Power Lines: An Evocative Evening of Poetry and Art

Reflective moments such as these throw me into a whirlwind of wonders about life. What is the point of living if we can’t engage in activities that stir our souls and bring our spirits to life? Indulgences that not only divulge to us the light of the world but journey us to the hidden depth of our core. Many walk through life caught up in a quest for wealth, success, status, pleasure, and ignore what is present deep within them. Self discovery is the meal that the world of art serves us. Music, drawing, painting, writing, poetry, acting, sculpting, photography; these reveal who we are, they help us experience becoming, grow our souls. These artistic experiences drill deep into our core and ignite that spark — that passion — helping us connect deeply with life. 

Beyond practising art, having a community of common interests gives a more delightful experience. A few days aback, this writer came across a flyer titled Power Lines by Voids and Voices. At the bottom was written ‘An evening of enchanting poetry, stories, and spoken words performances.’ Immediately, I thought to myself, “I will be there no matter what”. This event was to hold at Tunde Odunlade Gallery, Bodija. Again, wow! II had to be there. Of course, not as a speaker, I would be in the audience, making sure to sip every droplet of the milk of poetry and artistic performances spilled on that stage. 

Power Lines, championed by Mr Adedapo Treasure— a strategist, author and film director who started initiatives like Future Point Africa and Voids and voices, was explained to mean electrifying lines. Not in the literal sense but rather, terrific poetic lines. When speaking about the goals this community aims to achieve, the founder asserted that he “believes in a world where people are challenged to discover themselves, and make sense of their lives through the expression of art. More than that, a community where camaraderie is fostered through the freedom of expression”.


Power Lines was a rather thrilling and evocative experience, if you ask me. Attendees sat in a circle in a room with walls mounted by contemporary works of art— drawing and paintings, and floors covered in aesthetic designs made from commonplace materials such as tyres, broken tiles and bottle caps of diverse colours.  At a corner of the room sat a small shelf occupied by an array of wood sculptures alongside a few antiques and books on plays, poetry and prose. The building itself was a work of art, considering its magnificent architectural structure. And this writer was in awe of this little paradise.

The evening progressed with well-versed speakers gracing the stage, and the audience couldn’t help but marvel at the words on display. It was inspiring to sit back and watch these passionate people express intricate aspects of their lives and other subjects in lyrical and profound manner. It was as though they were see-through mannequins, and we could see their world, feel their joy, experience their struggles, and in doing so, come to terms with their values and views on life. This experience connected us deeply with one another, and nurtured the spirit of togetherness and empathy. Even attendees who didn’t prepare to speak shared snippets of pieces they had written, including this writer. 

Several themes were explored in the course of this event, including pain, sorrow, love, politics and identity. For me, certain performances stood out, and I consider them highlights of my day. The first was by Ayoola, a student and actor, a monologue titled Bed Bug. Quite a captivating title, isn’t it? Stay safe. Just kidding, don’t. The monologue offered a refreshingly unique perspective on identity, self-perception, and societal pressures. Through the lens of a character with unconventional habits and a distinct worldview, it explored the tension between personal truth and external expectations. The performance, both humorous and thought-provoking, delivered the message with undeniable impact.

Another highlight of the day was the slam poetry from Ameerah, an autistic person. I was specifically impressed by her stage presence. Despite initial awkwardness during introductions, the lady delivered a captivating performance. She went on delivering as though she was in another world where she wasn’t plagued by disability and she had the liberation to be anything. Although, this seems ironic when she said, ‘I have a routine now. I live, I die, I die, and I die.’ The audience were touched, pain evident on their faces as they tried to imagine how it felt like. She continued till her final line, ‘I’ll hold tight with my plight and stay rugged till eternity.’ It’s reassuring to see that despite her condition, she musters the strength to stay strong.

Dear reader, as this curtain falls, I lean back into my chair and watch as the speakers walk up to the stage and recite poetic verses unique to them. They express deeply rooted, unspeakable parts of themselves— some of which we truly understand and can relate to. This reminds me of what John Keating said in Dead Poets Society, with a little modification: “Medicine, law, business, engineering— these are noble pursuits, necessary to sustain life. But poetry, painting, singing, acting, love— these are what we stay alive for.”

Oladele Irenyenikan 

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