Saturday, December 18, 2010

"My parents and life in its originality were my inspiration"

Professor Oga Steve Abah from the Theatre for Development Centre (TFDC) at the Ahmadu Bello University in Zaria, Nigeria, speaks about exploration in the creative process and his inspiration that often came from folk stories that he listened to while growing up in a village in Nigeria.

What inspires you? 

I grew up in a typical rural village in Savannah region of the Middle Belt of Nigeria. I ran around the forest as a child playing, I went to the farm with my parents and watched crops grow from seed to maturity. And in that environment I listened to folk stories by the flaming fires as my parents and other adults told us stories. The stories were of life, growth, death and collective living. I knew then that I wanted to make things happen for the benefit of people because the I-syndrome was not top most in people's lives. My parents and life in its originality were my inspiration.What I set out to do later in life took off from all these

What difficulties did you encounter when you were young?

I don't know if I want to cast them as difficulties, because all of us in the village grew up in the same circumstance and it was fun! Ok, maybe I could have done with riding a bicycle seven miles to school every morning and afternoon instead of walking!  But we survived!!

Why did you decide to become an artist? 
I like the idea of expressing myself, exploring ideas and being creative instead of taking people's taken-for-granted positions on issues. And I know that the creative process allows such exploration and experimentation.

Which project are you working on right now?  

I am coordinating a project of empowering youth groups and community-based organizations in the Niger Delta to promote peace and development. Theatre for development and participatory video are the main tools in the project.
In one sentence, what advice would you give young artists if they want to pursue their dream?  

Be dogged, determined and pursue your dream of making the world better, even when it is difficult.

 Theatre for Development Centre

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