*Today’s topic is ‘American Graffiti’. When I saw it, I just thought to myself, ‘I should get a Nigerian themed writer’s prompt’. Maybe I’ll search for one. Or make one. But till then…*
I don’t know much about graffiti other than the fact that it’s art. Somewhat forbidden art. Vandalism, they say, in form of art. Today, on my way to Obalende, I looked at the walls to get an inspiration for my story. Lagos state is trying. There are a lot of ‘Don’t mess with Lagos state’ posters on walls. Only a few places still have sprayed on their walls; ‘Do not urinate here’ ‘Post no bills’ ‘Money Lender’ ‘Learn to drive in two weeks’ and so on.
As I got bored off looking at walls, I turned to actually face the road and it hit me. (I feel like there’s a joke there but It’s not coming).
I realized that Nigeria itself is a work of graffiti. I mean…
The ruggedness in the atmosphere.
The potholes that seem to lead to hell.
The select fine places.
The brown mud on my black shoes.
The music in the honking of angry drivers.
The loud laughter from the gossiping pepper sellers.
The bizarre make-up on an unperturbed face.
The yellow buses in Lagos.
The green ones in Ogun.
The different colours and prints on Ankaras on Fridays and Saturdays.
The shirtless young boy rolling tryes.
The dirt-stained dark mechanic under a bus.
The tear-stained face of a child just beaten
The stretching out of your five fingers to insult a crazy driver.
The churches on every street.
The loud mosques so early in the morning.
The traditional medicine men, not afraid to practice.
Children playing in stagnant water.
A bus of angry people.
A bus of happy people.
A bus of people.
The hawking of every edible.
The high heels at the cinema.
The ever humming generating sets.
The haggling and pricing.
The loyal LAWMAs in Lagos.
The warring telephone service providers.
The pushing and pocket picking.
The trains bursting at their seams.
Socks on brown rubber sandals.
All of this ruggedness, sprayed with black.
The Black that is you and me.
Nigeria’s such a beautiful work of art. But not the ‘safe’ or ‘fine’ kind of art. It’s the rugged kind of art. Like graffiti