I just love social media. Yeah… nah.
Well I like it just as much as any other person. Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, in that order.
Oh! I forgot Snapchat and those darling filters.
What I like most about social media is how easily I can connect with the people who like my work. As an OAP, I was not quick to give my personal opinion on live radio, so Twitter was my place of release.
There, I could say whatever I wanted. Because people did not always know what I looked like, Instagram was for facial recognition and Snapchat for expressing my goofy side. I tried to get off Facebook, but I have family and old friends there, so we have the sort of relationship that some couples have. You know, couples that have been married for a while and have grown apart, but still have collective obligations.
In the end, as an actor, all platforms are important for “selling market”.
In fact, social media is the new marketplace. Everything is there and if you need to find out about someone, you go to his or her social media page. Whether it is about their work or personal life, you will have an idea of what they are about; by the things they post or refrain from posting.
But, a few years ago, visual art consumption seemed strictly exclusive.
First of all, there were few art galleries and access to or knowledge about them was supposedly limited to their restricted client list made up of the wealthy, well-travelled elitist and sometimes ‘oyinbo’ crowd.
The same goes for exhibitions; when they took place, people were rarely aware. You didn’t even know if you liked art because you didn’t really know much about it in your immediate environment and apart from paintings which hung in hotel lobbys, you weren’t really exposed to art pieces. … And who were the artists? Ha! Fat chance of knowing that…
Today, more people have access to art and it’s all thanks to social media.
Let’s liken social media to a bridge, linking different groups of people or for clarity, the ‘Third Mainland Bridge’ connecting Lagos Mainland to the Island; the aspiring rich to the tastes of the wealthy and influential.
Art events are shared on social media, where a lot of young people converge. The upwardly mobile who wonder what there is to do in town now have more activities to attend – gallery openings, exhibitions.
Today they can be in the same space as the ‘old money’ and nouveau riche, drinking wine and taking selfies with a Bruce Onobrakpeya; now everyone can post pictures of their time in a gallery, insert a deep quote and show off their introspective side.
Yeah, artsy is the new ‘cool’.
Artists themselves no longer have to depend solely on curators and promoters to get their work out there. You don’t even need a website when you can upload your work on the Gram for free, with full on access to the whole world.
I know an artist who sells his work through Instagram. Why not, when even @moniquefashionhouse [not a real handle] can sell her “wears” and wigs online?
Social media has given us access to our favourite artists.
In fact, with the Venice Biennale 2017 going on right now, it is the only way I can keep up with what’s happening out there.
Venice Biennale is an arts festival organized in Venice every two years. It opens from May 13 to November 26 this year (see why it takes two whole years to plan?) and literally is the most important art event in the world. Let’s call it the FIFA World Cup or the Cannes Film Festival of the arts world. Only the best art from all over the world is featured in Venice Biennale and for the first time ever, Nigeria is being featured. I think it is a super big deal!
The three artists representing Nigeria are @victorsozaboy my brother, friend and collaborator, @peju.alatise and @qudusonikeku. The curator of @nigeriainvenice is @denrelesonariwo of @rele gallery. Hashtags are #nigeriainvenice #howaboutnow #venicebiennale … @edmundvondiddles is there totori-ing us and even the Edo State governor went to famz with Victor (not my opinion!). Haha.
All thanks to social media, we can keep up with what’s happening around the world and in parallel industries. Projecting ourselves, discovering other realities and keeping up with what’s going on in our world… It is, after all, an instrument for gathering and interaction with other people.
Written by Omoye Uzamere (Performer, Creative Nut, Foodie!)
Guest Editor: Blessing ‘B’ Azubike.