is art in nigeria elitist?

and to answer the question that made you click the link to this post, i am still unsure.

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what i am certain of is that art in nigeria needs to be more accessible to the poor. i may or may not write about this in my next post, simply because i still need to do more research.

i am still looking for an answer to this question but in the meantime i am exploring the possibilities of it being elitist and challenging the notion that it isn’t.

what i desire most is a solution. a solution or solutions rather, that will increase the accessibility of art to the masses.

my second visit to tate modern allowed me to question what were random thoughts in my head.

i watched this art documentary yesterday which i highly recommend you watch too – http://www.tate.org.uk/context-comment/video/tateshots-meschac-gaba

meschac gaba, a contemporary artist from cotonou said these words:

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for a long time i never really questioned how elitist art can be.
it is open to many but not always accessible to the poor.

in nigeria, for instance, most of our art galleries are located in affluent areas.

a conversation with my friend on this opened my eyes. he mentioned that this could be an institutional problem- better electricity, for instance, was present in these areas. he added that unlike london, for instance, where transportation was cheaper, in relative terms and easier, in  lagos, travelling to these art galleries(most of which are located on the island) are expensive and time consuming.

however, this should not be an excuse. or should it?should one social class deserve certain privileges?

for a long time i never really questioned how elitist art can be.
it is open to many but not always accessible to the poor.

is it necessarily bad if some people are educated? ; if some part of the population is enlightened by the works of great artists; if some eyes are open’d.

or is it?

perhaps it is time pressing political and social issues which are channeled through various forms of art are exhibited elsewhere.

perhaps we need to start calling the phone numbers of artists whose sculptures and murals and paintings of politicians and celebrities are displayed on the roadside.perhaps they need to be encouraged too.

i am aware that solving this issue, that is if art in nigeria is elitist is  easier said than done but i think more people need to be aware that art is important.people other than you and i who can afford to visit galleries and take pictures of themselves with art.if art in nigeria is indeed elitist, how can we encourage more people to take up art(broadly speaking )if they are not exposed to any at all?

would love to hear your comments.

please email me on lanaireaderemi@gmail.com or mention/message me on my twitter @lanairea

pregnancy discrimination:patriarchal characters in the workplace strike yet again

Pregnancy is a proxy for gender, and therefore, discrimination against pregnancy is discrimination against women.[1]

In 2015, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) and the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) published the first findings of their jointly commissioned research into pregnancy and maternity discrimination in the UK. While the research showed evidence of good employer attitudes towards, and treatment of, new and expectant mothers, there were also some very worrying results. One of the most shocking findings was that discrimination had increased since similar research by the Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) in 2005, with more women now being made redundant or feeling forced to leave their job than a decade ago. Another was that more than three quarters of the women surveyed had experienced a negative or potentially discriminatory experience as a result of their pregnancy or maternity[2]

Yesterday, I began my law internship in ‘one of the very few legal firms in the UK that specialises in employment law for individuals’[3] Since one of my heart’s desires is  to pursue a career in women’s rights and possibly legislative advocacy , and I was going to be working in an employment law firm, I had ruled out the possibility of reviewing any laws that fail to protect and promote the rights of women, nevertheless,  I was excited to expand my legal vocabulary and abandon my favourite legal phrase, ‘feminist jurisprudence’ for the time being. My mum’s advice to be open minded on my first day of work and my compliance, was rewarded at 12.45 pm, fifteen minutes before an anticipated journey to Starbucks to satisfy my craving for a chocolate chip muffin, when I was asked by solicitors at the law firm to do some research on pregnancy discrimination in the UK.

