|Ugoma Adegoke (2nd L), Toyin Akinosho (near Center), Toni Kan (in red)|
As I see it, Nigeria's postcolonial condition--manifest in elaborate culture of mind-numbing official and endemic corruption and violence; economic and psychological impoverishment; paradoxical, stunning even heroic creativity borne out of untold hardships; and rich, diverse cultures layered over by bewildering, new-fangled religiosities--all these and more are wont to excite the creative imagination and to yield literary works of incredible power and beauty. Literature that may not recommend the nation well to the aspiring tourist, or provide sound bites for the Ministry of Information, but which in themselves are memorable if dark works of art by Okey Ndibe, Ike Oguine, Helon Habila, Chika Unigwe, Akin Adesokan, Sefi Attah, Uzodinma Iweala, Toni Kan, and, yes, Osondu and so on.
|Tunde Kuboye, Ugoma Adegoke, Odia Ofeimun|
|Molara Woods, Ndidi Dike|
|Victor Ehikhamenor with camera|
Ok, it is not true that I find these debates about literary subject matter boring! Actually, I like the robustness of it. The fact that the writers are willing to engage with equal passion with their critics makes for a healthy literature. If there is anything that gets me really, really mad, it is that none such serious, meaningful conversations are taking place in the visual arts. And that, if anything, is why contemporary Nigerian literature is miles ahead of contemporary Nigerian art both terms of the quality of the production and the discourse around it.