Inspirations Interview with Emmanuel Jegede

Question: In the design of your work where do you take your ideas from?
Emmanuel: The design of my work I take my idea because being a poet, the mind of a poet is like an ocean, in an ocean you can never see the depth, so what happens is that sometimes I get the idea from dreams, but sometimes I get it from scribbling, because when you scribble you dance, and I make dance of the mind and when I truly dance I can produce 100,000 designs and from that I can decide which one I want to use. And from that scribble that’s the natural dance in me. And I begin to use myself as myself to work through the dance. And that’s why I can produce 100,000 designs a day. Because when you scribble you can never repeat yourself because to scribble is to dance. When you dance it is the natural rhythm in you and the natural rhythm in you is the natural thoughts and natural feelings in you and feelings change every minute.

Question: So it’s really a very free kind of artistic expression?
Emmanuel: It’s free in one way like a child. But as time goes by it becomes very complex. Again that links me back to my society. To the Yoruba culture. The Yoruba are very simple people to deal with to begin with, but as you go along more into them they are a very, very complex race. Because within them they are a very destructive race and at the same time looking at other areas they are a very simple race to deal with. They take life very easy. But at the same time going deeper, it’s like the ocean, you see the other side of them. They are very destructive and the artist is the same because everything is so simple. But behind the simplicity is complexity. So that’s being Yoruba here. You start very simple, like you are playing a game, but as time goes by it becomes very complex and the result of that is the Yoruba culture.

Question: What does your inspiration come from?
Emmanuel: The starting point for my work is based on Yoruba traditional art but what I have tried to do is to move it forward instead of staying static. I was trained traditionally, then went through academic art training. But now I’ve returned back to my roots, but I can only return back to the root because I’ve already acquired a culture. So what I’m doing is to move a step forward and then to merge the two things together. And then induce the present to slot into the past and get something there. I’m trying to move it forward and that’s the knowledge I’m passing to people. And knowing the academic form of art education, that’s helped me also to be able to look into my own traditional culture and develop something new and be able to push it forward. And apart from pushing it forward also to put it in a way that other cultures can see more and enjoy more into that culture. And apart from that it makes me also to see into myself better.

Question: Where did you train?
Emmanuel: I trained for 14 years in art. I trained traditionally first for four years then I went to art college in Nigeria for seven years and also came here to spend another three to four years. So I spent almost 15 years training to be an artist because I studied painting fine art, I studied ceramic then I went back into carving. I studied carving and then I did interior design. I just love every aspect of art. I’m just exploring to find out which one suit me better, to the way to express myself.

Question: Is there one particular medium that you prefer working in?
Emmanuel: I enjoy carving. At the same time I love colours. So at present my colour and my carving in my sculpture, they are not together. But my future dream is to bring these together meaning that my future work I will sculpt then I will paint it, so that I’m thinking of the way the two will blend together. Because I love colour and then when you see carving it’s not complete, but when colour comes into it again we’re going back to tradition. Because the traditional way of art they carve and they don’t just leave the wood, they destruct the wood and they damage the wood surface by putting colours on it to get another image and that’s where I’m trying to push my art now at this present time.