At Makoko and Iwaya communities in Lagos, the Vernacular Art Space Laboratory Foundation has initiated its Covid-19 intervention programme to sensitise the people about the pandemic and provide relief materials. The art hub which has as its Executive Director, Aderemi Adegbite has been a safe haven for many talents from economically disadvantaged homes prior to the scourge of the pandemic.
In a statement issued by Adegbite, a house-to-house crusade embarked upon last month was an eye-opener on how families have been suffering from the negative effects of lockdown.
“Iwaya/Makoko is a low-income community where most families live on their daily income from small scale businesses. At this time, most parents have spent their capital on feeding their household. At Vernacular Art-space Laboratory, we believe in a moment like this art is important and could play a role at shifting peoples’ minds from depression and perhaps crime.
“We equally believe that this is no time to entertain illustrative arts that might contribute nothing to the present realities of individual experiences. We are convinced that the arts to be created now are those that care for humanity not the one that objectify and humiliate human condition. For us, we hope to create the art of compassion with you and present it as a site-specific happening with a pyramid structure: You at the top, The needy in our community on the bottom right and Us (VAL Foundation) on the bottom left,” he said.
The donated items include facemasks, food items, soft fund for small scale businesses, condoms and more. Adegbite added that there would be room to engage skilled workers to be relevant to the new economic demands occasioned by the pandemic. Local tailors had been engaged to make face masks for the people in the community at little or no cost.
“The section with high rate of childbirth in every country is the low-income class. Iwaya/Makoko is a densely populated community and lockdown might double or triple the population within one year if childbirth is not controlled. This is the reason why we incorporate condom distribution as part of our intervention. In as much we need some cash to be disbursed to small scale business owners, the money does not have to come to us before going to the beneficiaries,” he said.