Artmosphere Incarnates Renaissance Of Mbari Spirit, Says Osundare

Osundare sorrounded by his fans

Osundare sorrounded by his fans

Organisers of Ibadan-based artistic platform Artmosphere got a boost last weekend when it hosted renowned poet and essayist Prof. Niyi Osundare to its monthly reading and discussion session. The winner of Nigerian National Merit Award (NNMA 2014) likened the work of the duo of Femi Fairchild Morgan and Servio Gbadamosi to the renaissance wrought on the art scene in the 1960s by Mbari Club, where Wole Soyinka, JP Clark, Christopher Okigbo, Chinua Achebe first found their artistic voices.

Osundare also commended the CEO of NuStreams Conference and Culture Centre Mr. Francis Madojemu for making ‘this kind of garden of poetry and philosophy’ available for artistic and creative expressions in Ibadan. He went on to describe the work done by WriteHouse Collective (organisers of Artmosphere) as a renaissance of the Mbari spirit of old.

According to him, “Ibadan has always been the capital of Nigeria’s literature; it is the city of Wole Soyinka, Chinua Achebe, JP Clark, Isidore Okpewho and Tade Ipadeola and with what I am witnessing today, the Mbari spirit is here”.

He admonished the audience, largely made of young writers that they should strive towards ideas and not financial gain in their works, adding, “What is happening here is a silent war against ignorance”. In discussing the country’s current realities, Osundare noted that Nigeria must begin to create and support ideas, adding, “No country makes progress by consuming” and spoke about the economic espionage that China does and how it provides African countries with alternatives because a lot of Africans are not challenged to invent solutions.

“When I see Femi Morgan and the rest of the Artmosphere team making use of NuStreams I have an answer for many of my Nigerian students who come to me and say that Nigeria is a hopeless country. You said this country is doomed, yet you are trying to become a graduate in a field of study; you will get married and give birth to children. I believe somewhere along the line these children should take you to court for bringing them to a world that you knew was doomed ab initio.

“Our country is not doomed. We have all it takes to change this country; we have all it takes to resolve the terrible challenge between the vast millennia estuary, with the human resources of this country. Everything we need is in this country. The Canadians built their country; the Americans built theirs, and what are we doing to our country?”

Osundare also noted, “It is good to write good poetry, short stories, speeches but it is important that we are conscious of our society. We must hold those who rule us to account. For you to write the best poem, if you are hungry you’re not likely to write the best poem, essays or creative writing pieces.

“I was talking to the publisher of Sahara Reporters and I had to gush. It is important to gush. Critics should criticize when they see things going bad but to see things going the way it ought and not say anything is to relapse into a state of cynicism. What Artmosphere team and NuStreams Centre are doing is laudable and we must encourage them to do more”.

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