Young Creative In Africa.
Dele was tired. He was tired of school and the lecturers that seemed to derive joy from frustrating the students and seeing them fail. He was tired of chasing a degree that was going to inevitably lead to a unfulfilling career just so he can “make his parents proud”. He was tired of people looking down on him because they thought he was a slacker and a ne’er do well. He was tired of the made up rules about how to live your life in a way accepted by society, the right age to graduate school, the right age to get a job and leave your parents’ house, the right age to get married, all that nonsense.
Dele just wanted to paint. That’s all he ever wanted to do. But all his life he had been told “you can’t make a living off that”, “go and get yourself a real job”, “you’re too lazy for school that’s why you want to paint”. Then after a period of soul searching watching Dead Poets Society, Dele realized that the only thing that mattered was his happiness and sanity, and as long as he stayed true to himself and his art he would not fail and he thought “fuck it”.
By Adedayo Laketu
He is a young creative Nigerian, the head writer for Akbar comics and an aspiring film maker with a professional certificate in Cinematography from PEFTI, he’s also an art and music enthusiast. He’s Akinde Timi.
Random stumble but I not magic when I feel it.
If you know Vortex founded by Somto Ajuluchukwu, you’d be super happy about Akinde. I speak a lot about the “new age” a word termed from the inspiring Africans across all mediums challenging all the status quo that exists, breaking the walls and limits placed on the African continent. These “new age” mind are everywhere around you, they aren’t trapped to one field, you could be anything but you just need to take it beyond.
Comics are very special works of art, art that’s been overlooked for years. The entire creative scene wasn’t given light before, no so much at least but now we have creatives rising and taking their place as very important minds that help shape the culture and economy.
Being a creative with a dream, like Somto Ajuluchukwu who’s inspired so many through his story and Company, I feel meeting and getting to interview Akinde is a beauty.
His words articulate and precise, he knows what he wants; who he his and the challenges he has to face to get his dreams beyond.
That’s the domino effect the previous generation have passed on, we have more tools and we’re taking it, we’re gonna rise and be more, do more and explore more.
Here’s a our discussion:
AL : What does it mean being a young creative in Africa ?
Akinde T : It means being one of the people that are going to be responsible for the upcoming Renaissance in Africa. I feel like this period has a lot of people pushing their various art forms forward and bringing Africa to the same level as the rest of the world.
AL : What do you feel about the new age Africa scene currently creating a new consciousness across all mediums including art ?
Akinde T : I think it’s great. I am very happy to be a part of it because i feel like we can take art as a whole very far and not just for Africa. I think it can be a global thing.
AL : What inspires you about the change and how has it affect your perspective as a creative ?
Akinde T : Seeing young people like myself already succeeding in fields i want to be a part of you, and seeing them actually creating good art. That inspires and makes me believe i can also contribute and be a part of it. It proves to me that people in our part of the world are ready to embrace and get behind this change.
AL : Tell us about Akbar comics and what inspired the name and its creation ?
Akinde T : Akbar Comics is a burgeoning Nigerian comic book company aimed at showcasing African beauty and reshaping the pop culture landscape. The name Akbar means greatness and it was picked by my partner and Captain Calabar co-creator @abasido_. Akbar Comics was formed last year around June when Abasido Akpan, my longtime friend since we met in 2013 at Covenant University (we were roommates along with the last Akbar Comics member Joshua Akpan (@bobbyjagg)), hit me up with idea. It was first supposed to be an animated series but we decided to make it a comic book because it would be easier that way. The idea for Captain Calabar itself came from it being a nickname my group of friends called Joshua. When we agreed to make it a comic book, Akbar Comics was created.
AL : What’s the vision for Akbar Comics and how do you feel the comics help shape the culture ?
Akinse T : Our vision is to create a comic universe on par with the best in the world whilst showcasing African beauty and educating people about our culture, including our own people. I realized many Nigerians are ignorant about other “lesser” ethnic groups (the ones that are not Yoruba, Igbo or Hausa), like the Efik people. We intend to use the comics as a medium to showcase all the culture in Nigeria, keeping it funny and relatable.
AL : Can comics be that much of a strong tool in educating the youthful minds knowing in Africa we somewhat look down on these things ?
Akinde T : Yes it can, we still look down on it but the Avengers’ movies made close to $2billion and part of the money comes from Africa. Supa Strikas were also hugely popular in Nigeria. I believe our comics are good enough to gain such popularity and in turn help in educating the people. I am not saying we are going to completely eradicate the ignorance but we will leave our mark.
