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IPÉLÉ (PHASES): Metaphorical Performance Art by Taiwo Aiyedogbon

To everything on earth there is a phase; to be conceived or to be born, to be planted or to germinate, to live or to die. Taiwo Aiyedogbon’s focus on issues of human discipline which is vital in everyday living can be vividly observed in the September 16th, 2017, performance art titled “Ipélé” which means phase as part of The Root; an exhibition of contemporary art held at the National Museum Lagos, Nigeria.

The performance examines the minority’s control of society, against the majority aspirations and cries. This metaphorical performance dramatically exposes the effects of a corrupt system on an entity whose power and energy is limited. He portrayed the current phase of the Nigerian system in general: political or economic, and the citizens’ effort in the nation’s development. He depicted this in his act by wearing a white cloth, which is translated as purity, and dipping into a clay pit– a corrupt system whose history and root is as old as the country itself as represented in the clay solution.

Ipélé questioned the citizens’ role in nation building especially in a country like Nigeria where hate speeches are now common features across the country. Taiwo Aiyedogbon’s performance called for a joint effort to pull down systems that are not favorable to the citizens as was seen in his performance.

The Ipélé performance further builds on Aiyedogbon’s previous performance establishing her as a contemporary artist who questions societal ills as seen in African Time restaurant which was performed in 2016.

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Olushola O. Olajobi is a Nigerian based art history graduate, a researcher, writer, designer and visual artist

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