Saturday, 20 September 2014

Painter, Ajayi gets Society of Nigerian Artists (SNA) Fellow honour

Olu Ajayi (left), receiving Society of Nigerian Artists (SNA) honour of Fellow from Kolade Oshinowo during the ceremonial event recently, in Lagos.

New Order...How 'Colourists' project fresh canvas

By Tajudeen Sowole
As modern and contemporary arts compete for space on the vibrant Lagos art landscape, a possible return of similar factors that energised art appreciation in the 1980s through early 1990s may just be returning. 

From the New Order exhibition, Toni Okijeni’s Festival.
Art connoisseurs and other enthusiasts could start experiencing this much when the group exhibition titled New Order opens tomorrow, ending September 30, 2014 at Terra Kulture, Victoria Island, Lagos.  Olu Ajayi, Sam Ovraiti, Toni Okujeni and Pita Ohiwerei are the artists of New Order. They hoped to use the exhibition in spurring a new phase for Nigerian art. Three of the artists, Ajayi, Ovraiti and Okujeni are among those that were christened "Colourists" in the 1980s for adding a new texture of colour to Lagos art. Ohiwerei and other artists of like minds later joined the trend.

Prior to the emergence of these artists and others who were trained at Auchi Polytechnic, Edo State, the canvas of Lagos art scene, and perhaps by extension, the rest of Nigeria was not – in the argument of a section of observers and critics - as diverse.  The Colourists, so suggest critics, brought more "vibrant colour" onto the canvas. In fact, the Auchi art school seemed to have stressed its identity of producing artists of 'vibrant' application of collours via the influence that Ajayi, Ovraiti, Edwin Debebs, Ikoro Emmanuel, Ekpeni Emmanauel, Okujeni, Osazuwa Osagie, Ben Osaghae,  Ohiwerei, Lessor Jonathan, Alex Nwokolo and others had welded over the Nigerian art scene.

However, the 1980s/90s art is different from the 21st century's visual arts space being redefined by the energy of contemporary art. Within the scope of the dynamics that has thrown up new and non-traditional medium, appropriating and conceptualising of art, the artists of the New Order hope to strengthen their modernists’ identity.

Despite an unprecedented increase in appreciation of Nigerian art in the last six to seven years, the walls of galleries and contents of some sections of the art scenes appear static; laced with repetitive themes and copying as well as subconscious transfer of old styles and techniques from masters to young artists with diminishing creativity. But the 'Colourists' who take a chunk of credit and praises - perhaps knocks too - for the state of a largely conservative art scene in Nigeria are set to inject what they believe would pass as new face. More importantly, its quite cheering that at least, the need to open up the regimented art house and modulate the tone of Nigerian art is coming from a section of those who dominate the third/fourth generation the country's modernists.
  "After 30 years, we are coming together to re-present the state of our art," Ovraiti told select guests during a preview of New Order. He went memory lane to the 19th century period of impressionism, comparing the challenges of the pioneers to the emergence of Nigeria's Colourists. Three decades after, they are revisiting the art scene  "to reinstate freedom, purity and quality in the result that shows in our art."

Ajayi was more precise: "New Order is about separating art from picture making." And having received the knocks of critics for being repetitive in their themes, the Colorrists, other artists they have inspired over the past two decades and their followers need to surrender to the reality of change, so suggested the argument of Ajayi. "It's also about self-expression and getting out of the regimented art scene of doing the same thing all over." Being the promoters of impasto and creative application of colour in the Nigerian art scene, "we now want to move beyond this," Okujeni added.

The dynamics of Nigerian art scene in the last two decades or more has excavated quite a number of groups such as professional bodies as well as movements. And the New Order artists appear like another movement in the making. “It’s a consciousness, not a movement,” Ajayi clarified.

Reviewing the past two decades of the Nigerian art, Ovraiti noted that “New truths have been revealed and more colourists have also emerged.” However, it does appear that the line between the modern and contemporary Nigerian art is blurring. For example, all of a sudden the word 'conceptual' which the visual arts world has arrogated to a particular kind of art outside the Renaissance and modernists or Fine Arts terrains is suddenly appearing across the board. Refusing to be shut out of the confined contemporary definition, the New Order artists disclosed that the works for the show are "conceptual." This appears like a total confrontation against the tide of contemporaneity, isn't it? "Art does not have to be performance, installation or some masquerades now known as art to be conceptual." Ovraiti argued. Indeed, in common and ordinary usage, it could be argued that most creative works across the Arts - visual arts, music, film, theatre- are conceptual, anyway. But it takes what looks like the threat of contemporary art or "fad" for other artists of regular and traditional expression in Fine Arts to challenge the confinement of conceptualism to contemporary medium such as installation and performance art.