AL : There’s some challenges that come with being a creative and creating an idea like your comic company in Africa, can you share some you’ve faced and how you wanna overcome ?
Akinde T : The major challenges are funding and getting people to believe this is a credible business idea. That is why we are trying to get the people to fund it with this kickstarter campaign, the major corporations might not understand it or believe in it but the people do and they can make it happen. And when the corporations see that the people have validated it they have no choice but to get behind it.
AL : What does art mean to you ?
Akinde T : Art to me is about self expression. the thing art is wide ranging and it means a lot of things to me. Basically it’s about expressing your self and showcasing the beauty in life. Being able to express your feelings and thoughts in whatever medium.
AL : You dabble in a lot of forms as a creative especially your plan on becoming a filmmaker, how do you juggle each form and how do they help you express different things ?
Akinde T : Proper time management. All these different forms influence me for example films and tv shows have helped shape my writing especially the dialogue, like Quentin Tarantino movies and Archer for example. Comic books and novels have influenced my writing too, regardless of what i’m writing for, whether it’s a film script or a comic script. There are differences but it’s still basically about expressing your idea in whatever medium. I also think comics have helped shaped my imagination, some comics already have a cinematic feel, like Frank Miller’s Sin City, and that has influenced my outlook on filmmaking. Its all art so it’s all connected.
AL : The movie industry in Nigeria is also undergoing a huge revolution, can you talk about this ?
Akinde T : I am really excited about it, especially film makers like Kunle Afolayan and Kemi Adetiba and the recent success of The Wedding Party. I like the direction they are taking the industry and i’m happy more individuals like that and myself are coming into the industry and money is being put in the industry. Funding has always been a huge problem and the lack of a major studio like Universal or Paramount for example, but i think we are moving in the right direction and i can’t wait to be a part of it.
AL : How can we overcome these challenges cause I see young filmmakers trying to emerge and grow their art but sometimes get shut down, what ways can we cut through this and still expose ourselves ?
Akinde T : It requires a lot of patience and believing in yourself and your art and a bit of luck. I generally think if you truly believe in your art and chase it will all your energy, you will be successful. The right people around you and the right connections help too. I don’t have all the answers, lol.
AL : What’s the plan for Akbar Comics going forward and what difference do you plan on bringing that sets you apart from top brand like marvel and our other African brands ?
Akinde T : We plan to keep expanding our comicverse and our brand with new titles and characters and eventually crossover into making animated features and later on live action movies. We are bringing African culture into the comic book world, being done by Africans and made for Africans but the rest of the world can still enjoy and appreciate it. I think because of our backgrounds our take is going to be unique. All our experiences growing up in Nigeria and everything i gather influence from helps us create a product that is unique because nobody else has had my exact experiences.
AL : What do you feel set African creatives apart from the world ?
Akinde T : Our unique experiences and rich culture. things happen here that don’t happen anywhere else. And also i think Nigerians especially have a great sense of humor that is like a coping mechanism for all the madness that happens here, lol. Almost everyday we wake up to hear some crazy news like the Nigerian army “mistakenly” dropping a bomb on the people they were supposed to be protecting or that our president now wants to “work from home” like a yahoo boy, that’s the craziness i’m talking about lol. America is only just beginning to experience things like that with Donald Trump, that has been happening in this part of the world for a while. Leaders that appear non-chalant about the people. I think growing up with things like that around influences your view. Another thing that sets us apart is our rich culture and tradition, some which may be “outdated” but a lot of them are still very important. And the presence of these outdated traditions are important because it gives us something to address and talk about in our art.
AL : In relation to you being a music enthusiast, what do you feel about the New Age music scene and how much it’s grown ?
Akinde T : I am very excited and happy. I love the New Age music scene and how it has grown because i have seen it grown. I have been following a lot of these musicians for a while like Santi, Tay, Nonso Amadi and Tomi Thomas and i am happy to see them getting recognition from the rest of Nigeria and gradually the world.
AL : What effect does the growth of the New Age music havecon the kids Of Africa ?
Akinde T : I think it’s good for the kids to see successful young artists, people that they can relate to.. people from their generation.
AL : Last words for the kids ?
Akinde T : Follow your dreams, sounds clichee but it’s important. Don’t let societal pressures dictate what you can do because it’s you that would be there alone in the end. Make sure you do what makes you happy.
With that ended our discussion, but not the end of his artistic value as he wrote a short story on being a young African creative.
Here is an exclusive short story written Timehin