Before we begin, I have to say, I slay myself. That title! Sometimes I think, "Afam why are you like this." The truth is I haven't the slightest idea.
Okay. On this particular day that this particular adventure happened I was feeling a particular sort of way. There was no fire in my belly and there was no thunder in my blood. In short I felt like shit. I crawled out of bed and wondered why I wasn’t asleep. It is at this juncture that I should tell you that things get better, this one isn't about my lack of morning skills. At some point I'll have to accept that I'll probably never be a morning person.
|This is my peculiar sort of way face. It's a face of no particular expression.|
So where were we? I was telling you abut my adventure two Mondays ago.
Two Mondays ago, I was invited to a press day by Mode Aderinokun of The Studio of Mode fame. You know who she is don’t you? She’s this really cool artist that’s more famous for her Iphone cases and her macbook skins than she is for her canvasses. She built a gallery, and she invited the esteemed members of the press to give it a look see. It’s only natural that I, Afam, the mad was invited because I’m a semi celebrity, and I’m the most popular rambler in all the world. Yes. This is something that I’m proud of.
Quick sidenote: The day I willingly use a gadget that isn’t of the Macintosh variety is the day that I hit rock bottom. I am far too old to learn any new tricks, and I’ve got an even older dependent. My sister’s dog, Sabrina is positively geriatric (she’s 82 years old in human years). She beat cancer earlier this year and she seems to think that her status as a survivor has entitled her to a lifetime of servitude by me, Afam.
Another Sidenote: If you don’t know my name by the time you’re done, you’re either senile or an idiot. I’m not insulting you. Those are my two favourite sorts of people. #smileyface. If you don’t say hashtag out loud anymore then you should straight up sue me. At some point you’ve got to put your foot down. Not everyone is cut out for the life of an early adopter. If it works for you then it’s fine.
I fled the humble abode more than a little bit of a hurry. I was so flustered that I forgot to take any money with me, but in hindsight this was a good thing. When you forget your money at home, you can’t ask anyone out or stop for shawarma or see a movie because you think you’re young and spontaneous and fun. Even though I didn’t feel like a million dollars the universe was working for me because chances are I’d have forgotten that money, once spent, doesn’t return to your pocket like a boomerang. It literally disappears. I don’t know why I’m still surprised by this, but I am.
I was late and driving like it. I usually freak out a bit when I’m late, and I drive unusually well as well. These things don’t sound like they go together but they do. I find driving boring. Usually, I’m doing personal in-house karaoke so enthusiastically that it distracts me from the fact that all I’m doing is braking and accelerating or I daydream about people I drive past. But when I’m in a hurry, I drive like a true Lagosian. I weave in and out of the traffic cars like a maniac, and I occasionally lean out of my window to flip people off. I got there late but not unfashionably so. She’d just finished a session with some newspaper lads and ladettes. I arrived just in time for the question and answer session. I was half there I think - mentally. Her answers were fairly interesting, but my attention was stolen away by a tray of doughnuts on a table. While stuffing my face I managed to learn a few things about her.
Quick Quick Mode Profile!!
Name: Mode (pronounced Mo - dei. Don’t be confused. That is how it is pronounced. Now that you’ve been told, you don’t get to invent your own. Also the stress is on the MO. So it’s really MO-dei)
Main Hustle: Artist.
Side Hustle: Artist.
Inspired by: Life.
Way of Living: Artist.
Interned with: Bruce Onobrakpeya - Legendary Nigerian Artist. He’s like the Chinua Achebe of art.
Quirks: Angular features and structured faces. Also Black. She wears a lot of black and not a lot of make up. I’ve only seen her with make up on once, and that led to an awkward conversation where I informed her that I’d never quite thought of her as a sexual being until then.
Medium/Media: Changes from season to season. At one point it was Acrylic, now it’s paper, and ink/charcoal/ indian ink/God knows what else. She also makes jewellery. She runs a web comic called Jand that I was addicted to for a hot minute. She’s someone that you want to keep a lazy eye on, because you never know how her creativity will express itself.
Fraud Alert: Very Low. Sometimes you meet artists and creative people that you want to slap, kill, murder, or violence because they chat so much shit! It’s shit for breakfast, lunch and dinner. And it’s shit for you, shit for me, and shit for free. Mode chats no shit. I don’t want to say that she’s the real deal because that’s cliche but she’s pretty darn original, and she’s pretty too. So we’ll call that Winner winner Chicken Dinner. Salut!
Afam Factor: Afam likes Mode very much, and feels very much himself when he is around her. I haven’t done this Afam Factor thing before so I’m making it up as I go along. Let’s make it out of 25, and if it is out of 25, she’s a 25.
After that there was a tour of sorts, and dahlings it was brilliant. there was an orange room and a grey room, and then there was art just everywhere. There was so much art that I don’t think I’ve recovered. I’m just messing about. I’ll do this properly.
I imagine that it is quite difficult to curate art. I imagine because I have never tried it, and I’m fairly sure that my assumption is right because so few manage to do it well. Now, you’re probably thinking, “How does one know when something is well curated or not?” The answer’s simple. If at any point in an exhibition you feel like you’re looking at something that has no reason for being there, or like there’s something about the entire collection that’s throwing you off a little, the curation is the culprit. (I haven’t really worked with the word curate before. I’ll need to practice it later. I curate. I am curating. I curated. I have curated. etc. etc.)
The work shown by Mode at her gallery is consistent. The pieces are good, and the way they are presented is even better. The gallery is not so large that you may ever feel lost, and it isn’t so blank that it is almost clinical. The concept behind it gives each room a distinct feel, so that the pieces find themselves elevated.
The gallery is Mode’s interpretation of the parts of Nigeria that she’s most connected to, Abeokuta and Lagos. The exterior bits (outside, the entrance, the exit) are almost painfully stark. In her words, “Lagos has a harsh, forceful, yet conflicted presence that leaves a mark on anyone who comes in contact with the city.” And that’s true. Lagos isn’t a city that your bound to forget about very quickly, and if you’re treated to the experience of it that our government would like sold, then it would be white. You wouldn’t know where in the world you were, and everything you were presented with would be startlingly new. The harshness of it doesn’t quite come across until you actually take a walk outside while the sun is out. It’s then that you’ll realise that it’s still very much a third world city with increasingly first world dressing. The white also illustrates the extremes that exist here like the dazzingly worrying distance between the lives of the rich and the poor.
When you walk in from the reception, the building’s design changes abruptly. You leave the clean white walls for a terracotta haven. She says that this drastic transition mimics the recklessness of Lagos. The terracotta part of the gallery (most of the gallery) is representative of Abeokuta, a Yoruba city in Ogun State whose name quite literally means under the rock. Mode embraces the earthiness of the city by using the , colour for the walls, ceiling and the floors, and this allows for a more intimate experience than your typical art gallery. The main part of the gallery (the place where the art hangs) is all terracotta until you get to the Indigo room which is an ingenious way of restoring the neutrality and balance of the more typical gallery.
You leave the gallery through the store, where you can purchase stickers and cases for your laptops and phones, and other souvenirs created from the art that you’ve just seen.
And that’s that about that I think.
Ps. I'm not a selfish fellow. If you want to get in touch, these are the ways to do it.
- Drive to number 4 Olumo Road in Parkview estate Ikoyi. It's a black gate on your left. Say Mode, and they'll show you where you need to go. This is the address.
- Send an email to email@example.com. You get extra points if your first line is, "Hello, it is you I'm looking for."
- Call 09092153879, but remember that telephones can be horrendously invasive. Send an email if the whim takes you before 10am and after 8pm.