Story by Prisca Briggs: PORT HARCOURT, NIGERIA
The Poetry Unplugged Project in partnership with Alliance Française De Port Harcourt hosted her 4th edition of the poetry unplugged project tagged “Poetry, Memory and the Politics of Mind Control ” A project on reviving poetry, saddled with the goal of giving both French and Nigerian literary artists the platform to showcase their talents.
The project, founded by Mr. Emmanuel Ephraim witnessed a high number of participants cutting across renowned artists such as popular Nigerian actor Sam Dede, Poet and academician Obari Gomba, and Ekaette George, a prolific writer. Others were Mrs Priye Iyalla Amadi, wife of late Elechi Amadi, the Director of Alliance Françiase and many others.
The event, moderated by Victor Okocha, showcased a talkshow on the theme of the project, poetry rendition, songs, dance, spoken poems etc. The talk show tagged: ‘Poetry, Memory and The Politics of Mind Control’ was handled by four panelists, Sam Dede, Obari Gomba, Ekaette George and Uzo Nwanara. The talk highlighted the negative effects of the past and contemporary literature; the bias and sentiments embedded in literature and a call to retrace our steps to focus more on our culture than depicting negative subject matter in our work of art.
According to Obari Gomba, “we must use literature to talk our culture and ourselves into existence or we are talked out of existence”.
According to Sam Dede, “colonialism is the highest politics of mind control”.
We are easily influenced by foreign perception so much so that our own significant culture is eroding away. We must desist from using literature to entangle ourselves with evil propaganda and involve in social vision to help us harness our cultural greatness.
The event was presented with African folklore from the ‘Ephraim Sisters’, daughters of the founder Mr. Ephraim, tagged “new moni eh don come “. Followed by Mr. Biokpo West’s comedy rendition in poetic style, Forever James with Song rendition, The Oracle with poetry recitation, Steward of Spoken Words with poetry rendition, Bile with poetry rendition, Two Whyte with dance poetry, little Princess Karina with poetry rendition, Sam Dede with poetry recitation, Orike Didi with poetry rendition and a host of other literary activities.
In an interview with IFN TV, the founder of the PU project, Mr Emmanuel Ephraim, expressed satisfaction and joy at the event. According to him, the intent of the project has been achieved seeing that artist from diverse fields were given a platform to show their cultural beauty.
“The project was geared towards reviving poetry and the history of storytelling in our community, and it was a success. We had a lot of great poets and beautiful poetic renditions written by prolific writers, which was both educating and entertaining”.
He also declared his dissatisfaction at the attitude of the government in art related events. “The art sector has experience under-investment by the government, and if nothing is done to revive the spirit in youth to pick interest in art it will die. I call on the government to pay more attention to art in the country, invest in it because it is important as others. Arts needs funding to grow” he said.
He appreciated the Alliance Françiase de Port Harcourt for hosting the event.