Interview by Adedayo Laketu
This is my second short spark series with Radr, and it’s birthed a new understanding.
There’s a paradigm shift going on and we’re all involved. I’ve personally called the initiative a “New Age Africa”, it’s a glory that’s becoming a light within the minds who create without limits and boarders.
Everyone wants to start something beyond the norm, we want to challenge the understanding of what it means to create and innovative as Africans.
Short Spark is a series which will be highlighting random minds from all sectors of this new age, young minds all creating and re-inventing ideas through their art, vision, dream, company, action and soul.
It’s literally a time to have a very conscious and enlightening conversation.
This short Spark is with visual creative Gbenga, a mind who’s portraits and imagery have captured the hearts of so many.
There’s a message for all within his art, read our discussion below.
AL : What’s the soul of your imagery ?
Gbenga : Like a favorite quote of mine “Your eyes show the strength of your soul” .We learn from our environment & culture & develop a belief. This belief turns out to be an experience of our life, & we gather, similar more experiences, of the same types, from the experiences of our past. All this experiences & beliefs get saved in our memory of the mind, with our senses. My imagery depicts whatever goes on through my eyes. I see something & suddenly capture it because my soul has found something it has been connected to. My imagery is a prisoner who is just set free seeing the world with his “eyes” I don’t know if I’m making sense. The real question is “Can an image steal your soul ?” Soul has a lot of connection with enery. itcontains information, and if you can receive it and translate it, you can know things about a person that they’ve never conveyed to you with word or deed. Capturing an event you’re in that sphere of their energy so you “Own” that energy surrounding that image now &a you control every single thing around it . Making portraits has a lot to do with Two things The photographer & the Muse . They both connect , they share energies in making it speak to our soul . So I would say that while an image cannot capture your soul in the sense that you then no longer have a soul, a photo can capture your energy and transmit information about you to others. It’s so beautiful man.
AL : How has imagery connect our generation to the world ?
Gbenga : New Age African kids or Photographers in general ?
AL : Both.
Gbenga : I mean compared to the past we were never recognized at all . It seemed like the talent was dead in this part of the whole but now we’re seeing talents as they grow and grow each day . I’m happy for the growth. Our Art has paved a lot of ways in the world & I’m excited but still want to reach every nook & cranny of the earth becuase we’re talented. Something about new age African talents sprinkle culture with everything we create. Might be 70’s / 80’s culture but it’s so amazing.
I can go on & on about we the future . But you can’t compare how we’ve moved positively compared to 4 years ago and that’s a great pedal stone that has been paved for this generation.
AL : What things do you feel still need to be reevaluated in our society of arts ?
Gbenga : A lot of things need to reevaluated in the society of arts . We creatives are locked in this mental slavery of “we can’t do it because of we don’t have it” because of lack of resources & downfalls . If you’re really a creative you can do with what you have & still create a masterpiece asides from that I really think the society of arts is doing very well & as it should be growing.
AL : What inspires you to create and what are the themes that boarder your work ?
Gbenga : A lot of things inspire me but my major inspiration comes from black & white pictures I check up on the internet . I love black & white pictures and that really inspires me to do what I have to do.
AL : Why images ? Why do you take images, why is it your tool to communicate ? How do you respond to it ?
Gbenga : I want my art to speak for me I want my art to connect the world to me . My focus is taking portraits I want those portraits to capture their souls I want my art to have an effect on them.
AL : What do portraits capture that seem more defined to you in imagery ?
Gbenga : Eyes are the prime for any portrait, usually a negative space in your composition is the mind space of the subject, it helps the viewer to interpret the subject’s mood and its state of being. Portraits consist of a lot of things, works hand in hand.
AL : Emotions speak out a lot, the emotions of humanity is written on their face, from fear, to anger, to growth.
As someone who captures portraits what do you read from our faces ? What do you see ?
Gbenga : The most important part : The eyes . Body language matters a lot but we speak through every single thing . The body works simultaneously I read everything and ‘boom’, I know what to capture.
AL : How priceless is the art of photography to Africa ?
Gbenga : A photograph can render you speechless or make you shed a tear. Always have this feeling whenever I’m with the camera ready to take portraits I work really hard to try to be 20 different places and capture these special moments. Because on days like this past week those moments captured in a photograph are held onto tightly. That fraction of a second is so important, its a memory never forgotten.
This was the end of our discussion, something simple and very direct but it showed a lot of character and value.
A dynamic around everyone currently involved in this generational wave.