What 2020 Dragged in: The 1111 Project

– Titilope Adesanya

The first month of 2021 is crawling to an end, and I find myself thinking of all that the previous year brought my way. Our way. So much music, pain, tiktok challenges, conspiracy theories, loads of ‘how to’ videos, virtual shows, IG Lives, and of course the protests and awakenings, the list is endless…of all of this, the new dimension of reality that was so graciously dragged in by 2020 in the final weeks of December, in the form of ‘The 1111 Project’ is one for the books!

Strolling on these IG streets as one does on a random Tuesday, I see this video [below] on a friends page. I take a look, two looks, a third one and my mind is in a wow state, few clicks, and I am in Oladapo’s DMs, few hours and a couple exchanges later, I have an appointment for 2pm the next day.

Fun fact: the 1st piece on the video above, ‘Garri The Milky Way’ is dedicated to Sho Madjozi and her bold showcase of authenticity and culture.

I walked in there with excitement that I’ll be getting first hand insight to what was clearly next level ish in visual arts, and right here in Lagos by young Nigerian men. I walked out on a high and in awe, filled with pride and by the end of the night, I had bought 2 pieces.

Why do I tell you this? Understand that everything you are about to watch and read about ‘The 1111 project’ is nothing compared to the actual feeling of standing in the presence of one of the art works. Or in my case, 11 of the art works and the minds behind it.

THE HUMANS

Ameen Olumide photographed with ‘The Third Eye’

In the end, everything is a reflection of the individuals that drive it. It shows what & how they think & dream, their experiences, and hopes, their visions and sometimes maybe even their illusions. This project is no different.

Oladapo Ogunjobi – The artist

A visionary, so calmly sure in himself. The reliance on his abilities not born out of a bullish pride but of an understanding of creation, its balance, and his place in it. Oladapo has an air of magnificence that I can relate to. It’s exciting, leading, and inspiring.

Ameen Olumide – Digital Graphical Creative & Musical Director

The confidence that Ameen exudes is soooo contagious. Outside of this project and his graphical creative strengths, Ameen is a musical artist with a texture, content and swag I am keenly watching out for. By the end of my visit, it was clear that his superpower is ‘simply being able to understand just about anything and making awesome stuff from nothing’. A universe in a human.

Fatola Israel – The strategist!

Even though both times I went over, I never got to see him, I felt him. In the clarity and confidence of the roll-out of this project, you can tell, someone has mapped out all the variables and is calculating every little possible action and reaction as much as he can. Controlling what can be controlled while leaving room for the unexpected. Fatola also contributed greatly to the written content on the site and other creative work and I hear, he’s the money man.

All three are UNILAG creative arts alumni with strengths so diverse, they balance each other out. When I asked at what point they would consider this project a success? Fatola reckons that once they are able to impact one individual to see things maybe differently and see possibilities where there might be none to the naked eyes, their work would be done. Ameen figures the fact that they DID IT! took it from ideation to the final stage where it’s now available for anyone to experience, this means success to him. Oladapo on the other hand, while agreeing with them, feels that success would come when the very last piece of the 12,221 prints have been sold.

THE IDEA

11:11‘. A figure so precise, so simple, and yet so powerful. It represents new beginnings, spiritual awakenings, and positive thinking springing from the study of numerology. While numbers and their meanings in general are not our focus today, understanding that they hold great importance to many and have the ability to influence and direct an individual (if they are so willing) is perhaps a key path to experiencing this project on a different dimension.

Almost like he was being hypnotized, Oladapo couldn’t stop seeing the number 11:11 manifesting in his life, from his birth date (11) to the birthdate of someone he loves (11) who is a twin (1×1) and a handful of other happenings, he was convinced it was definitely a sign. Not many things are worse than a creative who can’t be led by forces beyond their comprehension, so he gave in, the vision was formed and The 1111 Project was birthed.

I think that the crowning moment must have been when the decision to enhance the selected images with Augmented Reality was made. Giving a whole new layer of experience to anyone viewing these pictures, creating a journey in a frame, and giving new life to ‘interaction’ with art.

THE ART PIECES & AUGMENTED REALITY (AR)

I had never seen anything like it before. Nothing prepares you. You’re looking at this gorgeous 16x 24 image, trying to be deep about it, decipher what the artist is trying to relay to you behind the simple framed image of a shaven doll’s head for instance, then you’re given a smart phone and told to look through it, the image comes to life and now even more layers are opened up. It’s almost like your third eye is unlocked, but through a phone.

Not to be mistaken for Virtual Reality, AR in simple words and with help from WiKipedia, is an interactive experience of a real-world environment where the objects that reside in the real world are enhanced by computer-generated perceptual information. When applied to visual arts, it creates a multitude of experiences and layers of interpretations and the possibilities are so to speak, endless. They sometimes can cut across multiple sensory spaces of our consciousness including visuals, audio, touch and more.

Like you’ll see in this clip below from ‘The Third Eye’, the attention to detail went beyond the physical. Ameen’s precision in picking sounds to accompany and give depth to each piece was very easily one of the top the selling points for me.

The Third Eye

From, ‘Beautiful’ to ‘BO’, ‘Garri The Milky Way’ to the ‘Portrait Of The Horse’, ‘Mammon’ to ‘The Third Eye’, and all 5 others, you’ll find at least one that you connect to on a level that warms and excites you.

Collecting 11 images from several series Oladapo had created over the years, as far back as 2017, each image has 1,111 prints, bringing The 1111 Project to a total of 12,221 pieces to be sold at $111.10 each. In sync, accessible and affordable, the team figured something as amazing and groundbreaking as this, shouldn’t belong to only an elite few. And for this, they is my heros!

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