Interrupt This Program

Being jailed and intimidated for his Lagos street performance hasn't stopped Jelili Atiku's protest

See his extraordinarily striking performance against Boko Haram in Interrupt This Program: Lagos.

See his extraordinarily striking performance against Boko Haram in Interrupt This Program: Lagos

Being jailed and intimidated for his Lagos street performance hasn't stopped Jelili Atiku's protest. 0:42

Stream Interrupt This Program: Lagos now

In January 2016, award-winning Nigerian performance artist Jelili Atiku was arrested after his street performance "Aragamago Will Rid This Land Of Terrorism" by 15 "heavily armed" policemen who came to his house that night on the instruction of the traditional ruler Oba Morufu Ojoola of Ejigbo. Atiku spent three days in jail, and that same night "almost 50" men with "guns and machetes" came to his house and destroyed his art.

I was arrested because I questioned power. I questioned the king. I questioned his actions.- Jelili Atiku, Nigerian performance artist

Despite the physical intimidation and threats to his freedom, Atiku refuses to stop speaking and performing. Watch the video above to see some of his extraordinarily striking performance "Kill Not This Country," directed at the extremist Nigerian-based terrorist group Boko Haram. On Sunday February 12th see more of this performance and hear Atiku tell Interrupt This Program why he is determined not to be "a passive person."

All of us that live here, we live in panic — morbid fear! — for our lives.- Jelili Atiku
In 2016, Nigerian performance artist Jelili Atiku was arrested after questioning power. Now he's protesting against Boko Haram. (Interrupt This Program)

Atiku was inspired to become a performance artist by the Yoruba culture and its traditions of masquerade. His work borrows on the "religious practice where ancestors come to life again to bless the community." Atiku says that in this tradition they "come with dance, come with a lot of strength and power that bring us a lot of energy that cleans the society." He builds on this tradition to try to bring positive change and vital discussion to Nigeria.

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: Geoff Klein

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