What is the Nigerian dream? Some will say that it is “having food, shelter and security, access to quality health care and education, equal opportunities within a system that is fair to all, and a pride of place within the African continent and the world at large.”
Which basically translates to “letting go of things of the problems/mistakes/issues of the past to create a better future for all Nigerians.” While others who have lived through the steady decline of the country will say “the Nigerian dream is to make sure everything in the past and history is completely wiped out; hitting the reset button so it never sees the light of day in our present and future.”
Whatever your definition may be, what’s clear is the fact that we are all trying to escape from the clutches of Nigeria’s past in order to step into a better future. However, depending on how you view it, the past is not always so bad. It can be beautiful and doesn’t have to be completely forgotten. At least, that is what I felt when I attended Diseye D’Artist Tantua’s Art Exhibition at Kia Motors on Akin Adesola street V.I, Lagos.
The exhibition made me reminisce about a Nigeria I had long forgotten. A Nigeria that, even though we didn’t have much to smile about, kept on smiling. Driving old cars like Mercedes Benz V-boot, riding bicycles, and entering molue for transportation to work and play.
Diseye D’Artist Tantua’s artworks and paintings were full of street slang like “money for hand, back for ground,” “shit business is good business,” “No paddy for jungle,” “KekeNapep today, aeroplane tomorrow,” and other slangs that were at one point in our Nation’s history, the in-thing.
All the words and messages written on danfos and molues in those days were artistically littered everywhere in his exhibition and brought probably the greatest feeling of Deja Vu I have ever had.
Old cars like Mercedes Benz long boot, Beetle, Bug, etc. (90s kids will know all about these cars) – which are now nothing but waste that people are desperately trying to get rid of,- D’Artist turned into beautiful chairs, tables, office desks, and items of furniture. Paintings of Fela Kuti were everywhere, quotes from great people and others who had inspired D’Artiste were inscribed on every artwork. So many quotes that inspired and brought a smile to mine and the faces of everyone who was present there.
The one thing that kept going through my mind was “not everything in the past has to be forgotten because, at one point, it was our reality and the reality of Nigeria.” And that is something only art can give you.
Science and Technology are great, but we are all quick to discard old things as soon as newer tech exists. Technology keeps advancing and will leave you desperate and sad if you’re left behind. But art like D’Artist’s, will take you back, envelope you in the familiar and comfortable feeling of Deja Vu, and show you just how important the past is (and will always be). His Art exhibition will also make you realise how things from our past can be great assets, beauty, and of great importance to the future.
At this point, it seems I’m just rambling, right? Don’t blame me, it’s the effect of Art like D’Artiste’s. If you had attended the exhibition then you’d have understood just how much his art is the much-needed bridge in the gap between the beautiful past and our future.