Former Big Brother Naija housemate, Joseph Abdallah, popularly known as Joe is a creative artiste, whose artistic dexterity and Albert Marculey-like mustache lured the hearts of many lovers of the reality TV show last year. The Sociology graduate of the University of Ibadan in this interview with FEMI OGUNTAYO shares his Big Brother Naija experience and how it affects his life. Excerpts:
Who is Joe? What do you do, what you stand for and your educational background?
Joe is an art director, visual artist and a creative consultant. I am a self-taught graffiti artist and body artist. I make miniature art; visual paintings, stage design and I create props from recycled materials. I am also a masseur and a tattoo artist. I stand for the reintroduction of an intense flow of creativity, betterment of mind and body. But generally, I stand with the impeccable concern and respect for every living creature. I also support recycling to retain earth’s growth and the better and knowledge of human awareness and understanding. I bagged a Bachelor of Science degree in Sociology from the University of Ibadan, and self-taught human anatomy and psychology.
What was growing up like, how would you describe your childhood?
I was very quiet and observant in my early life. Never went with societal norm, I literally went with the flow of this as I enjoyed learning and understanding how the human thinks. I always searched for knowledge wherever I found myself. So, my childhood was very explicit and short. I grew faster than I should have.
Grew faster than you should have, what do you mean by this?
I had spent more time studying my father’s encyclopedia than I did school text books. I spent time observing to understand behavioural patterns and body languages before my teens. I also exposed myself to the knowledge restricted to just adults and this enhanced my focus on the study of people, life and socialisation as I grew up in Ibadan.
How have you been coping with Coronavirus, has it affected you in any way?
I’ve been coping like every other human – isolating and concentrating on myself and my creative sense. As much as we worry about the virus, we should definitely also focus on what we have abandoned in the past few years: ourselves, and communicating with significant people. Though, the outbreak of the pandemic has restricted me from being where I want to be — Abuja. This is the first thing I would do when all this is over. I would continue the plan for my exhibition, and see how to blend with the healing period of economy and the earth itself. I will also leave Lagos and head to my base – Abuja, to my serene space, friends, my lover and my dog.
Last year was a big year for you. How has life been after the Big Brother Naija show?
It’s been terrific; the unpredictable public exposure changed my life no doubt. Everything changed, from the random cheer and excitement I put on fans’ faces, also giving the platform to be able to share the talent I have to a lot more people and help however I can. Also, because of the opportunity, I have been able to create workshops for art tutoring in Jos, Plateau State creative hub in Abuja and about to do the largest neon exhibition in Nigeria.
Tell us more about this exhibition?
My recent creations have swerved into the psychedelic aura of art. Using black light (Mercury), the medium I use in bringing life to my art is with Neon paint, commonly known as ‘glow in the dark’. The exhibition would comprise of expressive models painted to glow, neon decor and props. Exhibiting my illuminated art pieces would be a new experience for our growing people and art lovers.
What was life for you like before the Big Brother show?
It was quiet, peaceful and I was that guy you never saw his face but marked every place he went to. I retain mystery back then, and I liked the fact that people wondered deeply who I was. I had followers then, now I have fans.
What does it mean to you, displaying your artistic skills on the Big Brother Naija show?
I am a very creative human being, and it would be odd not to express myself as genuinely as I would naturally do. I got bored quickly in the house; creative activities were my relief mostly. Plus, the housemates are humans, we have them everywhere, they were not always entertaining.
Do you think the fact that you’re talented in creative arts was the reason why you made it to the Big Brother House?
That might be right, but also consider the fact that they could have found what they wanted in the person I am and how it will play a good character in that social experiment.
Can you share with us your Big brother Naija audition experience?
It wasn’t much of an experience, it was more like a test in patience and positivity for me, but on that day, I had a spot in the long queue during the audition. It was kept for me by my colleague and was the reason I went. They tested us all till they called or didn’t call you to come for the final phase.
You joined the show when it had already lasted for weeks. Why was this? Some people were actually thinking you guys were fake housemates, what actually happened?
I believed back then that maybe I didn’t completely pass all the phases, but at that time, I had an outstanding case with the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC), where I was wrongly accused of forgery which I honestly shared during the audition. After I got the culprit that tried to frame me arrested (a very close friend using fake documents for fraud), it was that same week I was called for the show. And to my surprise, a confirmation was made about the case as they had confirmed from ICPC. But as random as Big Brother could be, adding new housemates between the shows was apparently part of their plan and my chances were just as graded as any other house mates.
How has the Big Brother Naija show changed your life?
As I said before, I had followers prior to this exposure and now I have fans. I have the ones that love, the ones that hate, the ones that have my face as their Twitter avatar and the ones that threaten my life.
Could you expatiate on ‘the fans who threaten your life’, how?
I think a lot of people get to this point some time in their life. But I didn’t expect it earlier in my career. There were Instagram messages addressing me with intentions to kill. My old address, abandoned apartment was broken into and wall painted on, warning me with Titans signature. Sorry for the landlord. Apparently you can only get that from the type of humans that followed Tacha, and because of the short quarrel I had with her in the house, I had upset some people.
Did you make any report to security operatives about this? And has the threat to your life stopped?
The security operatives were notified, but they should focus on some more easily controllable issues. Mine was from poorly educated civilians that don’t have respect and regard for human life.
Are you saying they shouldn’t bother looking into the case?
This was before I left the Big Brother house, so it didn’t matter.
Let’s talk about your love life, what’s your type of woman?
My type of woman is one that is yet to be made public. But the ingenuity of the human is as natural as that of a beautiful woman; I respect a woman that embraces herself for who she is regardless of what the world throws at her.
Tell us about you and Khafi, what’s it between you two?
Nothing, we met at the auditions and that was all.
What have you been up to after the show?
A couple of exhibitions, love performances, workshops in certain places and I worked on the recent show ‘Ultimate love’. I have tried to find time to plan faster and create more because there’s now more humans to attend to if you know what I mean.
You don’t seem to talk much on the social media like many others do, is that intentional?
According to the philosophy of Confucius – “A seed grows with no sound, but a tree falls with a huge noise.” Destruction has noise but creation is quiet. That’s the power of silence. So, I chose to grow quietly.
What is your big plan for the year?
Creating the largest neon exhibition.
Do you have any plans venturing into the Nigerian Movie industry?
Apart from creating set designs and movie props, I don’t think I will be interested in anything in front of the camera in the Nigerian movie industry just yet.
When was your best moment ever?
My best moment would be the time I spent with my father right after the Big Brother show, just before he suddenly passed away.
When was your most embarrassing moment too?
Most embarrassing moment was when I was almost harassed by two very old and unattractive female guests from the recent AMVCA. Both of them were trying to flirt with me in the most inappropriate manner.
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