In the work of Ohiwerei, the change, from repetitive to wider themes and textures is glaring. His works such as Dance Spirit, Chibok Unending Story and Market though appear familiar, the texture and contents are not exactly his usual.

 For Ovraiti and Ajayi, traditions and identity are hard to be swept away so soon, so suggest their works that have traces of fresh breath within the context of conceptuality. In fact, Ovraiti warned that the past cannot be frozen so soon as much as a new dawn is crucial. “This exhibition could witness some recurrent themes. The driving force for looking back if we did is to revisit a previous result from our current level of enlightenment and awareness. After all, artists draw from their inside, foresight and insight. Looking at hindsight sometimes enables a new result.”

And if medium of expression and usage of materials are the key characteristics of contemporary or conceptual art, Okujeni imbibes such in Festival, a mixed media basically rendered in buttons to achieve what looks like pointillism.

 Ovraiti has applied his art to outside the art exhibition circle, mostly in the workshops and mentorship sections of art development. In fact, he is currently the director at Nigeria’s most consistent yearly art gathering, the Harmattan Workshop.
  Ajayi: has more than 28 years professional experience, and was recently given a Fellow, Society of Nigerian Artist. He is a founding member and Trustee of the Guild of Professional Fine Artist. His bio states in parts: Ajayi’s metaphoric vocabulary is also deeply rooted in the body, his ultimate vehicle in expressing life’s dualities. His sensuous colors, sweeping strokes and narrative content place the human figure on a grand scare, while the dramatic cropping of figures and forms emphasizes the immediacy of the paint. Ajayi has also achieved recognition for his remarkable watercolors in grey scare executed in a broad gestural technique.

In 1993, Ajayi was listed in Who is Who in Art in Nigeria published by the Smithsonian Institute and Libraries. In 2004 he won the best Alumnus Award of Auchi Polytechnic
  Okujeni, a former art illustrator at the defunct Guardian Express magazine has been a full time studio artist in the past 25 years. Having taken his art across Africa, he is currently seen as the face of Nigerian art in Senegal.
 Okujeni’s past exhibitions included His past exhibitions included Nigerian contemporary cartoons United State Information Center, Lagos 1986; Treasure House Salon-  1989; Treasure house exhibition- 1989; Exhibition of art, Shell Club Warri-  1991; two-men show Leventis Foundation Centre- 1992;  Colour masters, Didi museum, Lagos- 1993; The way we are- NiconNoga Abuja-  1994;  Impastoes something special gallery Lagos -  1995; Valley of decision- National Museum-  1996; Ecole de Dakar exhibition-  GalerieYassine 1998; One man show-  GalerieYassine 199;  Assilah Forum Exhibition- Morocco- 1998; Exhibition of painting- Polo Club Lagos 1999; and Three man show National Musuem, Onikan, Lagos 2012.
  Based in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S., Ohiwerei has experimented in a quite a number of techniques and came up with series such as scratchee. His bio states that he has had solo exhibitions across Europe, Africa and U.S “where he has won numerous awards.

Sunday, 14 September 2014

#BringBackJonathan2015: The Wages Of Impunity, by Soyinka

The dancing obscenity of Shekau and his gang of psychopaths and child abductors, taunting the world, mocking the BRING BACK OUR GIRLS campaign on internet, finally met its match in Nigeria to inaugurate the week of September 11 – most appropriately. Shekau’s dance macabre was surpassed by the unfurling of a political campaign banner that defiled an entry point into Nigeria’s capital of Abuja. That banner read:  BRING BACK JONATHAN 2015. 

Prof Wole Soyinka
President Jonathan has since disowned all knowledge or complicity in the outrage but, the damage has been done, the rot in a nation’s collective soul bared to the world. The very possibility of such a desecration took the Nigerian nation several notches down in human regard. It confirmed the very worst of what external observers have concluded and despaired of  - a culture of civic callousness, a coarsening of sensibilities and, a general human disregard. It affirmed the acceptance, even domination of lurid practices where children are often victims of unconscionable abuses including ritual sacrifices, sexual enslavement, and worse.  Spurred by electoral desperation, a bunch of self-seeking morons and sycophants chose to plumb the abyss of self-degradation and drag the nation down to their level.  It took us to a hitherto unprecedented low in ethical degeneration.  The bets were placed on whose turn would it be to take the next potshots at innocent youths in captivity whose society and governance have failed them and blighted their existence? Would the Chibok girls now provide standup comic material for the latest staple of Nigerian escapist diet?  Would we now move to a new export commodity in the entertainment industry named perhaps “Taunt the Victims”?

