Celebrating Love with Community Art

Evelyn dÆPoet in performance
Evelyn Osagie

Yinka Olatunbosun reports on the third in the series of Words Meet Images, a community-based art project in Jakande Estate, Isolo led by a female poet-photographer, Evelyn Osagie

“This kind of initiative is a very powerful tool for national orientation,” said Ben Tomoloju, a renowned cultural advocate and the founding editor of arts in a leading national newspaper. He was the Chairman of Words Meet Images 3.0, a community-based art initiated by culture journalist and performance poet, Evelyn Osagie otherwise known by the stage name, Evelyn D’Poet.

Osagie, who began this art project last year had been using the art form to reach out to community, engaging them on issues of national interest using playlets, poetry and photography. As the third edition coincided with the Valentine’s day, Osagiepreached love and national unity with the street art having the theme, “Vote with Ink Not Blood.” No doubt, a timely subject, the event drew persons from the community and beyond.

Featuring Love Lines Poetry Concert and outdoor photography art exhibition titled, “Together Series”, the show was a blend of contemporary and traditional motifs. This art-to-the-street project advocates for peace, the environment and other global concerns.

“It wasn’t an easy task,” Osagie said as she was rounding off the show. “ It was challenging especially with getting a space away from area boys. When you organise such event, people think you have got some money from the government or corporate bodies so they ask for their own cut and when you don’t have anything to give, they say all kinds of things.

“Sometimes, they threaten all kinds of things. In the midst of these, those who have threatened us have become one of our cast,” she revealed.

The drummer in her play was one of those who disrupted her first show in Agege. Osagie explained to him how the project would impact on the future generation and since then, the man has actively volunteered to join the community art. Still, it is daunting to get more people from the community involved.

“It has been difficult getting funding. Then again, how do you explain poetry to the people in various communities?
“We will be going to the polls tomorrow. Last year, I saw the need to start the campaign early so that people have that in their consciousness that they should vote with Ink Not Blood. I decided to add love lines to celebrate Valentine and I’m so grateful that as we talk about peace, we also talk about love,” she declared.

Held at an unconventional space, De Parliament Bar, the show kept to its tradition of using unconventional space for performances. For instance, the second edition of Words Meet Images was held at Akpata Carnal, Shomolu.

Some of the highlights of the show included the vocal performances by versatile artist, singer-songwriter OyinGbade and a 12-year old Chidundu Okorie who ignited the audience with a soulful cover of Whitney Houston’s “Greatest Love of All.”