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“AN EXTRAORDINARY PERSONALITY” | A CONVERSATION WITH AKINS ARTS 

Veteran writer and artisan, Akins Arts (Mr. Adisa), shares his creative journey through the world of creative writing in an interview with our correspondent, Kehinde Ogundele.

Veteran writer and artisan, Akins Arts (Mr. Adisa), shares his creative journey through the world of creative writing in an interview with our correspondent, Kehinde Ogundele.

A Conversation With Akins Arts

Poemify Publishers 

Welcome to Poemify Publishers, where we explore the various forms of African art, from traditional sculpting and paintings to contemporary digital art and installations, including Music. Kindly introduce yourself to us, Mr. Akin.

Akins Art

My name is Adisa Tajudeen, popularly known as Akins Arts. I went to LGEA and GDSS, Okutala, Moro Local Government, Kwara State, before I furthered my education at Kwara State College of Education, Ilorin, and then I proceeded to study at the University of Ibadan (UI). I am Art Personified, basically. I am the author of the play entitled “The Man That Holds Shadow” and many other literary works; I have written over 60 poems to express my thoughts, experiences, and emotions, among which are published in magazines, e.g., Brittle Papers and the like. I am a theatre practitioner who, over the years, has coauthored many screenplays and featured in many movies as a screenwriter, script supervisor (continuity manager), actor, production manager, etc. Among the movies are ‘Predator’s Nest, produced by Don Pedro Aganbi; the Covenant Series, which is currently showing on Shomax; Double Dekoi on Netflix; Fog; music videos, e.g., Bandanna by Asake ft. Fireboy; Psquares; and a host of others, including Yoruba movies. I am a spoken word performer who has performed poetry before the cream of society on many occasions, including before Professor Wole Soyinka, Professor Niyi Osundare, and Professor Toyin Falola, but on different occasions. One of the best occasions was the one I performed before Alafin Oyo, governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State, an ambassador to Indonesia, senators, etc., at the International Conference Centre, University of Ibadan. It was remarkable because of the tumultuous applause afterwards by these erudite and political figures, et cetera. Don’t forget, I don’t speak poetry; I perform poetry! And I am a documentary contents creator on my social media platforms @Akins Arts as well as on my YouTube channel @Akins Arts. And I have many artistic works I am currently working on.

Poemify Publishers

How did your creative journey into writing begin? What inspired you, sir? How did the craft grow?

Akins Art

I am an avid reader first of all; I am basically studious and I have read William Shakespeare’s, Chinua Achebe’s, Wole Soyinka’s, Anyi Kweh Amah’s, Chimamanda Adiche’s, Niyi Osundare’s, Ola Rotimi’s, etc. I was a literary pedagogue; I taught English Language and Literature in English in secondary schools and tutored UTME and SSCE candidates in Surulere, Okokomaiko, and Orile-iganmu, Lagos. That was how I developed an interest in writing after so many years of meticulously discussing prescribed literary texts, and all of those unleashed the writer in me. Because of these plays I have read as an art student, many times I have asked myself whether I could also write screenplays. Then I began to attend seminars on filmmaking and film productions in Surulere, Lekki, and Ikeja, as well as auditions for acting,  etc. But the play that inspired me the most is “The gods are not to blame” by the late Professor Ola Rotimi (a professor at Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife). I read that play over again because I was stunned at its plotting from the prologue to the epilogue; it is really a beautiful work of art! Therefore, I began with poetry, and my first poem was “And the bird sings”.

Poemify Publishers

Sir, do you consider yourself a fictional writer or a non-fictional writer?

Akins Arts

I write what I read, and I read fiction and non-fiction, so I am a fictive and non-fictive writer. Art expresses thoughts, experiences, and emotions; as I said earlier, so does writing as a branch of art. For the world to meet me and glance through my life, I tell the stories of my life, obviously, I write nonfiction as well as fiction. Nevertheless, I am a documentary content creator through which I meet people on the streets and ask a few questions that are so germane to my art and writings as well, because by doing so I have been able to garner so many touching stories of people who relate to their businesses and their personal lives, as some willingly tell me more about themselves and would like to read themselves on papers.

Poemify Publishers

How do you begin to tell your stories, sir? From character development to plot, setting to theme, and time, how do you bring them to life?

