5 Things Covid-19 Has Taught Me About Life-Victor Ehikhamenor
In our new series in which writers and creatives of various stripes share with us their anxieties and fears regarding the Covid-19 pandemic, award winning visual artist, Victor Ehikhamenor says, “the world can wait.”
It is not time but inspiration: I have always known this; the amount of time you have on your hands does not determine your creative output, rather, it is what inspires you. I tell myself this all the time as well as younger artists and writers who complain of having no time to create works. The stay-at-home that has come upon us due to the global pandemic has reaffirmed this for me. There is so much time now, but most people who have always complained of having no time to write or draw or cook or bake or compose a song have suddenly come to the realization that life is what inspires creativity not the abundance of time. Oh, as for me, I have always told myself that when I have time I will write a memoir or complete a draft of my novel, well have I written one line since I have been home for three weeks? The answer is no, because despite the amount of time I have now, I can’t seem to be inspired to write.
The world can wait: I really don’t know how to elucidate this but I used to think that nothing could halt the entire world and make humans take a second to think beyond the daily grind. I don’t think the two World Wars did this to the entire world, where all the countries have a common enemy that must be defeated or mankind would go to the brink of extinction. Now, I know that no matter the technological advancements there are things we will never be able to actually fully plan for. Oh – and I have learnt that humans, no matter the race, colour, social status – are all interconnected.
Humans can adapt: I am a restless being. I have always been, which was a problem for my primary school teachers and also my professors during my undergrad years. I was once thrown out of a class called “Complete Works Of Shakespeare” because the class was overextended beyond my patience. When I am in long conferences or meetings I draw on papers to keep still. This is why I am not a big fan of libraries except I can walk around every hour or so. I don’t like isolation. Extended solitude frightens me, no matter how beautiful. I can write or paint in a market square. I like the sight and sound of humanity. I have done many residencies; the most miserable ones are the ones I stay in isolation to create. Now I know that certain situations can make one adapt and I actually have the ability to stay in one place and enjoy an uncertain solitude.
Poverty redefined: I have learnt that Nigeria really needs to do something about poverty alleviation. By that I don’t mean helping the ordinary citizen on the street. I actually mean the ruling class, including those that are no longer in power. They are all very poor!
This too shall pass: The pandemic will end and the living casualties will return to status quo. We are human beings and that is how we roll. The world will heal physically, then we will begin to find solutions to the psychological wounds inflicted by circumstance.