Multi-disciplinary artist, Wana Udobang, is one of the many women in the contemporary Nigerian literary/media scene that I totally adore. Wana is a journalist, poet, and filmmaker who has done nothing but excel in all of her endeavors.
Wana Udobang recently released her sophomore spoken word album, In Memory Of Forgetting. With In Memory Of Forgetting, Wana achieves so much in a little over the half of an hour. The album as a whole is a very powerful and thought-provoking body of work. And, even when broken down and digested as individual units of a whole, the album still holds up as a compelling project.
In Memory Of Forgetting lucidly captures the unpleasant sides to the female experience, exploring the vulnerabilities unique to this experience. The album successfully brings to the fore relevant issues, as they affect the female gender, that have not always been paid sufficient attention. Issues like neglect, molestation, abuse and feminine resilience in the face of patriarchal piousness are tackled in the album. The album calls attention to the flawed and unjust systems and constructs that our women continue to needlessly contend with. Systems and constructs that, to our collective shame as a society, continue to thrive.
The album excels in that it is simply reflective. It is evident the poet’s intention is not to rouse anyone or sect, guilty or not, to anger. The tone of the album, which could have easily tended towards rage and anger, is calm and retrospective. The imagery of the album is lifelike, enabling ease of comprehension on both conscious and subconscious levels. This is a project that will, if you have one, speak to your conscience and lead you to introspection. In Memory Of Forgetting speaks to your heart and not just your ears. The poems on the album are moving, a result of how genuine the emotions with which they are delivered are.
Examining the album on a surface level, one might be quick to conclude the album’s major preoccupation is the many struggles of the female gender. I, however, choose to believe otherwise. I believe, instead, that the album is actually a wakeup call to society. Shining the light on some of the many ways we have failed. A call to those of us whose inactions, ignorance and insouciance have allowed these oppressive social constructs thrive.
Resident’s of Lagos can get their copies of the album at Terra Kulture and Rele Gallery.
For Abuja residents, the album is available at Salamander Café.