Tag Archives: Nollywood

Uli on my mind.

I have always regretted that drawing uli patterns fell out of fashion.  It annoys me when I consider the rather flimsy reason they did, the same as a lot of traditional Igbo stuff; because the church disapproved and thought it fetishistic.

In the 1930s and 1940s, Igbo women often wore uli painting on everyday occasions as well as during important festivals. At the same time missionary schools were discouraging women from painting uli on their bodies and instead taught them to embroider the designs on textiles. Uli artists were asked by missionaries to record their designs on paper. These were then used to make templates for the embroideries.

From here.

Now a lot of scholars suggest that uli was not really a mode of communication, not in the way nsibidi was. It’s supposed to be more linear and abstract, a way to beautify spaces as opposed to nsibidi’s ideographic/logographic  - i.e. used to transmit concepts or ideas – form. But maybe in the process of getting ridding of the more-feared nsibidi (which was used in its sacred forms by the literate secret societies), it might also have come under attack.

Note, I use secret societies to mean titled and Leopard societies not Living in Bondage type scenarios. 

Recently I have become interested in finding as many designs as I can and in creating a few of my own. I toyed with the idea of getting the one from my grandfather’s mud walls made into a tattoo for my back.  I also briefly considered getting patterns tattooed on the soles of my feet but I do not fancy the thought of spending great amounts of money for something that would fade pretty quickly due to friction (walking around, wearing shoes, etc).

Sole tatPlus according to sources, it hurts like crazy.

As for putting it on my back or anywhere hidden like my bum, I am worried about it fading and/or the ink bleeding and how it will look on my skin when I am old and my bottom droops to the backs of my knees.

I think one of the things that is so beautiful about uli is the impermanence of it all. The dye fades after a few days so that you can draw an entirely fresh design on; one suited to the occasion or event, or even just one that takes your fancy. Tattoos do not afford me the same option.

Uli seems the way to go. Nsibisi is enjoying a resurgence so hopefully uli too will come off the better for it.  Thanks to people like the Nsukka Group and many other interested bodies and individuals, a lot of the designs are not lost. I reckon I will try out a few designs with henna and see how that works out. I’ll also try to find some camwood dye (African sandalwood) in some villages back East when I get to Nigeria and try out its reddish colour as well.

The front wall of my grandfather's compound, Ezelle, Oba. Use with permission.
The front wall of my grandfather’s compound with what looks like uli patterns; Ezelle, Oba. © Chikodili Emelumadu.
'Ugo n'acho nma' carved figure; ukpuru.tumblr.com.
‘Ugo n’acho nma’ carved figure; ukpuru.tumblr.com.

 

Nollywood here I come! (Ish)

Tomorrow I am at Raindance Film Training in London, doing an Intro to Screenwriting course and I am totes excited/nervous/apprehensive/thinkingofnotgoingbecauseIamacoward/thrilled.

I decided to do this for two reasons:

1) I LOVE dialogue. I had to curb my enthusiasm for this in my last few pieces because my editor thought I should describe more, but I LOVE my dialogue. I really do. I find myself nowadays looking at some of the stories I have as if through the lens of a camera.

2) I think that the key to creativity is keeping it fresh, finding different media to tell stories. I am a storyteller, after all. I should be able to do this in any way.

I wasn’t thinking Nollywood at first but why not? I’m tired of always dissing what they do. Maybe I should get in there and write the scripts I want to see, put my money where my mouth is and all. And I should really start watching Nollywood films. The last time my sister was here, she brought along some tripe…no, no. I shan’t diss anymore.

On that note, ‘big-ups’ to all the producers, screenwriters and directors that are trying to improve the industry and do something different with it, to all the actors who are trying to grow and hone their craft and to everyone else who refuses to accept mediocrity.

Down with piracy and jagbajantis storylines.

Which reminds me. I have to pitch in front of industry professionals tomorrow. Yikes. Maybe I should pitch them ‘Blackberry Babes’ and see how they take it.

What do you say?

In other news: Has anyone seen this film that is making the rounds on Facebook?

Bella Naija

It’s a bit sad because you already know how this story will go!

UPDATE: I found out I was right. Watch the trailer.

Sex Me Bad: Nollywood and ‘the Fairer Sex’.

Sex Me Bad by Violet Omojan Okokor

Forget the godawful title trying to be all Color Me Badd ‘I Wanna Sex You Up’, I think this book could make for interesting reading.

As someone who pulls her hair out at how BADLY Nollywood treats women (see here), it is refreshing to see that not only does someone else feel the way I do, but she has gone ahead to write a book about it! With facts! And stuff!