As if to confirm all the such surmises, an ex-governor, Sheriff, notorious throughout the nation – including within security circles as affirmed in their formal dossiers - as prime suspect in the sponsorship league of the scourge named Boko Haram,  was presented to the world as a presidential traveling companion. And the speculation became: was the culture of impunity finally receiving endorsement as a governance yardstick?  Again, Goodluck Jonathan swung into a plausible explanation: it was Mr. Sheriff who, as friend of the host President Idris Deby, had traveled ahead to Chad to receive Jonathan as part of President Deby’s welcome entourage.  What, however does this say of any president? How came it that a suspected affiliate of a deadly criminal gang, publicly under such ominous cloud, had the confidence to smuggle himself into the welcoming committee of another nation, and even appear in audience, to all appearance a co-host with the president of that nation? Where does the confidence arise in him that Jonathan would not snub him openly or, after the initial shock, pull his counterpart, his official host aside and say to him, “Listen, it’s him, or me.”? So impunity now transcends boundaries, no matter how heinous the alleged offence?
The Nigerian president however appeared totally at ease. What the nation witnessed in the photo-op was an affirmation of a governance principle, the revelation of a decided frame of mind – with precedents galore. Goodluck Jonathan has brought back into limelight more political reprobates - thus attested in criminal courts of law and/or police investigations - than any other Head of State since the nation’s independence. It has become a reflex. Those who stuck up the obscene banner in Abuja had accurately read Jonathan right as a Bring-back president. They have deduced perhaps that he sees “bringing back” as a virtue, even an ideology, as the corner stone of governance, irrespective of what is being brought back. No one quarrels about bringing back whatever the nation once had and now sorely needs – for instance, electricity and other elusive items like security, the rule of law etc. etc. The list is interminable. The nature of what is being brought back is thus what raises the disquieting questions. It is time to ask the question: if Ebola were to be eradicated tomorrow, would this government attempt to bring it back? 

The controversial #BringBackJonathan2015 bill board
Well, while awaiting the Chibok girls, and in that very connection, there is at least an individual whom the nation needs to bring back, and urgently. His name is Stephen Davis, the erstwhile negotiator in the oft aborted efforts to actually bring back the girls.  Nigeria needs him back – no, not back to the physical nation space itself, but to a Nigerian induced forum, convoked anywhere that will guarantee his safety and can bring others to join him. I know Stephen Davis, I worked in the background with him during efforts to resolve the insurrection in the Delta region under President Shehu Yar’Adua. I have not been involved in his recent labours for a number of reasons. The most basic is that my threshold for confronting evil across a table is not as high as his -  thanks, perhaps, to his priestly calling. From the very outset, in several lectures and other public statements, I have advocated one response and one response only to the earliest, still putative depredations of Boko Haram and have decried any proceeding that smacked of appeasement. There was a time to act – several times when firm, decisive action, was indicated. There are certain steps which, when taken, place an aggressor beyond the pale of humanity, when we must learn to accept that not all who walk on two legs belong to the community of humans – I view Boko Haram in that light. It is no comfort to watch events demonstrate again and again that one is proved to be right.
Thus, it would be inaccurate to say that I have been detached from the Boko Haram affliction – very much the contrary. As I revealed in earlier statements, I have interacted with the late National Security Adviser, General Azazi, on occasion – among others.  I am therefore compelled to warn that anything that Stephen Davis claims to have uncovered cannot be dismissed out of hand.  It cannot be wished away by foul-mouthed abuse and cheap attempts to impugn his integrity – that is an absolute waste of time and effort. Of the complicity of ex-Governor Sheriff in the parturition of Boko Haram, I have no doubt whatsoever, and I believe that the evidence is overwhelming. Femi Falana can safely assume that he has my full backing – and that of a number of civic organizations - if he is compelled to go ahead and invoke the legal recourses available to him to force Sheriff’s prosecution. The evidence in possession of Security Agencies - plus a number of diplomats in Nigeria - is overwhelming, and all that is left is to let the man face criminal persecution. It is certain he will also take many others down with him. 

