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December 13, 2022
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Art for humanity sake by ED. Adegoke

Adebayo Atanda a is taking us on another praxis as he brings Art to the slum with his new exhibition “This water knows our story” which took place in Makoko, an informal settlement of Lagos (Nigeria). Makoko is the world’s largest floating slum. First you might want to ask; who does an exhibition in the slum? But Art is beyond and beyond. In our modern society, art is a universal way for people to express themselves and share their feelings with the world. Art is an important avenue through which to connect with others, especially in times of crisis, an intermediary between man and his aesthetic feelings. Eventually, Art is a platform for people to express themselves and live out their dreams. It helps them deal with tough times and create something beautiful out of them. Art allows you to express your feelings, emotions, and thoughts in ways that are not always possible in words or actions. Art helps you to better understand how you feel about certain things. Art is a reflection of society and culture, a diary of everyday people; their struggles and differences. it helps us understand what we are as human beings and influences how we relate to each other. Art is an expression of our inner thoughts, feelings, and experiences. It’s also an expression of creativity that can be used for self-reflection or social influence. Art movement have often played important roles in social changes, and art often leads to changes in thinking or political leanings. The Futurism movement, for example, was closely associated with a social movement, urbanization, and the adoption of modernist thinking. With this body of works, we can say Atanda is mostly concerned with the inclusiveness of the majority

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“the less privileged” people of our society who have little or no access to the mainstream Art exhibitions with no idea of what a gallery looks like talk more visiting them and for the first time in history, an Artist is having a proper exhibition in the slum telling the stories and celebrating the struggles of the inhabitants which is unlike the usual exhibitions of cocktails and small chops in sophisticated buildings in the elitist neighborhoods .

 This is a huge act of humanity from Atanda as he makes Art for the utmost, ordinary yet genuine reason “Art inspired by the people and for the people” this water knows our story is an exhibition dedicated to humanity, a democracy of Art. Speaking of fortune, Atanda is a young and talented Artist

filled with so much energy and zeal, he’s one of the leading young contemporaries of this generation consistently thriving to make a change with his Art. With his revolutionary mindset, Atanda tells stories

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peculiar to Africans and black people in general, he has exhibited his works in international exhibitions and made a good name as a young Artist. The first time I met Atanda was at a well known annual group exhibition in Lagos early this January where he was telling me his idea about having an exhibition where the less privileged can attend, an exhibition dedicated to the poor. this sounded like a very odd idea to me because as Artist, we all believe Art is basically for the rich regardless of what stories we tell, like there’s this class thing that comes with Art, talk about the Art auctions and so many other things.

Art is definitely for those who can afford it so why then would someone want to make Art for the poor but Atanda made me realize that these were the factors that provoked his thoughts, why should a category of people be excluded from the system of Art simply because they can’t afford it? He said to me; I’m going have an exhibition where by this poor people will be the majority, the exhibition will be about them and the elites won’t be able to attend this exhibition because it won’t be in their reach. Well I nodded my head with a soft smile on my face wishing his dreams come through and behold, the exhibition is here and it’s the talk of the town.

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 A lot of professionals in the Art scene including Artists, galleries, and many other people in the Art sector/business are all at awe of what Atanda had pulled up “This water knows our story” has got a lot of people amazed yet perplexed at the same time as it is the first of its kind however, some of his colleagues headed over to the Slum to support him, these are the likes of Barry Yusuf, Olatoye David, Yusuf Aina, Victor ubah and some other amazing creatives. Just like Fela Anikulapo Kuti made music and dedicated his musical career to the less privileged and disenfranchised people of Nigeria, Atandais taking up the baton using his Art in the same direction. This is a very important project for a young and intellectual creative making history for mankind in his society with the spontaneous emphasis on Art as a purpose of man’s existence. Atanda is also taking this project to Madrid with his gallery Veta telling the stories of Makoko people to the universal audience. In a poetic sense; this is water which knows our story is flowing to Madrid and all over the globe telling our stories and how we’re surviving as everyday people.

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