'Fear is just a growling animal with no teeth': A Nigerian-Canadian's poem on women's courage

Titilope Sonuga uses poetry to create an "alternate universe" for herself in the uneasy political environment of Lagos.

Titilope Sonuga uses poetry to create an 'alternate universe' for herself in Lagos' uneasy environment

Nigerian-Canadian poet, Titilope Sonuga uses poetry to create an "alternate universe" for herself in the uneasy political environment of Lagos. 2:21

Stream the full Lagos episode now!

Titilope Sonuga moved from Nigeria to Edmonton at age 13. Two years ago, she moved back. In this week's episode of Interrupt This Program from Lagos, she's one of four artists who take us through the art world of the largest city in Africa — where they speak out about patriarchy, class divides, the government and the threat of Nigeria-based violent extremists Boko Haram.

When the world unravels before you, when even your dreams are crumbling stones, when everything you dare to touch is set on fire and all around you is ash and smoke, remember this: rock bottom is a perfect place for rebuilding.- Titilope Sonuga, poet

For Titilope, poetry is a way for her to respond to this uneasy environment, bringing together the personal and the political: "You can definitely tell that there's a hunger for expression in Lagos."

Titilope Sonuga performing at Bogobiri, the place she calls the "home to [her] artistic expression." (Interrupt This Program)

In the video above, see Titilope perform a poem on the courage of women at Bogobiri, the artist hub that was the first place she ever performed at in Lagos. Then, this Sunday, see more of Titilope's life in Lagos where she says "you need to create an alternate universe for yourself, in order not to go mad."

Art as political protest, as a means of survival, as an agent of change, as a display of courage and delight. Interrupt This Program explores art in cities under pressure.

Watch Interrupt This Program: Moscow now and the new Lagos episode online Sunday, and at 9pm Sunday on CBC TV.

Video edited by Benoit Salin.

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