Senator Ali Modu Sheriff (left), President Jonathan and President Deby 
The unleashing of a viperous cult like Boko Haram on peaceful citizens qualifies as a crime against humanity, and deserves that very dimension in its resolution. If a people must survive, the reign of impunity must end. Truth – in all available detail - is in the interest, not only of Nigeria, the sub-region and the continent, but of the international community whose aid we so belatedly moved to seek. From very early beginnings, we warned against the mouthing of empty pride to stem a tide that was assuredly moving to inundate the nation but were dismissed as alarmists. We warned that the nation had moved into a state of war, and that its people must be mobilized accordingly – the warnings were disregarded, even as slaughter surmounted slaughter, entire communities wiped out, and the battle began to strike into the very heart of governance, but all we obtained in return was moaning, whining and hand-wringing up and down the rungs of leadership and governance. But enough of recriminations - at least for now. Later, there must be full accounting.
Finally, Stephen Davis also mentions a Boko Haram financier within the Nigerian Central Bank. Independently we are able to give backing to that claim, even to the extent of naming the individual. In the process of our enquiries, we solicited the help of a foreign embassy whose government, we learnt, was actually on the same trail, thanks to its independent investigation into some money laundering that involved the Central Bank. That name, we confidently learnt, has also been passed on to President Jonathan. When he is ready to abandon his accommodating policy towards the implicated, even the criminalized, an attitude that owes so much to re-election desperation, when he moves from a passive “letting the law to take its course” to galvanizing the law to take its course, we shall gladly supply that name. 
In the meantime however, as we twiddle our thumbs, wondering when and how this nightmare will end, and time rapidly runs out, I have only one admonition for the man to whom so much has been given, but who is now caught in the depressing spiral of diminishing returns: “Bring Back Our Honour.” 

Saturday, 13 September 2014

Art is incomplete without its business value, by Edozie

By Tajudeen Sowole
Between the commitment in creating art and the challenges of promoting it, artist, George Edozie keeps searching for the art business formula that favours his generation of artists.

A painting Eko ikwalu ike (diptych.Medium Oil on canvas) by George Edozie
Creating art is seen as too demanding, mentally, such that it hardly gives any ventilation for artists to be well grounded in the business of art. And with the perception that artists get the best out of studio when other professionals, handle the marketing and promotion, the former, more often, are vulnerable to the intrigues in the business of art. To prevent being webbed in the wrong side of the art business, few artists manage or own art gallery facilities across the country.. For Edozie, his strategy differs: not running a gallery, but promoting and selling works of other artists  along with his primary function as a studio artist.

Having found his modest, but growing space on the highly competitive Lagos art landscape, Edozie started his art promotion mission as co-author of a compendium, A Celebration of Modern Nigerian Art - 101 Nigerian Artists, with a U.S-based publisher, Ben Bosah. Currently, Edozie is co-curator and coordinator at Alexis Galleries, Victoria Island, a space that has shown over 20 solo and group exhibitions in just three years of existence. And outside the Alexis Galleries platform, Edozie's company Purpleeva Nigeria Limited organises art exhibitions as wwell as offer other promotion services.
 "Artists create and talk art, but we do little to promote it," Edozie noted during a visit to his studio located inside Medina Estate, a quiet side of  Gbagada, Lagos. He argued that art dealers and gallery owners are business-like while artist are not. "Most of us depend on the art galleries. The truth, however is that the galleries are established to promote the interest of the owners." The galleries, he added, do not invest in the artist, citing the music industry example "where "label owners invest in the musicians."