Akins Arts

To begin with, I use the omniscient narrative technique to tell stories even as a playwright and a poet, among many other techniques. What I have learned about playwriting is that every character must be distinct, just as every human has distinct behaviour and character, so it must be in developing characters in plays. I learned that characters must not sound the same and must not sound like the playwright; otherwise, such works of art are said to be substandard before men of letters and literary erudites or critics. The settings of my works of art champion the characters and characterizations. I started by outlining the title, and then began listing my characters in the play “The Man That Holds Shadows.”, The traditional town and its suburbs, with the use of technology, champion the actions and inactions of their characters in the play.

Poemify Publishers

As a Nigerian, sir, what are the challenges you’ve faced? More so, how did you get to reach a bigger audience?

Akins Art

As a young pen who, with nothing, craves many things, I pitch film makers my ideas, who sometimes say yes and sometimes say no, and I leverage the internet to unfold my imaginations and experiences because I have come to realise that social media platforms are now beyond ‘How are you?’ as the case may be.  I still face a lot of challenges because I would love to publish my literary works not only in soft copies but also in hard copies, especially the plays and poetry. And as a Nigerian, I know writing is a herculean task because of the burden that sets in most times and how people perceive or attribute fiction to the writers. Only a few audiences see beyond the lines; besides, I have chosen to be an intrepid writer to unveil and satirise the sickness in society. As a thespian, I am attired in satire! 

Poemify Publishers

How important do you believe it is for Nigerian fiction to reflect and address political issues?

Akins Art

I sing a poem I titled “The Political Blunders” as a performing bard, thus:

In a sick city of absent ears
We are the town criers
In a sick city of absent eyes
We hawk our shadows
And who are we?

The excerpt above discusses how the government and society have turned deaf ears to sermons and the lamentations of a million writers in Nigeria. What an enormous misconception! Therefore, I write spoken words on the occurrences in politics and to pass pieces of messages across the ruled and the rulers, let alone plays and novels. The works of art should have reflections on society, of course.  

In opulent literary appreciations and images, I envelop what life has laid before me and society for them to be admired and appreciated by the literary community. Moreover, there is a need to make use of some fictional styles to attract and hook readers because, without some fictional styles, artistic work may be mundane to readers. Catch their attention and make them glue to the rhythms of art, tell the stories that walk the readers’ veins.

Poemify Publishers

All storytellers often give a piece of themselves to their readers and audiences. What emotions, morals, and messages do you hide between the lines when writing?

Akins Art

At the outset, I said that playwriting does not demand the writer’s emotion  but the emotions of the various characters therein, but sometimes those who know the playwright may see him/her in one or two of the characters through his/her diction. However, I don’t hide my feelings while performing spoken word or poetry; sometimes I even cry on stage because of my emotional attachment to the line I render.

Poemify Publishers

What should your readers expect from your future writing, and do you have any aspirations or goals as a Nigerian writer?

Akins Arts

Of course, goals grow, and he who fails to plan, they say, plans to fail. As a thespian, a playwright, an up and coming actor, director, and producer, by the grace of Almighty God, I want to own one of the best production houses in the world where talents dwell and become great. Although I know how tough it seems, impossibility is a scam because the word itself says impossibility. Learning and serving is inevitable. That is, the process is inevitable. God is more than enough!

My goal is to write blockbuster movies, plays, and poetry, that I take my time to explode as I write because there is no longer an ease; meanwhile, I want to see my works of art prescribed by external examinations and tertiary institutions across the world for the values to be invaluable. And finally, I want to continue performing spoken words on bigger stages and to be a part of ‘the game changers’ that spoken words are also entertaining.

Poemify Publishers

What message do you have for other upcoming writers out there?

Akins Art

My message to young and aspiring writers like me is to keep on reading because the greatest elements of writing are reading and writing, and the work will complete itself. I learned that it is also priceless to African writers who aim to project African cultures into the world’s space to understand their respective languages and cultures because the richness of one’s literary works is embedded in one’s vast knowledge of one’s culture. You cannot give what you do not have.  If you want to write awestruck plays, read the best playwrights in Africa. Read their works. If you want to be a novelist, then you have to read novelists and their works. If you want to be a poet, then you have to read poets and their poems. These are the things I have learned about writing. So to me, the elements of writing are reading and writing, understanding the fundamentals of the genre, and having a mentor. We have expert writers, but I understand that for you to be an expert, you have to keep on writing. You must be an avid reader because, during the course of reading and writing, we learn more about the craft.

Poemify Publishers

Thank you very much for giving us your time, Mr. Adisa. More ink for your pen You can follow Mr. Adisa on all social media platforms @Akins Arts.

Kehinde Ogundele
Kehinde Ogundele
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