The annual staple at the Lagos Book and Art Festival titled, ‘Timeless Memories: Elastic Effects’, returns this November to honour Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka and D.O Fagunwa.
Curated by Oludamola Adebowale, the exhibition which opens on Tuesday November 15th, is a tribute to the works and legacies of the Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka.
Themed “Connecting the lines between Soyinka and Fagunwa”, the show is also a celebration of Wole Soyinka at 88. For this year’s edition, the curator has prepared a traditional Yoruba-themed installation exhibition and a literary discourse based on the classic literature, “Forest of A Thousand Demons: A Hunter’s Saga”, originally written by one of Nigeria’s foremost Yorùbá fantasy writers D.O Fagunwa in Yoruba but translated into an English language text by Prof Wole Soyinka in 1968.
Speaking ahead of this project, the Curator and Producer of the Project Adebowale, stated that “The dynamism of this project keeps changing year by year and the more we interrogate the works of Prof Soyinka, the more I create more intriguing and creative ways of presenting his works in a more artistic way. It’s been nothing but an absolute pleasure and delight to stand in this gap to work on the huge body of works ‘Kongi’ has blessed us with.” This 5th episode of the ‘Timeless Memories’ will interrogate the book, titled originally in Yoruba as “Ogboju Ode ninu Igbo Irumole” (1938) which tells a fantastic story of a hunter who was caught in a mystical forest filled with a thousand demons.
‘Ogboju Ode ninu Igbo Irumole’ is acclaimed as the first full-length novel published in Yoruba.
In celebrating the genius of D.O Fagunwa and bringing contemporary art installation and interpretation to his intriguing work, we would be recreating the book’s essence in an art exhibition, installation and multimedia project.
D. O. Fagunwa was an author who told stories with a fantastic tilt as far back as the 1930s. He was one of those who documented what can be regarded as fairytales heavy with elements of Yoruba folklore – spirits, gods, magic, and more. His skillful use of Christian concepts and traditional proverbs mark him as one who had a healthy knowledge of classical Yoruba ethos and spirituality. He did all these before the rise and popularity of fantasy and magic realism as sub-genres in literature. This is a master deserving of celebration.
The installation will entail the recreating of an enchanted forest with recyclable materials. A variety of indigenous masks representing a thousand demons will be deployed to symbolize the essence of Yoruba spiritualism and the mythical depths of Fagunwa’s literary brilliance. Ambience will be provided by audio readings of different excerpts from the book; the voice-over excerpts will be taken from both the original Yoruba text and the English Translation by Wole Soyinka. The month-long show will be viewed at the Kongi’s Harvest, Freedom Park, Lagos.