I wanted to direct attention to an interview with Lagosian poet and culture critic Odia Ofeimun recently posted by Africa Is a Country contributor Wills Glass. Questions of artistic representation are often lost when we focus too narrowly on mapping production, distribution, marketing and exhibition. Economistic dialogue of this sort overshadows the debate on representation in Nollywood, that is, on the relationship between artistic form and reality.
“Many people do not like the word representation. But there is a need for us to know what a human face looks like before you bring to it all the jazziness that artists sometimes bring to it. In art, if you did not have those well-realized Roman noses and facial structures, the kind of things that Picasso had to do would be more difficult to understand. It’s like trying to understand African art without seeing those original Ife forms that were styled to match nature.”
Though my own thinking on artistic representation and “reality” differs from Ofeimun, he brings an intriguing critical perspective.