Edozie who graduated in Fine Art at University of Benin (UNIBEN), Edo State, lamented that   by training, artists are not prepared for the business of art. "Quite unfortunate that nobody teaches you the business side of art in school." For him,  it was an option to learn on the job. "Ater school, most of us don't improve on what we acquired, and this has led to our inability to face challenges." While he would not lay claim to making a big success in marketing and promoting artists' works, relatively, he has put in the vital aspect - passion. And on passion, he disclosed how it had pushed him into the business side of art. It's been difficult entrusting his work in other people who, in his opinion, do not share the passion of creating the work in the first place. "I am not against taking work to the galleries,. From the begining of my career, I always found it difficult to give my work to people, either for marketing or promotion because the passion I put in creating the work cannot be represented."
More importantly, the rise in value of Nigerian art, home and overseas, he added, has inspired him to combine promotion and marketing with his studio practice. "I was worried that Nigerian artists who, no doubt,  make the largest number in  the African art market within and outside the continent are not properly marketed. We are about the half of the entire African art market." Nigerian visual artists, he stressed, "are competiting on the global scale compared and musicisns or actors." But at home, "the music and movie industries attract corporate and government attention."
 One of the key areas that Nigerian artists are lacking is documentation. Comparatively, the number of books published about Nigerian artists appears not commensurate with the volume of activities being churned out. Edoxie agreed. Recalling that the anadequacy of documentation led him into the partnership that produced 101 Nigerian Artists. "When Ben Bosah seeked partnership with me, I told him I was also working on something similar." Reminded that the partnership promised a second volume of the book, Edozie however assured that "a follow up is coming, and featuring more artists."

Edozie in his studio
It does appear that inadequate documentation of Nigerian art has a link to what observers have argued as inactivity of the nation's art historians. While Edozie noted that higher institutions of learning "churn out art historians, every year," he added other sectors of the economy that have nothing to do with art attract the young graduates. "You don't blame the young art historians; they were not prepared for post-school career." Edozie explained that after the young art historians leave school "most of them don't practice, but get employment in banks and oil companies." Artists, Edozie insisted, are not going to wait to be written about post-humously. "Writers had documented great masters of European art as well as our own Aina Onabolu, Ben Enwonwu and others. If we the present generation are not proactive, we may never be well documented."

Indeed, Edozie represents the restlessness of young and "fifth" generation of Nigerian artists who are currently eager to have a strong signatures on the country's art landscape. The restlessness perhaps made Edozie to pit his tent under the membership of Guild of Professional Fine Artists of Nigeria (GFA).  He was among the 20 new inductees that joined the guild few months ago. What exactly in GFA that attracted Edozie? "I believe that GFA is the true professional group for artists in Nigeria, where you see artists who live solely on creating art." He argued that it's only under such a professional group that "artists can reach their peak." For example, his interest in promoting Nigerian art abroad seems to have found the right environment in GFA. "Through GFA, Nigerian art has been promoted abroad more, in recent times," he noted and cited the group's Special Section at Bonhams London auction  last year as well as a major art exhibition Transcending Boundaries, also in the U.K.

While the full-time studio practice criteria for membership of GFA is the attraction for Edozie, the critics of the group demand more widening to accommodate other artists. Edozie countered such argument. "Being formally trained is not enough to qualify anyone as artist: you should live by the brush."

Back to his focus on pushing Nigerian art to the global space, Edozie disclosed that a solo art exhbition of his has been sheduled to hold at Museum of Contemporary Art (MoCA), Miami, U.S,  from December 5, 2014 till February, 2015. And quite curious that among the 26 works being prepared for MoCA on the afernoon of the visit to his studio, there were fabric sculptures. Edozie who has been known strictly as a painter through his nearly 19 years career, appeared to be expanding his practice into the realm of sculpture.  

Late last year, his venture into sculpture was first exhibited in a solo Afro Love, an exhibition of 18 paintings at Alexis Galleries. Over a year earlier, he had "experimented with the fabric sculpture on a comission job for Lagos Business School," he disclosed. Then, it was just the initials L B S as logo at the reception of the institute, in Victoria Island, he recalled. It was actually all he needed as the responses spurred him on. "I have actually been quietly working on fabric sculpture long before the LBS job. But the response from admirers encouraged me to further. And for the Miami show, "I am hoping to show some sculptures as well, about 10 to 12, possibly."

Activism and art promotion of Edozie perhaps started when he was one of the co-founders of Artzero, a group of artists whose focus is on promoting art appreciation at the grassroots.
Early this year, Edozie and another group of artists whose focus was international art market also announced entry with a show, Serendipity, held at Alexis Gallery. Victoria Island, Lagoos. Gerald Chukwuma, Jefferson Jonah, Dominique Zinkpe, Tolu Aliki, Nyemike Onwuka joined Edozie

For Azeez at 50, basic art knowledge wins transformational agenda debate

By Tajudeen Sowole
It was a celebration of art and academic activism recently when friends, admirers and colleagues of artist, Dr Ademola Azeez converged during one of the events scheduled for his 50th birthday.

