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The trials of Jelili Atiku 0

Jan29

In early December last year, the performance artist Jelili Atiku was conferred with a Prince Claus Award in Amsterdam in the The Netherlands. The citation by the jury lauded Atiku for his “… provocative spectacles use striking attire, unsettling body language and unusual props to open up dialogue and influence popular attitudes.”

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1w45yOH_psM[/youtube]

Atiku, they continued, “drops himself right into the heart of Lagos [Nigeria’s commercial capital], into the realities of the streets, of densely populated, poor areas, and entices people to interact and respond to his visual presentations.” His subject matter “… include commentary on Nigerian human rights … politically charged critiques of the ruling class and Boko Haram; site-specific interventions on climate change, e-waste and fuel subsidies.”

This may all have been a bit too much for some Nigerian political and economic elites, because last week (on January 18th) he, along with some performers and audience members, were arrested in Lagos on the order of a local traditional leader.

It seemed a performance of his most recent creation, “Aragamago Will Rid This Land of Terrorism,” four days earlier near his home in Ejigbo rankled the traditional ruler of the town, the Elejigbo of Ejigbo, Oba Morufu Ojoola.  The king felt that the performance was targeted at him, and promptly got Jelili, four of his aides and audience members arrested (they were violently manhandled by police) and thrown in jail.

Continue reading on Africa is a country

By Samuel Osaze

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