Ask Yourself, 2014
Ask Yourself is a multi-dimensional art intervention comprising of playful and experiential art event-series that have already happened for 8 days in 4 locations (2 days per location), at an average of 7 hours per day. It is a participatory public-art activity that moved to its audience for collaboration. It brings art and its engagement opportunity directly to the audience in the real world and embraces a collective model for making art.
The art includes Scrap notes, a Painting Installation, and a Film as elements and residues of the interventions. Ask Yourself is multiple interventions. The purpose is to intervene in the minds of people living in Nigeria, by causing interaction that can create output; to sensitize via art, using all important educational tools.
As we go ‘back to the drawing board’ to reason again in understanding, perhaps we can capture new ideas and methods that we can hold in our imaginations towards a better Nigeria? This is aimed at gradually leading us to shift our thoughts, to give us the people power, responsibility, hope and richness of soul – as persons, and as a people. It is meant to give us personal experiences that can affect our mind-sets, hopefully, positively.
With thoughts on the following questions, a case study of Abuja, I intervene in a Nigerian situation whilst inviting the public to join in.
1. Is indiscipline and a chaotic vicious circle becoming the pattern in the structure of our system today?
2. Are we losing hope, and responding by our disregard for our people and for anything; but money; and we are raising another generation, thus?
3. Would we like to consider the possibility of a change – of thinking, of behaviour, of strategy, of results? To reinstate our richness of soul as a people and as dignified individuals?
4. Would we like to be more patriotic, and attain ‘a system to emulate’?
At my invitation, the public also intervened, [performatively] bringing action at my displayed paintings; paintings about questions that if we stopped to really ponder on, we may begin to adjust our stances towards an admirable society. The project makes use of painting, drawing, reading, and writing, with people resident in Abuja, to present to ourselves and to remind us of whom we are, what we want, what we think, how we think, and what we [can] say about our current situation in the country. Making the work, however, reveals that the people are not satisfied. The content of the artwork, formed in association with its audience, imbibes the differences among the participating individuals as variant manifestations of a common spirit; and speaks the shared values and convictions of this society. These convictions are part of our evolving history and as such our memory.
In response to our time, may we through advocacy create long term loyalty to our country! So far, the project has physically communed with up to 351 people in participation, and at the time of writing this summary (before the project’s first gallery exhibition), 7,165 people have been mediated to, through online resources, another arm of the interventions. Ask Yourself will continue to question.
We can make impact!