– By Tayo Faloye.
Just when the dust stirred by the big boots on the Awolowo sculpture in Lagos is just getting to settle, which many felt was a misrepresentation of the iconic political legend, the mounting of a statue in honor of President Zuma of South Africa by Gov. Okorocha in Imo State is creating yet another furore in the country. The significance of the art work is lost on Nigerians, especially for a man who’s enmeshed in corruption charges in his country.
And, as if those aren’t enough, a headless statue was unveiled in Lagos by Gov. Ambode to mark Fela Anikulapo-Kuti’s 79th Posthumous Birthday, tagged: Liberation. What irks people now is why would a Fela’s statue be without a head? What is the reason behind it and would it cause another backlash?
So, sequel to trying to unravel the mystery behind the headless sculpture, GRANDSCOPE Media gathered from the grapevine that Fela’s family never wanted any statute of the Abami Eda erected anywhere to avoid turning such a place into another shrine or pilgrim center by his ever loyal and teeming fans. So, Lagos State government erected the statue without a head in respect of the family’s wish and prevent any form of cult worshiping at the park. This reason largely remains unconfirmed. Could the headlessness then be symbolic?
Well, one must not forget that the Venus De Milo, a statue without arms, is one of the most impressive statues in the world. That is simply symbolism. When sculptures are without their body parts, there, for sure, must be some explanations for them. But, most of the headless sculptures around the globe are circumstantial (vandalization or weather damage) not deliberate.
For an instance, Kwame Nkrumah’s statue in Accra lost its head in a chaos after the overthrow of his government in 1966. It remains headless till date. And, Margaret Thatchet’s statue was decapitated in 2002 by a renegade Paul Kelleher, who claimed it was in exercise of artistic expression during his trial after he was arrested and was eventually sent to jail for three months.
However, the Liberation statue in honor of Fela was crafted by the artist, Abolore Sobayo, who revealed to Lolade Adewuyi, a journalist, that, “as he usually does, he stepped beyond the confines of the normal and acceptable into the realm of blatant symbolism… The striking pose of the iconic Fela Anikulapo-Kuti is a physical representation of the true essence of a legend who led a struggle for the emancipation of his people.”
Therefore, having heard from the horses mouth, it goes to explain that the Fela Anikulapo’s sculpture is nothing but an artistic expression; a monumental creative art work, which may be unconnected with any Fela’s family wish.
Do you think the statue is an ideal depiction of the legendary enigma, Fela Kuti? Let’s hear your opinion