Not a few would easily remember that classic song by Fela Anikulapo Kuti, ‘Water no get enemy,’ although the thrust of that song is far deeper than the surface level from which many attach to it.
That surface level of the Abami Eda’s thematic preoccupation was the same adopted by a touring art exhibition on water management recently. Organised by the African Artists Foundation, Water No Get Enemy was utilised as a platform to create awareness for better management of water resources as the collective added its voice to the global alert on possible shortage of water in the future of the world.
Nigerian artists in the line-up include Lemi Ghariokwu, Chinenye Godsproperty John, Mario Macilau, Alenosi Ogbami, Kunle Ogunfuyi, Olayinka Sangotoye and Alafuro Sikoki. From neighbouring Ghana are the likes of Nana Kofi Acquah, Muyiwa Akinwolere and Alexandra Fazzina.
Held in conjunction with the Embassy of the Netherlands, the tour show took off at The Wheatbaker in Ikoyi, Lagos with artists whose works are listed to be part of the exhibition in four states across Nigeria as a mixture of photography and paintings are employed to drive home the message.
As far as Azu Nwagbogu, a director of AAF is concerned, like any other right-thinking person who comes to Nigeria would observe; that there is lack of potable water in Nigeria is an intriguing contradiction.
“Despite being a coastal nation, we still have issue with potable water” he said, while explaining further that the show explores a couple of sub-themes surrounding water such as cleanliness, hygiene, recycling, flooding and the conservation of aquatic resources.”
But he submitted that the mission goes beyond the visual arts alone, adding: “live musical compositions by Dutch pianist, Marcel Worms, inspired the art pieces.”
There were a number of recognisable images on ground at the event, including a painting by Godsproperty John which was in “Under Siege Series” presented at one of the AAF shows in 2011. The piece attempts an explanation of the widespread ignorance noticed among people when it comes to food and water particularly. There is an image of used bottles of water, which are captured in stagnant situation, covering about 300 metres of drainage in a sight that is ordinarily scary but exists all over Lagos for instance.
The portrayal of another community, according to “Floating Community” by Kunle Ogunfuyi is about one of the riverine communities with fishing as the economic mainstay. Olayinka Sangotoye’s “From Abundance to Scarcity” captures it better even, as the true colour of the inseparable nature between man and water is vividly put across.
The green of the riverbank is so powerfully captured that one becomes almost envious of Olayinka’s piece with the boatmen engaged in unlimited fun as they take their time in the water.
The show is scheduled to last some nine days at about four states in Nigeria as the gospel of water continues. Though the focus was on water conservation and management of related resources, images on display, however, showed that there is a thin line between water and environment, generally.