My Favourite Places Are The Culture Spaces

Nigerian writer Lọlá Shónẹ́yìn shares her personal reflection of Lagos.

By Google Arts & Culture

Traffic in the streets (2019)Original Source: Homecoming FestivalHomecoming Festival

I have lived in Lagos
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I have lived in Lagos for 8 years straight, and I've learnt to organise my life around it. I’ve never lived more than 3 kilometres from my workplace because evening rush hour traffic makes me unbearably sad.

Men dressed in attire made with Adire (2019)The Centenary Project

I still don't understand why
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I still don’t understand why I hesitate whenever people ask me if I am based in Lagos. I suppose it’s because it feels like I only dip into it. People from Lagos are resolute in their love for recreation, parties, food, noise and dance—or what we call ‘enjoyment’. I need to be able to disconnect.

Nike Centre for Art and Culture (2019) by @deeds_artOriginal Source: Homecoming FestivalHomecoming Festival

Besides, enjoyment for me
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Besides, 'enjoyment' for me has always been wrapped up in artistic engagement so my favourite places are the culture spaces—art galleries, performance halls, book stores, art studios.

Artist with face painting working beside Adire fabric (2019)The Centenary Project

I find the openness
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I find the openness of these spaces, where culture is the common denominator, healing. These spaces are safe and therefore necessary.

A cloth being displayed after dyeing at the Kofar Mata dye pits in KanoThe Centenary Project

It's no mistake that I own a bookstore
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It’s no mistake that I own a bookstore that has a small performance space for events and arty meetings, for readings, for mini concerts, for book launches etc.

Lola Shoneyin (2020-07-01) by Yẹ́misí Aríbisálà

This has always been
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This has always been part of my dream and personal ambition. I can’t but be grateful to Lagos for giving me that.

Credits: Story

About Lola Shoneyin 
Lola Shoneyin is a Nigerian poet and novelist, publisher and curator with three volumes of poetry to her name. Her debut novel, The Secret Lives of Baba Segi's Wives, was published in the UK in May 2010, and was longlisted for the Orange Prize. In April 2014 she was named on the Hay Festival's Africa39 list of 39 Sub-Saharan African writers aged under 40 with potential and talent to define trends in African literature. She founded Ouida Books in Lagos, and runs the annual Aké Arts and Book Festival.


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