When Short Sharp Short, one of Nigeria’s new and fast-growing creative online magazine called for entries that would require artists and writers pairing to win NGN200,000 – upcoming writer Kadiri Alex and artist Orji Favour dusted their tools and got to work. The competition required an artist to do a piece that will inspire a gripping flash fiction by the writer. The duo quickly settled on a drawing they called ‘Scarifications’ which triggered Alex’s muse and later earned them the coveted cash prize.
“The road to scarifications began when my writer contacted me via Instagram,” said Favour, who is an undergraduate of the University of Lagos where he studies Cell Biology and Genetics. Alex chose Favour because he was the only artist he believed could interpret his piece. They worked on several ideas, sought people’s opinions and after screening them, settled for scarifications, a drawing of a man’s face with tribal marks.
Favour drew using charcoal pencils, specifically 2h, 2b, 4b, and 8b graphite pencils, eraser, and A4 sized cartridge paper, Alex edited his story to avoid getting them penalized. “In my opinion ‘Scarifications’ reflects the thoughts of a man affected by his appearance due to his facial marks,” Favour offered.
Alex, a BA in English and Literary Studies from Kogi State University, on the other hand wrote a story about a timid student in a Nigerian campus who found it difficult to approach a classmate he is attracted to because of his facial marks. “A few years back, I found my mentor and inspiration in Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie after reading the four fiction books she authored. I was captivated by her keen eye for detail; she described even as far as a character’s habitual way of speaking or the design on a character’s shirt, and her ability to conjure up very intelligent character introspections and musings. And so I knew I wanted to write like her, although with my own distinctiveness being evident in my work,” he said.