Every day we hear the expression “Life is a journey to be experienced, not a problem to be solved”. The journey begins from birth. It does not end until death. As we sojourn through life, we amass experiences—the bad: afflictions and griefs, conflicting thoughts birthing existential questions that topple our pansophic ideas of inherent good and inherent bad, loneliness, rejection; and the good: peace, love, success in our individual endeavors, cosmic alignments of our plans with the divine, good health, money (or at least, comfort), true happiness—but one thing remains constant for most of us: we keep sojourning.
Art itself embarked on journeys to reach this day. Today, we create art from the heart, about depression, corruption, the spectrum of injustice, the reimagination of global experiences, real and fantastical places. But as we bask in these liberties and victories, it is important we do not forget its past—the voyages art has endured—in order to properly appreciate it. The Ancient times: the era of the Chinese Shijing, the Odyssey and the Iliad; the Medieval Beowulf text, the Arabian Nights; the 15th century Renaissance when John Gutenberg invented the printing machine and changed the face of literature forever, when Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales was born; the Elizabethan era which introduced the father of modern drama, Shakespeare, and the father of the modern novel, Miguel de Carvantes; The Pilgrim’s Progress and Paradise Lost: two important works of the Restoration era; the Age of Enlightenment; the Victorian era notable for the birth of Romantic poetry; the eras of Realism, Naturalism, Modernism, Postmodernism, and now, the Contemporary art of the 21st century.
Today, we now produce flexible hybrids: deviant work in terms of genre, style and theme. Some contemporary work, for instance, has done away with traditional dialogue punctuation, away with chronology, away with naturalist art. None of all these came into being magically; it took time and processes to reach this evolution. We at ARTmosterrific are celebrating this evolution with this Issue, Transit. Transit comprises thirty unique works of art spanning poetry, visual art, fiction, and essays.
Historically, we started as a university program amplifying artistic voices at UNILORIN and environs. Then we evolved into a group that met on WhatsApp to discuss, critique, celebrate and promote literature. Then we announced our formal arrival into the African literary scene with the publication of our first issue, Threshold. That was our beginning, signified by our standing on the threshold, ready to step into the world. Now, we are on transit, just like other humans, like literature itself, gathering experiences, learning, unlearning, relearning, through diverse works of art, both those published by us and others. In this Issue, we travel through the #EndSARS movements and the ensuing massacres, through the history and aesthetics of music, through pain: individual and collective, through love, lust and loss, through victories: small and loud, through life mirrored on pages and palettes—as art works hard to do.
We invite you, dear reader, to embark on this journey with us. Together, we shall unearth our history and rediscover our stance as world citizens. Together, we shall retell the story of Africa and the world, stories thwarted for years by colonialism, military juntas, bad governance, and injustice. Together, we shall uphold a singular voice which firmly says no to these vices. And we cannot do all of this sitting on the fence; we have to set ourselves in motion.
Welcome to Transit!
Ọlá W. Halim