I had always associated craving with pregnancy but had never imagined that ‘pregnancy’ and ‘discrimination’ could be words put side by side. It was no surprise that my pulse rate increased and I expressed a similar shock to the second word of the headline (below) which I saw on my twitter moments linking me to today’s Parliament News:

 ‘Stop shocking workplace discrimination of pregnant women, say MPs’

Although ‘Equality Act 2010’ makes it unlawful to discriminate, or treat employees unfavourably because of their pregnancy, or because they have given birth recently, are breastfeeding or on maternity leave, pregnancy discrimination is still very common with three out of four mothers reporting experienced discrimination in the workplace, during their pregnancy, parental leave or on return to work.

So why has the number of women forced to leave their job because of pregnancy discrimination doubled over the past decade to 54,000?

Why have 1 in 9 working mums been dismissed, made compulsorily redundant or treated so badly they had to leave?

Why was the #PowertotheBump created to unite young mothers who are significantly more likely to experience pregnancy and maternity discrimination with six times as many under 25 year olds than average reporting being dismissed from their jobs after they tell their employer they are pregnant?[4]

Why are statements like ‘I was bullied and harassed because of reasons such as pleas to get time off for ante-natal appointments’ or ‘My contract ended when I told my boss I was pregnant’ relatable to 1 in 5 women in the country?’

Have employers forgotten to promote family friendly workplaces, effective management and open communication despite their knowledge of the Acas statutory Code of Practice to prevent discrimination in recruitment, pay, training and development, selection for promotion, discipline and grievances and redundancy selection[5] ?

Or isn’t it simply because patriarchal members of the workplace and the society are okay with women being forced to choose between having their jobs and protecting their health? (career vs family)

Maybe it is time the government adopt the German style system which could ban companies from making women redundant during and after pregnancy. We cannot keep waiting for the government to create robust frameworks and detailed plans with concrete targets to tackle this issue. Like the MPs stated, there is urgent need for employers to review their health and safety practices and policies concerning ante-natal appointments and, most importantly to increase protection for casual agency and zero-hours workers.

Despite past efforts to increase women’s access to justice and foster a responsive justice system that advances women’s rights, the rule of law still, often rules women out.[6] So is the fifth recommendation of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, ’improving access to justice’ counter-productive? To answer what was partially a rhetorical question, is it not absurd that 77% of women reported potentially discriminatory or negative experiences yet 28% discussed this with their employer? Is it not even more shocking that only 3% went through their employer’s internal grievance procedure and less than 1% went to Employment Tribunal? In my opinion, changes need to be made to the Employment tribunal fee system and an increase in the time limit for a woman’s claim in cases involving pregnancy and maternity discrimination from three to six months needs to be urgently considered.

The Women and Equalities Committee Chair, Maria Miller’s comment that the economy will suffer unless employers modernise their workplace practices to ensure effective support and protection for expectant and new mums is a wakeup call for all. But guess who else suffers?

Yes, the NHS.

If women are denied their rights and continue to be discriminated against, they are likely to have high levels of stress, anxiety and depression which according to Cathy Warwick, chief executive of the Royal College of Midwives, could negatively impact women’s health and have devastating effects on their babies hence ,costly implications for the NHS.[7]

So what else can we do? Since 84% of employers believe that supporting pregnant workers and those on maternity leave is in the interests of their organisation, it is only fair that employers improve their practice and health and safety procedures as mentioned. The government needs to also show leadership for change by working with employers to create family friendly working conditions and improve access to information, advice and justice whilst monitoring progress to track the pace of change through surveys and research to ensure that pregnancy discrimination is reduced.

But most importantly, we must put the patriarchal members of the workplace to shame so they do not strike again.