I’m still baffled as to why it came up in a search for Zulu Sofola’s works on Amazon – I had to go back and type the name of the book to get a clean link for you guys to click through to – but I am chalking this one up to fate today. I’ll let you know if it’s any good. There are no reviews on the Amazon at present so I am buying blind.

My fingers are itching.

Genevieve Nnaji

I know sontin about the Half of a Yellow Sun film. I have been sitting on it for weeks.

No, not that Genevieve’s part (may have)/has been cut. That’s old news.  But I may know certain factors surrounding this. In other words, why.

I would love to talk about it, not because of gossip – it’s not really my style – but because of the conversation I want to start about Nollywood and …and…grrrrr! I can’t even say the next thing because of the ultra smart people who will guess and I have my source (yes, the same one that worked on the set of the film) to protect.

We need this conversation. We need it.

What to do, what to do?

A Christmas Tale: On courtship and Karma

Back when the Hubster and I were courting…

Wait, before I start, let me just say that if you have just laughed at that you have betrayed your origins to be from species other than Homo Igboticus. It doesn’t matter if your name is Aloycius Nnemurumkuja, I put it to you right now that your mother needs to tell you some truths; you are not Igbo. For every Igbo child knows that Igbo people do not ‘Date’ or ‘Hang out’ or any other term that implies the time-wasting in couples so prevalent in this age.

We court. Everything has its purpose.

If you are coming to my house, it is not merely for the pleasure of my company but to taste my food. If your hands linger around my hips, it is to measure that they can bear more sons than you care to count. After all, those millions of seeds you carry about in your sack must be cultivated so that your ancestors will not visit you in your dreams.

Courtship is a dance that goes way beyond what you see in Nollywood films. If proverbs are the palm oil with which words are eaten, the language of  courtship is the ukpaka’s rich, meaty texture in said oil. It is an acquired taste, not for children. If music be the food of love, then courtship is the rhythmic jingle from the waist beads of an obu uzo egwu dancing to the beat. If all this I am saying is not making your blood hot just reading them then obviously courtship is not for you. Go and let the man take you to get  Mr Biggs ice cream or chop kanda  from Mama Cass. Go on. See if I care.

As I was saying, back when the Hubster and I were courting, I played my part to perfection by sending him on Herculean tasks. Tasks at which the mighty Anukili na Ugama might have baulked.  It was not wickedness. It was part of courtship. You tell me how you like the gap in my teeth, I send you to find a pair of shoes made from the foreskin of a castrated gorilla. It is just how it works. To do him credit, the man always returned with the things I askedfor which is one of the disadvantages of marrying a fellow journalist. We have people. I thought knowing a thief in Kibera was something but nothing tops having a gorilla-foreskin guy in the middle of London.

So, I’d set tasks and he would knock them down, and I’ll set bigger ones and he’d do those, and then I got on the WWF ‘Enemy of the Planet’ list and stopped sending him to procure parts of animals. And one day, as I was racking my brain to come up with a straw to break the camel’s back, and failing that, the actual hump of the camel, he said to me: “All these things you’re doing to me, I am going to marry you and my child will do them to you.”

I shouldn’t have laughed.

This morning, my son (whom we shall from henceforth refer to as ‘This Boy’ ) woke me up by hooking an index finger inside my mouth, pulling me upright and making me go out in the pouring acid-rain of London, in 6 degrees Celsius weather to buy him some milk. He also insisted on coming so I had to dress him in the dark knowing that to put on any lights so soon after reluctantly waking would render me blind for the rest of the day. I forgot my phone so I didn’t get a photograph, but this is my illustration of how I looked:

image

1) Bear trapper hat. Because I am not nearly ugly enough in the morning.

2) Scowl. Maybe some drool.

3) White turtle neck. It was like a beacon in the dark. And I’m arty dah-ling.

4) Pompoms: This Boy is like a cat with string.

5) Skirt. I don’t know why as the coat was long enough and the skirt was barely a there. The waistband was on my bum to attain this length.

6) Leggings.

7) Boots. Actually, now that I think of it, I was wearing blue wellies with multi-coloured dots. This Boy is like a cat with dots.

8) Milk.

And This Boy skipping happily in his padded rain suit.

I have never seen the shopkeeper serve me so fast.

The moral of the story? Courtship is good, but Igbo women please be lenient this Christmas so that you will not reap what you sow. And if you do prefer to do the time-wasting dating thing, then for the love of God, don’t order a whole chicken when he takes you out. You don’t want to know how that will turn out ‘karmically’.