Be warned, oh ye ghosts of murdered humour, step not one foot on this page, for there is none like unto thee in the art of The Naive.
They are described as eclectic by those who pretend to know them. And when they fail at exciting us, words like unique and peculiar are added to elevate their loneliness. In a way, there is no denying the truth to it. Most of the things that pass for art are unintelligible at best: smears of paint that manage to get framed; a dilemma at crossroads; a forgery of foliage fleetingly frozen; death only half as evil as a storm’s wreckage.
These are the things we see over and over again because we believe certain things are, like they say, esoteric. Their explanations and understandings lie in the appreciation of the fact that the artist had an intention and a will and came up with, well, something like a gallon scavenged from a dump site. To defend his work, they say an artwork can best be described by the creator himself. He lives in limbo when he starts, his life and its dying revolving around the axis which is a maze of haphazard brushstrokes and confused colouring. His inability to confer the meaning to you in palatable language is the doing of that part of him that died with its last touches. When he is able to do it though, you are to take his word for it.
Abufusem koraa! I see lines and a deformed shape; he implies the imperfection of human life and its tragedies. Those countless fish eyes are a performance of perfection by an artist attentive to details. Attentive to details! God, the ruminant’s digestive system pays attention to details, four times!
And how not convenient. Man is a flawed piece of art himself. They say he is not fit for heaven except by divine providence, yet he was created in the creator’s image or given the best of forms. The entirety of his existence is based on fulfilling the needs of a flesh that aspires to decadence. It ages and it crinkles and it loses its vigour in creaking joints and coloured nails. His bowels shift. His teeth fall off. That lady you drooled over soon misses the focus of her yellow contact lenses. Abstracts, all these. Like the fleeting life of a caterpillar, our imaginations are rendered obsolete and our whims dictated by trend and styles with the passage of time.
At best, the sculptor’s ugly carvings are but manifestations of a society’s emblematic standards. What makes a woman but her slim thighs? What makes a noble man but his ripped chest? What do we call beautiful if not the depiction that appeals to our senses; that which is depicted by an aged, retiring chimpanzee; that, when perceived through the creative’s singularly perfectly biased gaze, is a rendition of his high-horsed-self riding out into the perceived liberty of his genius. That’s right: Art is a caricature of form with the artist in the middle of it. The creator’s overblown ego dwarfs any sense of reality or logic…even sanity.
Me dier, I talk: Notin give them!
For a species that believes notoriety should not be the ticket for popularity, we show problematic lapses in our affording poets so much praise for their grammatical inexpression. “When shall we three meet again?” “In buffoonery, fat butter, and clank!”
And what intimidating terminology they use too: “My works are a process of distillations…They attempt to reduce all-encompassing ideas and universal factors down to their core idea. Exploring along the way intercepting variables and patterns.”
PFFT! When will these guys learn to speak a language we understand? Lampooning our peace with strange designs of chaos and asking us to revel in its, what, beauty? Eheh?
Anyway, me, I dey wan try. Let it not be said that I fell for a lack of effort. I want to love the artist, the painter and the rapper all. I wish to depict my admiration for him like he does his peerless imaginations. Except, I fear. For she said:
“Love? Love? Love is not safe, my lady silk, love is dangerous. It is deceitfully sweet like wine from a fresh palm tree at dawn. Love is fine for singing about and love songs are good to listen to, sometimes even to dance to. But when we need to count on human strength, and when we have to count pennies for food for our stomachs and clothes for our backs, love is nothing. Ah my lady, the last man any woman should think of marrying is the man she loves.”
Alas, I am a man!