 

[1] The Honorable Judges Kanne,Wood & Evans

Griffin v. Sisters of Saint Franics,Including.,489 F.3d 838(7TH Cir. 2007)

[2] http://www.parliament.uk

[3] http://www.landaulaw.co.uk/about

[4] http://www.equalityhumanrights.com

[5] http://www.acas.org.uk

[6] unwomen.org

[7] huffingtonpost.co.uk

 

 

broken screens can be pretty

today,i broke my phone:bs

the first time ,in a shop
the next time,in front of a restaurant

i wasn’t sad
at all.

i looked at the screen
now filled with lines
that were not once there
when the manufacturer created it

as I picked up my screen
and stared at the screen,
i saw my reflection
and I thank God I saw it this time

because some people see
a blank screen
some people see dents
some people see that their
artificial glass has completely broken
but mine hasn’t
so I thanked God

the creator like the manufacturer (who is in fact the creator’s creation)
the creator’s first creation
is and was supposed to be without any dents
or broken glass

or was the creator’s creation created without dents? 

it is four o’clock

i am late
but the moment seizes me
my hair is being blown by the wind
i sat down on this bench to write down
my observations

it is so cold,
tears run down

bye.

and one more thing.
my  phone, like me
is pretty
even with all the dents.

*the picture above is an image from flickr*

letters to pain

 

Lady Pain, Gentleman Pain

Welcome to my heart

Oh you are not welcome

That was not a greeting of joy

Nor was it a greeting for your children

I remember you invited me for dinner

Once with them:

Sorrow, sadness and sickness

Those were their names

 

Lady Pain, Gentleman Pain

You knocked on my door

And I let you come in

And your children were with you

Nooooo , i just remembered the

Deafening cries

Oh, I remember the shrills

Oh, I remember the shrieks

Oh, I remember the screams

Of me.

 

You knocked on my door

And I let you come in

And your children were with you

Yessss, I just remembered the

Loud laughs

I remember they were for me

I remember they never seemed to end:

From you

To me.

 

I thought you left me

Alone

Like I wanted

But you’re crawling

You’re walking

You’re running

Towards me

 

I remember when you

Told us you were pregnant

For the third time

‘I am sick at heart’

That is what I told myself

Please leave me alone

 

I thought you left me

Like I wanted

But you’re crawling

You’re walking

You’re running

Towards me

 

Please go.

 

You ran away

Once

When I (the pottery)

Talked to the potter

 

But you’ve come

With packs of Kleenex

And memories I prayed

Died

So what do you want

From me?

Is it the tears that your

First child gave me?

Is it the sadness you

brought in the form of your Second?

Is it the malaria your

Third child gave me?

 

Leave me alone

Please.

I am as fragile as the stickers on parcels

I am as delicate as the eggs put in one basket

I am as sensitive as the mercury placed on

Every nurse’s desk in your daddy’s hospitals

 

 

You ran away

Once

When I (the pottery)

Talked to the potter

But are here again

With rose pocket tissues

And you have clicked the rewind

Button of my mental music player

 

So get away Pain.

Leave me alone

I do not want to hear:

Your knocks on my door

Your children’s voices

You call my name

 

I was introduced

 to you

before I was conceived

it all began

when my mother

experienced the latent

stage

(oh no, I got it wrong)

It all began

In the form of cramps

Of course, you disguised

Yourself

But joy flowed like a river

When I was born

As I grew you looked

For me

But i resisted

I fought you

I knocked you

I pinched you

I punched you

I hit you

I slapped

Your faceless self

And you screamed in Agony

Yes, that was your language.

 

[lanaire]

 

 

one third of a year

we were on opposite platforms

the male stranger and I

he wore a jumper that was as red

as the nail polish on my fingers

and sat on the bench watching.

 

train stations are special

they aren’t like airports

or bus stops

or parking lots

train stations are special

and red shirt(yes that is his name)told me so.

 

eleven twenty nine-that was my train

i didn’t know it snowed today

till I saw the white flakes of snow on concrete and it

stared right back at me

like red shirt’s eyes did

it was a stare that melted my frozen eyes

or my frozen heart.

 

I missed my train for the second time in

one third of a year

I met a friend on a bus stop

and she googled train timings

for me

 

so in finsbury park,i waited

for the five-eleven train

made of four carriages

(one third of a year)

 

the first time I missed my train

i went to see a friend

a friend with the same name as ‘four’

one third of a year.