City Odes | Eko ile | Lagos, Nigeria

by | Mixed Media


ARTIST STATEMENT: The City Odes Project is a passion project in which I collaborate with my composer, a poet, and an actor to create a humanist, emotional, and visual story amidst the backdrop of a specific city. “Eko ile” is the second entry into this series and takes place in one of the most intense, vibrant, and overwhelming places I have ever been – Lagos, Nigeria. The title “Eko ile” translates to “Lagos is home” in Yoruba, one of the primary languages in the country. For this piece, I wanted to capture the city in the language I encountered most when I was there – Pidgin English (which is sort of a local slang) as well as plain English, both of which my lead actor Jide Adewale (who also happens to be one of the producers) speaks as he narrates the poem. I wanted to create a character who personifies the feeling of living in Lagos in which the hustle is as real as it gets and the frenetic pace is nonstop. Lagos truly is one of a kind.

The final result here features the work of Ntongha Ekot – a Nigerian poet – who eloquently captures these push-and-pull feelings through her words, and my frequent collaborator John Corlis – an LA-based musician and composer – who complements the poetry with his emotional piano piece “Into the Atmosphere” from his latest album of the same title. My incredible producers Jide and Ella Utomi made it all happen by finding the locations, security and logistics; they took care of me during my memorable time there. Please, enjoy this short poem video and my ode to Lagos.

About The Author


Born and raised in Los Angeles and of Cantonese descent, Sheldon first discovered his greater passion for films in high school when he was introduced to the Criterion Collection DVDs by both his artist uncle and his drama teacher. When he learned of his parents’ tale of survival in which they fled Vietnam in the aftermath of the war, Sheldon was further inspired by the power of storytelling. He earned his Bachelor’s degree in Film & Media Studies at the University of California, Irvine, then decided to fully pursue cinematography at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, where he earned his MFA. Sheldon was the winner of the 2015 ARRI Volker Bahnemann Award for Cinematography and has had his work recently screened at major festivals such as Sundance, Toronto, Venice, Los Angeles and Tribeca. His latest feature, the AT&T and Tribeca Film Institute produced film Nigerian Prince, is due for theatrical release this fall, and he recently wrapped production on his latest feature, Summer Knight, shot in Chengdu, China. Sheldon is currently based in New York City and is a proud owner of a 14 year-old black pug named Milford.