For the longest of time I had difficulty accepting that the label ‘writer’ could ever apply to me. What with all the worlds people such as Sello Duiker, Chimamanda Adichie, and Biyi Bandele have opened up for me. Worlds that I had a deep desire to immerse myself in, and have a drink with the characters as they share with me their deeper philosophies. Worlds of one individual’s creation, creating something out of nothing. Worlds that travel and open in their readers forgotten layers. Worlds that have been created in response to a buzz, an image, a sound, a smell, a touch, an outstanding sensuality, sensibility, and obedience. Worlds created out of sheer raw creativity.
I don’t struggle with using the label ‘artist’ to signify who I am. Being an artist is a sacred state of mind and state of being. I often hear writers talk about how they can only write when they are going through difficulty, and I can relate. When there is an immense depth of feeling, that is, when you delve into the darker corners of who you are, when darkness seems to threaten the lightness of your soul, you are called upon to explore that slice of life, for being a writer is exactly that: you cannot function without the lucidity of events, characters, context, and position. Every depth of feeling must be afforded a deep plunge, an acknowledgement, and articulation.
When you explore a depth of feeling, a most primal and raw emotion, it comes unaccompanied by language or reason; it is as it is, like a dream it presents itself as nonlinear and delineated from worldly order of events. It is an image a writer must trust and obey. Obedience is forsaking the ego and accessing a child-like state in the face of exploring that depth of feeling. This is how you can (re)create a world from a prelingual state—a piece of music can give way to the first words; an image, a painting, photograph, or poster can lend its grammars to your world; the silent beauty of nature can envelop you with sensuality that overwhelms you with vocabularies of creation.
However you must not only hear but listen. You must not only see but practice vision. Summon the third eye. You must employ the third eye to extrapolate from everyday life the nuances of what we have deemed normative. You must, in a most unassuming way, position yourself as a diviner—prick your ear to listen to the raw sounds that will respond to your raw feeling, align yourself with worlds that can burst open and broaden your own, and prise your heart open to levels of fluidity, constant motion and evolutions. Nature abhors stasis, as does art.
You must immerse yourself in art in order to be a creator of worlds. You must be sensitive and sensible to the pulse of creation. You must surrender to the rawness of drums, paint, light, saxophone, words, movement, clay, performance, marble, wood, charcoal, voice, feathers, and so forth; keeping in mind that for anything of value to come out, you must deplete and deconstruct. You must free these commodities from their conventional use and create a world for them to find another use that responds to your depth of feeling. The same goes for self. You must strip yourself to the most bare as to invite the royal robe of creativity to enshroud your naked senses. You must create!
My name is Uhuru, and I am a creator. I create art using wor(l)ds borne out of images, sounds, nature, movement, performance, piano, feelings, smells, motion, tastes, water, alphabets, light, … In this video below, Chimamanda invite us to create worlds of our own making, multi-dimensional worlds that are not as flat as the conventional everyday life depict. There are so many layers to who we are, and we must endeavour to plunge into those layers to recreate satisfactory images of who we are. If you don’t write your own story, someone else will draw misconceived conclusions about who you are. Writing your story can happen in various ways. Find your medium. Find a fitting interface between you and who you are. Create your world, create yourself.