Qudus Onikeku / "Still Life" [short]



A work in progress by Qudus Onikeku.

Creative Statement:
Our collective memory of an immemorial past imposes the division between the north and south, between me and "the other" between rationality and irrationality. Do we not recognize the trap? History is too full of failed Prometheans bathing their wounded spirit in the tragic stream. Summoning history to our aid? But more than history, kindred knowledge, kindred findings, kindred rebellions against the lure of terror; for rage is no longer enough to combat the temptation to subside into unproductive, will-sapping wisdoms.

There are levels of despair from which the human spirit cannot recover, some types of suffering are difficult to explain and difficult for others to understand, the trauma that comes with the memory of our proper amnesia comes with an incomprehensible terror. These persisting events that fabricates time and the other, has made violence "a way of thinking" and an instinct to survive.

Human advancement in the frame of the modern world, is debased by tragedy and violence in many layers. The modern man is very much conditioned by opportunism and greed, quest for power and ambition. Leading to a state of social dysfunction where there is no more society, but a bunch of individual people, poised between solitude and amnesia, making individual choices to promote their individual well being.

The contradictions and tragedy that exists in our collective histories, has made it impossible to represent the other with certitude. There is nothing of which we are more certain than the feeling of our selves, our mortality and ego, an ego that seems to maintain a clear and sharp lines of demarcation between the forces of good and bad, until it eats deeply inwards, without any sharp delimitation.

...but the duty of hope is to turn around and heal the world. The mystical significance of today however, is that it constantly provides us with blank pages, in which we shall inscribe our destiny in our own hand writings. The path towards the pure future is to find ways to reintegrate these pairs of contradictions, into an expanded vision of a social experience that is both the same and different, whole and complex.

"STILL/life" is almost paradoxical and against all odds, its non-literal translation into French of "nature morte" that rather places accent on death, seems to be saying the opposite. “STILL/life” is in motion, a tale of the rise and fall of a man, an attempt to conciliation and acceptance of our extremes, an invitation to shed tears with a spark of hope, that coming generations might eventually learn equity from poverty, love from woes and peace from calamities.

We begin this work with the utopia of simultaneously making visible the head and the tail of the same coin at the same time, show the rear of that which is presented in a frontal manner, above all, confront our self-contradictions and oppositions, reflecting on the schizophrenia of the world we live in, and using pure energy as fuel for this first stage of creation. (source)