Africa: The Land For Ubuntu And iwa l ewa?

Igi kan ko s’igbo – one tree cannot make a forest (a Yoruba proverb)

I am an African, a Nigerian and a contemporary Yoruba artist currently studying and living in South African society. My body of works synthesizes the Yoruba iwa l ewa philosophical concept with that of ubuntu, a moral philosophy in South African society. iwa l ewa is a Yoruba philosophical word that reflects on the inherent qualities that determine good or bad characters in historical Yoruba society. I believe that iwa l ewa and ubuntu are traditional knowledge systems that buttress the objectives of African humanist philosophy.

Furthermore, I believe that an African humanism and communalism emphasizes human relationships and communication in African society. This has been a challenge for people born in South Africa dealing with migrants, born elsewhere in Africa, living in the country. I argue that the recurrent incidents of xenophobic violence in urban South Africa, betray the objectives of African humanist philosophy. This is the reason why I am using visual art as a tool to rebuild and reconstruct a communalist spirit in African humanist philosophy in South African society and other African countries. I believe that African people should draw on and from the philosophies of iwa-pele (calm character), suuru (patience), Imoju-mora (sensibility), Ifarabale (calmness), iluti (good hearing) and tito (preservation of culture), to promote love, humanism, communalism and ubuntu in South African and other African societies.

*Africa: The Land For Ubuntu And iwa l ewa? will show at Guns & Rain Gallery, opening 6pm on Tuesday 28th January, until Saturday 1st February 2020. After opening night, visits are by appointment.