We returned from the TravelogueX trip to Calabar in December of 2017 very broke, but we were not down in spirits. The experience of having traveled far away on a low budget to a destination we had never explored, managing ourselves along the way and returning home safely fueled us with the notion that we could achieve whatever we set our minds to, regardless of apparent limitations. So when we started 2018 rather penniless, it didn’t hinder us from envisioning a great year ahead.
We started the year on an upbeat note with the “Off theshelf”, a book review event hosted by literary and arts society Ise Archives.The event drew the literary heads in the OAU community as we reviewed LesleyNneka Arimah’s “What It Means When a Man Falls from the Sky”.
Our next activity worthy of highlight was the Afrofuturism Tees campaign, which kicked off in February. The tees had the quote by Afrofuturist author Ytasha Womack “for those who adopt the Afrofuturist paradigm, the ideas can take you light-years away from the place you call home, only to return knowing you had had everything you needed from the start.” emblazoned on the back and the text “AFROFUTURISM” in front. This project saw us collaborate with a number of stylists, photographers, models and influencers and we shot in different locations to bring the Afrofuturism message to our followers from different perspectives.
By April of 2018, we travelled to Ede and Osogbo on another TravelogueX voyage where we experienced the serenity of rural life and hints of Nigeria’s fast disappearing culture of old. One of our reasons for being in Ede was to take advantage of the Ofi market which convenes every 14 days. There we encountered sellers of the ofi material who had traveled from all around the country. The materials we bought were later used to make Verken Co’s (a wooden furniture brand) first furniture collection. In Osogbo, our aim was to tour locations where creative arts, craft and industry activities were carried out. We visited ABU photo gallery, Omoluabi garments factory, Breachwood Furniture and of course Nike’s Art gallery.
It was at Nike Arts gallery that the idea for our nextproject for the year started brewing. We thought of converting our house inIle-Ife to a studio-gallery for arts and the way we reckoned to go about thiswas to organize an artnight and exhibition event. We partnered with Bluepring(formerly X colony) and Iriri Studios and the event was themed “Afrofuturism:Romance with the Sun”. the Artnight featured 15 artists in attendance painting and crafting away from 10pm to 6am the next morning, amidst music, chow and merrymaking art enthusiasts. After all the painting, scribbling, spraying and carousing, we had to quickly clean and setup the arena for the exhibition. This neighborhood exhibition featured over 100 guests in attendance and one of the highlights was our thought board where attendees had to write out and paste “extraordinary thing(s) they want to achieve in their life time”. The responses varied from utter amazing to stupid.
Afrofuturism left us broke yet again. At this point, our team needed to start re-evaluating strategies before setting out to fulfil our many creative drives. The Afrofuturism event however gave birth to a new brainchild. The organizers of the event decided to merge to form a new entity called the Twenty99 Collective.
About Twenty99 Collective: a collective of artists and creatives working together to use arts to drive culture forward. The name denotes a time in the future and in line with the Afrofuturism paradigm, it conveys that we are all working to gear society into an ideal future. In 2019 the collective will kick off their campaign with street art projects around the country, aimed at reviving dull public spaces/buildings and giving everyday people an opportunity to interact with art.
Our next and final event in 2018 was “a night of 7 short stories and poems”. I can’t say that we indeed met our goal of reviewing 7 short stories and poems but it was a blissful night hosted in a sublime traditional setting. Mats, palmwine, bushmeat was the order of the night as our guests pondered on the themes of romance, religion and borders in the stories and poems we read.
Notsopopkulture also directed several photo-shoots in 2018. In 2019, we would be delving more into using photography to tell stories of people, places and happenings around us.
Thank you to everyone who collaborated with us in 2018 and to those from all over Nigeria who stopped by our studio when they visited Ile-Ife.
We look forward to an eventful 2019.