Arts education means so much to so many people, it seems counter intuitive that its continuation in school communities and beyond is constantly under threat. So this week ,we staged this interview with Poet Kels ,a budding writer ,poet and philanthropist.
Thanks for chatting with me, Kels. First, Do you like school?
Yes, I do!
Does your school offer any art programs or classes?
Yes, it does!
That’s great. What kind of art classes are available to you or do you offer ?
That’s the tragedy .. I’ve never studied art in school. I know you’ll be surprised but that’s me. Mine is an endowment.. yeah
That’s great, so you’ve never being in any club or society ?
Umm I once did and that as sim high school. I was part of the writers and debaters club.
And what do the club offer?
We workshop our stories. We write and then present our stories, get feedback and guidance on developing our plots and characters. And then we were groomed towards debates and presentations.
Wow! That’s like real work. Does the instructor provide any guidance for your writing or is it all peer-reviewed?
He does. He gives us a few writing prompts. I think when I was in my Last year we had to choose objects and write poems on them. It was really hard for me because I was not a literature student. I had to spend hours in the library trying to absorb elements of a good poems etc. And that lead me to reading stories about bob Marley ,lucky dune ,Nelson Mandela ,Kwame Nkrumah and other African leaders who are concerned with Spackles justice and Black liberation’s.
So in your writing you’re concerned with social justice?
Yes, but I do diverse stuffs too precisely I write from all spheres . I think that art is a way to explore social justice. Our school encourages us to think about social justice. We talk about right and wrong. Yeah … we are all equal so I don’t see the reason why we should feel supreme over another.
So it sounds like you’re very busy with school activities and art programs. Do you participate in any art programs outside of school?
Yeah, I go to the national theatre and other cultural grounds when it’s an art day. Sometimes I get called up to perform one of my poetry pieces or I go to perform uninvited.
I’ve being on almost half of the radio stations in Accra and Volta ..and also Tv.
What stories or poems have you done?
Umm with stories .. I’ve released two online for free thus “Memories from the graveyard “ and “Misconception” .. then to poems I’ve written a lot which I can’t even count. Am just a writing freak but the popular ones are sinners cry ,between the thighs of a woman,Ghana dey bee and A letter to osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah. I’ve also being featured in few movies and series … heheh
Why …..do you like acting?
Not really because I feel it will contradict with my ambitions. I want to be behind the camera rather but Acting gives me self confidence. I’m actually really shy elsewhere, but onstage I feel confident.
Do you feel writing and your other art gifts gives you to do things you wouldn’t otherwise try?
I think that art in general has challenged me to expand my horizons. I’ve tried Shakespeare, mask-making, a one-man skit, instruments, drawing in perspective, drawing places and touring . It changed the way I think about some of those places and people
So art has changed the way you think about some things?
Yeah, art has definitely changed me. Like the music I listen to is influenced by my own thoughts. I don’t listen to anything than musics whihc speak for social justice ,which inspires and which motivates you . I look at the world as a writer and an artist, like I see everyone as a character and I think about what motivates them. I think about myself in terms of making art. That’s how I understand myself. Understanding the range of a character is the same as understanding the people you meet, their perspectives. Art inspires me to keep exploring drama, and looking at the world through the eyes of an artist.
That’s great. Many adults don’t even have a sense of fitting in. So tell me, what makes your art programs so enjoyable?
I love what I do, writing scripts or poetry , acting, even stage lighting and production. Some of my earliest memories are acting. I have this ongoing saga I’ve been writing, about .. i title this “MADE IN GHANA”
This might be a tough question, but can you imagine your life without art?
Without art? I think I’d spend more time on the internet, but not looking for art inspiration to write . I like to look up paintings and stuff, but I guess I wouldn’t do that. So I guess I would just stay on the internet for longer periods of time, since I wouldn’t then go off to write . I wouldn’t be balanced though, I’d be unhappy
Me too, unbalanced, unhappy. Is there anything else you’d like to share about your relationship with the arts?
Art is very important. All kids and adults should have access to art. It’s life changing. Sharing what you’ve made with others is a way to make new friends. It’s also a way to think about social justice and to work through how you think and feel about what’s happening in the world. When you take away art, you take away a person’s expressive outlet. How can they share who they are if you take away their art? Art gives people the tools they need to find their happiness.
Nice talking to you Kels
It’s always a pleasure Sir.