…The Chuma Anagbado and Gerald Eze example
By Olutayo Irantiola
Across the world, all aspects of culture have ways of fusing into one. The musical instruments are works of arts; the lyrics are another form of art and the eventual storage of music is also an art itself. The evolution of the storage of music has continued to change in recent times. Children born in the last 20 years, who do not know the turntable might not appreciate the joy of carrying compact discs (CDs) around.
Recently, I was glad to see two young Nigerians who are on a journey of revolutionizing the Igbo culture through the convergence of visual and musical arts into digital arts. Anagbado, a multi-talented artist and designer whose work cuts across traditional, digital, and emerging creative mediums. He has continually reimagined functional ways of using both material and non-material aspects of Igbo existence in designing new structures and narratives to build a sense of identity and community.
With his experience across the world, Anagbado cut his teeth in the Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) space in Nigeria and Sierra Leone. The visual artist believes that Igbo culture chose him from the word go and he cannot but always be at the forefront of promoting the culture through his various artistic expressions.
On the musical side is Gerald Eze, a lecturer of music at the Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka brings thought-provoking themes into his music to address various societal issues from family values to feminism, governance amongst others. Eze also believes that there is no higher artistic responsibility higher than enhancing the indigenous Igbo music which is within his experience. He is passionate about the culture and music of the Igbo in a tone marked with activism.
Eze can play not less than 16 Igbo different instruments and he also teaches his students. For him, “the only way to engage my students is by playing the instrument. Today, every instrument has gone beyond rituals and masquerades that it was used for generations ago.”
Both Anagbado and Eze, that met about 6 months ago, have fused their artistry, energy, and mastery into the creation of digital musical arts with various Igbo instruments. At a demonstration, Eze was playing the Oja flute of Igbo and at the same time, Anagbado’s laptop was synchronizing the songs with the digital image of the flute.
For Anagbado, his artistry on both paper and e-format is seamlessly coupled with his understanding of NFT (Non-Fungible Token) Technology. This has helped him to create and prove ownership, validity, and scarcity in unique digital assets and this is what he aims to use in preserving the works.
The two Igbo Creative artists have put together their strengths and they are willing to preserve the culture for posterity. They are willing to extend the frontiers of the culture and take it to another height with the use of digital arts.
It is time for creatives across Africa to take a cue from Chuma Anagbado and Gerald Eze by collaborating in a way that will extend the frontiers of cultural knowledge and aesthetics.