This morning I listened to Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie on BBC Radio 4’s Cultural Exchange programme (in which creative minds choose their favourite cultural work) and learnt about Ben Ewonwu, the Nigerian artist ( 1917 – 1994). Adichie spoke about Ewonwu’s painting Tutu, of a Yoruba princess. The original painting has been missing for years, but when Adichie was growing up in Nnusuka, in South-east Nigeria, a print of the work was in practically every middle-class Nigerian household. It is still on the wall of her parents’ home.
Who was Tutu? Were she and Enwonwu lovers? What became of the painting? Somehow, when Adichie was discussing this piece of art and its subject, I could just imagine a novel in which the novelist brings Tutu to life, and creates the story behind the painting. Or would that be asking for comparisons to Tracy Chevalier’s The Girl With the Pearl Earring?
The podcast series is just one of many I have been listening to. I love podcasts but it’s been years since I listened to any regularly. Now that I have more than 100GBs of phone memory, I have been downloading with gay abandon. They are perfect for long drives and walks, and when cooking and doing other household chores. That’s when I listen to them anyway. Somehow, music doesn’t quite do it for me at such times.