


I soak my loneliness in wetness 

And it is unable to dry,

 I knock my knees together 

To silence the lips in between my legs.

I pretend not to understand its language 

When our bodies scrape past each other in the lobby.


Jamilla Okubo art


Last supper


Many hands to one bowl

That was my home,

Was how I knew that 

Boiling grain long enough 

Will let it swell into satisfaction.


Was how I knew eating meat was funeral,

Our mouths could not suck on marrows 

Or chew flesh

Unless God struck something dead

And left it decaying in the backyard.


Was how I knew my mother to be a starving woman 

Calculating & observing, 

Marinating the meal in her saliva 

Until my father swallowed his piece. 


Jamilla okubo x dior


The cycle


You will understand

Your mother's Night vigils, 

Her paranoia 

Her annoying dotting & scolding 

Her firmness

Her unsolicited advice & everything

When you watch your daughter

Becoming herself

By reliving episodes of your past mistakes. 


You will call her at your feet

With confusion & anger,

You will ask questions you already know the answers to

You will try to fix unfixable things 

Make calls to whatever is trying to

Turn your child into a bone of loss,

You, this same you 

Will take a page from your mother's book 

To close a chapter of your daughter's vacuum. 





This is us


Maybe we are a brainwashed generation

Maybe we have become too fizzy & unorthodox for regular reasoning

Maybe we are all the things they say we are

Crazy - rebel - doomed!

We have vomited status quo

Trampled conformity underfoot

Decided to live happy and free

On our own risky terms.


We have apologised to our parents

Forced them to bury their expectations

Because we would rather parent plants & cats

Than produce people who will inherit our problems

Maybe this is us

Wanting to relax and be taken care of

Wanting everything in the bag secure

Wanting the table, the seat and the whole room

If this is us

Is it really such a bad thing?



Let my body burn


I want the type 

Of love

that feels 

Like voodoo 

Something enchanting

that will make me fall 

Head over heels 

In touch with my emotions

⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

I want to be bent 

In positions 

that break my 

Bones into rainbows

Twist my nerves 

Into gummy bears 

⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

I want the type of love 

that calls me home 

raises my moans 

Above pitches & 

Let's it go up like incense 

⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

I want this love that 

Lights up my soul

With a match 

Of sensation 

And doesn't care if 

My body Burns 

In ecstasy

⠀⠀⠀

Did you know that Jamilla designed the book cover for An American Marriage  by Tayari Jones

An American marriage by Tayari jones

Read my review of the book here


What was your favourite poem/artwork from this post?

Wednesday, 12 August 2020

ART SPOTLIGHT: EUNICE OTU

 

Art spotlight

Eunice's Art Bio


When you can create beauty and magic by sketching, painting or drawing diverse shapes on blank paper with just a common pencil, it is no longer talent, it is innovation. Otu Eunice is a pencil sketch, visual and digital artist that has successfully painted the narrative that everything you need to grow and develop your talent or skill is innate and not far fetched. 

It is amazing how she draws and paints amazing pieces with only a few tools, a perfect depiction of less is more. While she looks forward to having the resources to get all her art tools, she has chosen to utilise what is available and create content for the art community. 

Eunice has been able to triumph over naysayers who try to undervalue her work because she is female or in college. She is steadily pushing the narrative that you can be good in school and still follow your dreams as she is a very brilliant English and literary student in Nigeria. She loves to read, watch anime and gosh about Shawn Mendes.  She is generally a joyous, fun and easy-going person. 

Digital and visual artist in Nigeria

Her ability to perfectly depict any picture given to her can be attributed to her very emotional trait, because of this, she connects with people and knows how to capture their joys, fears, facial expressions, curves, lines and body languages seamlessly.

I am a sucker for women taking up space and showcasing their talent so watching Eunice grow has been nothing short of surreal.

What I have done is, take Eunice's art and give my own interpretation of it. More like describing what I see and how it made me feel. 

Let's explore, This should be fun


Bone art

I named this art "feelings" because we live in a world that doesn't actually associate masculinity to vulnerability. The flower resting on the cape of his neck and the rainbows just added some kind of softness to his bony frame, I love to see it. 

Her unfinished work is an even deeper kind of art! 

Illustrations
I will print this and hang it on my wall!



Pencil sketch artist
See! The unfinished work has me spellbound



I just saw this and I thought "power" an African woman's ability to hold her own is a concept generations of people from other continents will need centuries to fully grasp. It is the daring eyes, the sharp wing liner, the bare chest and the fitting firmness of the headwrap, that did it for me.  

This piece screams confidence & beauty in culture


 
Female artist
  
Read this post to find out why I named this Artwork "choices" Brethren a queen is a queen wi or without full hair, plus look at the facial expression, it's screams " I did it and I am going to live with it and thrive, deal with it."

Low cut art


Bald black women

This version of the sketch is my fav. look at the freedom. Beauty is not one size fits all, its diverse. It is good to have hair but it doesn't define you, That's the vibe I got from this piece.


Kdrama art

I honestly don't know why I named this "halo" I just know I admired the piece for a while until he started to look like a greek god. Starring at it again, I am thinking Kpop, I feel as though he was taken right from a Korean series.

Kpop series

See eh, if you like him just print him or blow powder because this hotness. 



Draw braids

Can we just take a moment to admire the accuracy, neatness and precision of the braids? I can literally feel the weaving by touching my screen. 

Our roots and braids

This artwork is very modern yet it portrays identity. Braids are originally African and it's amazing how it has gained worldwide recognition. Everybody wears braids these days. I love it.  The whole painting, for some reason, gave me some kind of afro-futurism feel.


Comic art of a wolve

I think there is a kind of fierce tenderness In this photo. I see protection and an understanding of something inarticulate. It's like there is this whole world ahead and she is strong enough to conquer it. A darling but daring soul. 

Digital art
The digital art adaptation of this piece is just amazing, looks like a comic book or anime cover



Art spotlight

It's very simple, this art is magic, there are roses on her head and my name is Roseline,   So I have a soft spot for it lol.  This drawing is so dreamy, from her eyes to the bridge of her nose to her curly hair and her collar bones. 



Pencil sketch art
This piece already makes me want to write poetry 

I love the precision in the drawing and the fact that Eunice used her amazing shading skills to highlight the facial features, crisp! The roses took the drawing to a different level of beauty for me. 


African woman

I am getting Aladin vibes from this artwork, she looks like a genie. If I am to imagine one of my ancestors in her prime, it will be like this, looking like royalty with moody eyes, and a resting "we are the pacesetters" clueless face. (I am laughing at what I am typing but okay)  anyway, guys look at the Ankara on her head, do we all ageee Eunice is talented? Like the details!!!
 


Okay, this is the End. To see more of her art. Visit her Instagram Page and be blown away!! She is open for bookings too and it's affordable, hit her up to draw you and your family members! 


Roseline mgbodichinma's blog. Theme by BD.