‘Culture is a critical building block of our creative consciousness. We often think about creativity as something that is abstract but really it is within us, in that part of our mind that we are not fully aware but which influences our actions and thoughts’
My journey into the world of creative consciousness started in 2006 when I attended an accelerated learning masterclass in London. I vividly remember the reflective exercise; we were asked to close you eyes & think of a song. We all did, for 2 minutes. As soon as I closed my eyes, Tuface Idibia showed up, crashed into my subconscious without permission. ‘ Who God has blessed no man can curse eh eh ‘. The percussion beats at the end of the chorus were so loud ( in my mind’s ear) that it really felt like I was in Eko Hotel & Tubaba was on stage.
I was shocked, I opened my eyes, looked around the room, I was the only african in the room, surely when it came to the time for sharing our songs, no one would know TuFace Idibia, besides the song was in pidgin, even I do not know what ‘Nfana Ibaga’ means. I panicked, what to share, how to share it, even share it at all. Should I think of another song that they would recognise (Given that I was the only black person in the class)? What was the objective of the exercise sef? I forcefully ejected TuFace from my thoughts and tried again, desperately fishing for a more appropriate song that I would be able to share with the class. I wished Marvin Gaye or Stevie Wonder into my thoughts, but it didn’t work. Over and above Marvin and Stevie, TuFace came back vigorously. He crept back in the same stealth manner but this time he chided me confidently
…I will do my ting my way,
My broda no be fight, sometimes I might be wrong, sometimes I might be right, but I will keep my head straight, I will keep my game tight
….. I go bare my mind I go bare am black and white.
…..Wetin I dey see na di future wey dey bright.
So, when that part of the exercise was over & it was time to share feedback to the group, I had a renewed confidence.
I am glad that TuFace asserted himself in my thoughts because when it came to my turn to share, expectedly, no one in the class had heard ‘ Nfana Ibaga (No Problem) by Tuface Idibia. But they all became curious, really interested. They all wanted to hear it. Especially as it was not online for downloads. As I found out later, the course facilitator wanted to create a music list of all songs shared as part his future course materials. Sadly, I couldn’t include mine because of the strict copyright infringements in the UK. But I was able to bring my personal CD to play in class for everyone to listen. I suddenly became the object of admiration.
As I read about the current calls for African Rennaissance, mostly triggered by the BLM movement, I recall thinking at the time, how deeply creative consciousness is enmeshed in culture. We are all familiar with that adage,’ as a man thinks, so he is’.
Indeed, culture is a critical building block of our creative consciousness. Creativity is not abstract, really it is within us, in that part of our mind that we are not fully aware but which influences our actions and thoughts. This also means that culture can also be a hinderance to creativity. It can become the albatross, the mental block to unleashing the creative force that is within you. It shows up in the inability to express oneself, fear of criticism & negativity.
There are also so many misconceptions
So a few questions to get us thinking about creativity
- Who is Creative? Everybody
- Which are the top 3 creative economies in the world? China, India, Spain
- What are the common dimensions of culture? Values, Tradition/Rituals, Food & Drink, Knowledge & Stories, Language, Dress/Fashion, The arts
- Common Misconceptions?
- is limited to the Arts
- Is fun
- No knowledge is necessary
- Is Pure talent
- Is imaginative
We are all creative beings. We were created in the image of God so creativity is an integral part of every human being. However, creativity must be nurtured, preserved, and constantly practiced. It starts with perception, becoming more conscious of our environment. Often, we think of creativity as that ‘aha’ moment when something drops in our subconscious from nowhere but often times it is more about perception, how we respond to our natural environment and how we find answers to the often-expressed concern ‘Wahala Dey!!!! Creativity is often triggered by innate problem-solving requirements, the need to survive in a fast-changing world. We also tend to think that creativity is limited to the arts – music, fine arts, drama & film but this is not the case. We have seen the rise of celebrity chefs who have taken cooking out of the kitchen and on to television. We have also seen the way creativity is beginning to play a huge part in an agricultural revolution in Nigeria. Recently I was amazed when a young man did a demonstration of hydroponics (a type of horticulture where you grow crops without out soil).
People also tend to believe that selected people are ‘talented’ or ‘gifted’. Indeed, we are all gifted in diverse ways, but creativity is more that pure talent. We all know a ‘talented person’ who fell by the wayside due to lack of tenacity and discipline. Whilst it is true that we tend to enjoy working within our own unique creative abilities, creativity & innovation is hard work. Most successful creatives work hard at their craft. It is also helpful to be knowledgeable in your area of expertise.
Following the BLM movement; a lot of controversy erupted about the connection between spirituality & culture, with many people treating culture as religious beliefs and or spirituality. Whilst values, knowledge, traditional customs & practices do have their roots in culture, spirituality & the practice of religion is universal. Self-assured cultural expression is not necessarily a call to revert to ancient spiritual expressions or worship which you may not be familiar with or even be able to connect with.
It is a recognition of the thoughts, traditions and history that has shaped and continues to shape our present situation. It is a reference point from which to contemplate the path for progression and development.
Culture is constantly evolving. We will not find our creative spirit from bartering between western and eastern commercialised value – mongers, or in the drumming of ancient war cries. It lies in the consistent affirmation that we are a significant piece of the jigsaw puzzle of humanity with intrinsic value. According to psychology theories, the human mind is stocked with a set of mental representations, characterized by content, and meaning. These representations can be conveyed in multiple formats. These formats are always moderated by culture. Therein lies your creative consciousness. Find yours!