Ori

I haven’t written here for a long time. It feels good to be forging a routine/rooting again. I know.  No excuses but I’ve been busy with my last experiment detailed in “Goal: Define work terms on the female principle”. The culmination of which is set for tomorrow, Monday 14th Jan when I make a grand announcement to my boss and outline my plans for 2013. In the time being, it is apt to start this year’s post not just with a ‘Happy New Year’ people and a ‘Thank you’ for encouraging me by reading me, commenting and sharing my posts throughout an erratic 2012 and promises to be more strict with myself in 2013; but to continue on the theme pervading my waking hours with this painting.

'Self Portarait for my Future Daughter or The Floating Dreamer' - Komi Olafimihan

So here is introducing a Nigerian painter, Komi Olaf, currently based in Toronto that I stumbled upon on my cousin’s facebook page and whose work I have sat with for many hours over the course of the 1 week since my discovery and now writing this blog post.

Komi Olaf is a renaissance man. A Painter, Photographer, Spoken Wordsmith. His website speaks for itself and is filled with many wonders I am still exploring and falling in love with.

I’m not an art critic, nor will I attempt to even pontificate in arty terms here. I just want you to experience the works and tell me what it provokes in you, what you thought of whilst taking it all in. For me, here is a list of the paintings that have ‘moved’ me and I want on my wall:

2013 – ‘Self Portrait for my Future Daughter or The Floating Dreamer’

2012 – ‘Nubian Empress #3’

‘Makoko Cut Out’

‘Abavusi Bungoma’

‘Ubuntu’  (No words. Just Love)

‘Igwe’ (No words. More Love)

2011 – ‘Going In’

2010 – ‘Angela Davis : ‘Radical simply means grasping things at the root’

2008 – ‘Lost’

‘Festac’

I promised myself not to make any sweeping statements and this isn’t one: 2013 is going to be a year to Go and Discover, to Remember and Remake, To follow and Nourish your ‘Ori’:  “Ori la ba bo, a ba f’orisa sile” meaning ‘It is the inner self we ought to venerate, and let divinity be.’

Lupe’s Fiasco: Bitch Bad, Woman Good, Queen Better?

Before writing about Lupe’s new offering ‘Bitch Bad’ let’s take a moment to understand what he is addressing:

The negative reviews are overtly harsh and somewhat convoluted. It is easy to find fault in his words. He used the  B-word in juxtaposition to ‘Woman good, Lady better’. So what? Are we becoming a society too bogged down in semantics that instead of finding points to liberate from them, they only serve to blur the issues at hand, with no clear steps to resolution? As such, we bypass the super-objective in its entirety and forget to celebrate the direct and no-sugar coated open discourse on an issue that is shaping how young girls view, not only themselves, but how they are viewed by their male counterparts.

Would the lyrics ‘Bitch Bad, Woman Good, Queen better’ change the super objective. No. It remains the same. But, it would alter the negative noise around the word choices in the song; and all for the better because that focus misses the point entirely.

In context, the direction and what he addresses is spot on. Therefore, it might be worth considering also the audience he is attempting to address and why.  One cannot diminish its positive logic in the semantics of language. Language is not static. It evolves and morphs with the times. Not to digress, but not long ago we were up in arms about text language and its potential destruction of a literacy culture and heritage for the next generation. Well, isn’t that what Lupe is addressing here too? ‘Bitch Bad, Woman Good, Lady Better’?

For Lupe to address this denigration of Women, he should be commended not vilified. This song is about Value. The problem he highlights is one derived from the negative association with the term. “Bitch” in itself is not a bad word, it is the concepts tied to it that is bad, which is what he addresses in this song. It is the termination of the ideas embedded in the words that it embodies that we must abolish and fight against. It is the denigration and loathing of the Female self  (Black and White and all in-between) that he addresses and asks us (male and female) to move from. For this, he merits support. Because is it not the reinforcement of negative ideas behind any derogatory term what we collectively aim to diminish?

Fela’s ‘Lady’ –  from which I clearly and unconsciously coined my moniker and also because my initial is actually ‘O’ – can also be viewed with the same lens here. It addressed the discourse of African women wanting and demanding equality in a tradition that renders them subservient to their male siblings and counterparts at birth. Here too he juxtapositions the words ‘Woman’ and ‘Lady’ but in the context of Europeans bringing the idea of equality with men as a foreign and unwanted concept to the African woman, who as a result, wants to be viewed as ‘Lady O!’. As we know, there are many examples of amazing African Women, his own Mother and market women included, who rendered (and continue to render) this limited and limiting position obsolete.

The HuffPo piece is worth a read. I found this also, you can hear more of his thoughts about the record in retrospect:

Rather than shoot him down because he didn’t use ‘Queen’ or ‘Empress’ or even just leave it at ‘Woman’, let’s applaud without a semantical debate obfuscating the emancipating objective of his offering and the highlighting of how big this issue really is for both the Male and Female psychology and relationship. Well done Lupe.

Lady O’s Utopian Daydream

LadyO’s Utopian daydream based on this quote:

“I once asked an economist in Africa, after spending the day traveling through an African country seeing women working in the fields, women working in the markets, women fetching fuel, women carrying water, women tending children – I asked, ‘Don’t you think it’s time we count women contributions to the economy in some way?’ And he responded, ‘No, what they do is not part of the economy.’ And I said, ‘Well, if every woman working in the field, in the markets, in the homes were to stop working for a week, I think every economist would learn they are definitely part of the economy.’”

–Sec. of State Hillary Clinton

Agreed the quote is vague on specifics like which African country or the Economist in question but it begs the question: what if we can pull off a Global Women’s Week Long Strike across all continents? With Activists and Lobbyists doing what they do and fuelled by all Women. How would this impact the Global economy and would it really validate and echo Mrs Clinton’s assertion. And to what end?

No divide in colour, religion, sexual preference, ‘economic’ status; we are simply bound by our common struggle as Women in our various situations for just one week. I wonder……