Ever since my childhood, I have heard a lot of people say art is a world filled with mysteries and concentrated passion but I thought it was a mere saying until I came across this young man called Kambili. He was twenty-one years old when I met him.
Kambili cannot be seen without a pencil in his hand. With his sketch, he could describe feelings, events and happenings around him without uttering a word. Often, he referred to his pencil as his better half. And with it, he had displayed his imagination on paper.
Despite being a lovable person, Kambili had never given a facial expression that could be described with words. No one can read his thoughts through his eyes.
As the only child of the Harrisons, Kambili had been closely monitored and supported as a natural artist. Most of his sketches were just works of imaginations which most times, he couldn't give a concise meaning to.
Though Kambili was not a friendly person, we got along very easily. What brought about our closeness, I can't fathom but we were very intimate to the extent we shared thoughts, feelings and excitement together.
Fourteen years ago, when Kambili was alone in his room, a story he told me a day after, he got an inspiration and entered his art room and came out about ten minutes after with a white drawing sheet which had something sketched on it and dashed into his parents room to show them what he had drawn.
On the drawing sheet was a sketch of a crashing aeroplane gutted in flames of fire, thick dark cloud of flames. His mom was surprised to see her son draw such an image. She was so curious that she had to ask
Kam Kam, how did you come about this sketch? It looked different from other sketches you have made.
Kambili looked at his mom with a frowning smile and said:
mama, you and I know I draw from imagination. I just felt like doing this.
His parents kept wondering where a seven years old child would have gotten such an inspiration to draw such a sketch.
Few weeks later, a military plane went missing. For over a month, several rescue teams were sent into the corners of the earth in search of the missing plane but none came with a good result. No one thought of the drawing of Kambili as to what was happening around here.
But things seemed spectacular about Kambili and his art. After a session of sketching his imagination, an occurrence would erupt. The event that follows is usually a direct reflection of the drawings of Kambili.
He had one baggy knickers and a shirt. This cloth has been known as his logo. Wherever you go, and wants to describe the mysterious art boy, his clothing style gives a perfect description of him. No matter how busy he could be, Kambili was always in the possession of a drawing sheet and a pencil. He had become so accustomed to drawing that when he misses drawing in a day, he would fall sick.
The last time I pictured Kambili sketching on a drawing sheet, he was at the school quadrangle, opposite the main gate. I couldn't give a direct interpretation of what he was sketching at the moment. And if asked, Kambili will never say a word until he is done with his art.
I kept mute and looked on as he marshalled his drawing skill on the sheet. As he was concluding this particular art, I saw it that the lame man at the entrance of our school gate, popularly known as Lagelu was the image he was drawing. But the most amazing part of it is that he isn't a lame man in the sketch, he was standing upright.
Something is about to happen, I thought.
When he had completed his sketching, I asked him what he meant by drawing a lame man in a standing and walking position. All he said was:
It's just an imagination.
Even though I agree, I perceived that this was not just an imagination, there is something mysterious about Kambili.
And for Lagelu, he has been begging alms at our college gate before we got admission here. No one could state bow long he has been begging alms.
In the morning of the third day, as we approached the college gate, a crowd gathered at the gate around two people. I was so curious to find out what was going on. I held Kambili tightly with my right hand and walked towards the two men in the crowd.
As we drew closer, the noise became thicker.
Ole! Ole!! Ole!!!- Thief! Thief!! Thief!!!
The man in the middle became Lagelu, the veteran beggar. He wasn't lame. Over the years, he had only cunningly tied his legs in some funny ways to avoid suspicion to appear as a lame man.
I turned and noticed that Kambili was nowhere around. I scaled through the crowd in search of my friend Kambili. He has some explanation to do.