The End ...

I submitted. I eventually submitted my PhD on Thursday. And even on deadline.

But, no fireworks. Not yet. Not quite.

I’m still in shock. I still haven’t quite digested it. No need to get up every morning and head straight (no unnecessary delays involving coffee, breakfast or the likes, of course) to the university. No need to read that article on the bus to university. No excuses for missing lunch because I was in the midst of a very important argument. No chapters to edit on the bus back home. How am I ever going to successfully fill all these empty hours?!

It's all still sinking in. I submitted. I need to remind myself not to go back to this footnote 12 on page 426.

Meanwhile, doubts, suppressed in the run-up to my deadline, are mercilessly coming to the surface again. I am not quite sure whether I have really done justice to any of the artists I discussed and whether I lived up to the expectations of all those who assisted me before, during and after fieldwork. In more than one way, I have never felt as insecure about this project as I do right now. Not that anything I wrote is fundamentally wrong or at least not that I am aware of. But, the more I wrote, the more I edited, the more comments and questions I received from my supervisors and interested fellow students, the more I became aware of all the things I still don’t know, how little I have understood of (northern) Nigeria and its art worlds. And now, after I submitted, it’s too late. It is too late to change and add anything to what has been written before it meets the critical eyes of my examiners.

Well, I guess that is the nature of research, it is never fully finished. And, yes, maybe I should be grateful for that. After all, that also means that there is still enough to be documented, asked and written about to keep me busy for the career I am aspiring to. Still. The perfectionist in me is embarrassed and angry she wasn’t given (hasn’t given herself by being more efficient) more time, resources etc. to ask more questions, collect more material and edit more thoroughly.

But I submitted. There is no point in going back to page 314 and reconsider my use of the term … ‘art,’ ‘applied art,’ ‘modern art’ … I need to remind myself.

Meanwhile, gratitude … I am not a poet (confessed, I don’t even like poetry, except when its being recited) and the only way I can currently think of describing my gratitude is so worn out my fingers bluntly refuse to type that phrase … so instead, let me quote somebody who put it into so much more witty words and still hits the nail on the head:

From experience I can tell you that these last pages of a PhD thesis are the most widely read pages of the entire publication. It is here where you think that you will find out whether you have meant something in the life of the PhD candidate. While this may be true to some level, you have to weigh my verdict with the disturbingly low level of sanity left in this PhD candidate after several years of studying toxic molecules in distant galaxies while poking around the Galactic dust bin to discover how they relate to matter closer to home ...

Granted, contemporary arts in northern Nigeria does not quite equal ‘toxic molecules in distant galaxies,’ it seems a far more pleasant subject to me but the writing-up marathon of the last few months still left me somewhat brain challenged. As a result, right now, to mention anybody in particular would be to forget somebody else who equally deserves my thanks. Pls. this in no way lessens my gratitude to anybody who in their various ways helped me during the last few years with advice and criticism, connections and networks, their friendship (and the never to be underestimated grounding in the real world) and hospitality, their patience and encouragement, their practical and indeed financial support, their … Pls. bear with me one more time and accept my gratitude in this rather diffuse way … thank you, danke, na gode, gracias, merci beaucoup …

I submitted. What a relief.

I reckon it is about time to put the extragalactic silicate and ice absorption features aside and take a look again at some real rocks and glaciers ...... for a while.

The End … for a while, not longer …


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