Dr Ademola Azeez
Organised by Culture and Creative Art Forum (CCAF) at the Science Complex Hall, Federal College of Education (Technical), (FCET) Akoka, Lagos, it was a celebration via symposium themed Art Education and the Imperatives of Transformational Development in Nigeria.  
  Sub-consciously the theme, perhaps, added to the recent and common usage of "transformational" by a section of Nigerian social and political groups perceived to be loyal to president Goodluck Jonathan. But the seemingly political tone of the theme disappeared when the two guest speakers at the event, Dr. Rod Adoh Emi at the Department of Creative Arts, Tai Solarin University of Education, Ijagun, Ijebu-Ode, Ogun State and Dr. Kunle Adeyemi, Department of Graphics, School of Art and Design, Yaba College of Technology, Yaba Lagos delivered their lectures.

Chaired by prolific painter, Kolade Oshinowo the gathering stressed Azeez’s passion for the role of creativity in national development. Azeez, who is the Chief Lecturer at FCET, Akoka, is also a founding Secretary of CCAF. Shortly before the lectures, Dr. Kunle Filani, the President of the CCAF reminded the gathering that the group has "honoured seven people in the arts and culture sector." Stressing the activist in Azeez, Filani described the celebrant as a one-man rioter "who could go to any length to confront tough situations." For Azeez's status in the art and culture space of Nigeria, marking his 50th birthday could have been more elaborate, Filani argued. "Azeez has passion that translates into efficiency." But the celebrant, according to Filani, "wanted a low-key event as a mark of respect for the death of his friend, Bamidele Aturu." A civil right lawyer, Aturu passed away in July, 2014.

Adoh Emi started his presentation noting that art "is a generic term" as well as a "process." He traced the transformational agenda of the federal government to a 2009 gathering of world leaders where developing countries were the focus. He argued that art, in Nigeria, has proven that it can create wealth through employment opportunity. Adoh Emi however highlighted areas of impediment such as weak "basic art education" at the rudiment as well as higher educational levels. He therefore recommended that art education is as essential as English and Mathematics.
 Adeyemi’s presentation agreed with Adoh Emi: "art education is key to transformation." He stressed that art education enhances development "across the board irrespective of profession." But the teacher as a fountain in basic art knowledge, Adeyemi argued, is too crucial. "The art teacher is a catalyst in the development of any nation."

A section of the audience responded to the two  guest lecturers by blaming lack of updating schools’ curriculum as well as review of the academic structure for the decline in art education.
 Reflecting on his 50th, birthday, Azeez, during a separate chat briefly revisited his sojourn as artist and art educationist. "I thank God for everything; coming this far as an artist.". Azeex's professional stride, particularly in the area of insisting that things should be done right within the academic environment may not be exactly clear to those outside the ivory tower. But within the mainstream art space, he has proven to be a fighter against mal-administration and poor management of artists' affair. For example, he had, severally, confronted the leadership of the National Gallery of Art (NGA) and Society of Nigerian Artists (SNA) on issues about development of art in Nigeria.

Azeez and his family shortly after the Symposium
And beyond 50 years, activism for Azeez may take another form, perhaps heeding to the Yoruba warning that 'ti a ba nd’agba, a nye ogun ja' (as man crosses into elders' age, jaw-jaw takes over from war-war.) “There is still so much to be done in the coming years and decades, In Sha Allah," Azeez assured. But the medium and focus, he disclosed, will change. "I hope to engage my subjects through more of seminar, workshops and symposium." 
 Shortly before Kehinde Adepegba read a citation of the celebrant, a representative of the college, Dr Jumoke Ekioluwa, Deputy Provost, FCET, Akoka described Azeez as "a highly cerebral person."

Within the academia, Azeez has been stressing his passion for a broadened art school system that complies with contemporary challenges. For example, three years ago, he led a conference themed Energy, Information Technology and Vocational Education, which was organised within the FCET. Quite a gathering, it was the sixth Biennale International Conference of the school. Presentations that enriched the conference included that of  Frank Ugiomoh's Towards an ICT Driven Vocational Entrepreneurial Education and the Challenges of Vocational Education in Nigeria. Other sub themes included: Culture And Creativity In A Dynamic Nation; Employment Opportunities Through Fine And Applied Arts Education; Energy In Creativity, Style And Fashion; ICT And Pedagogy In Vocational – Technical Education; Governance, Power Sector And Future Of Vocational Education In Nigeria; ICT And Food Security; and Information Tech., Employment Opportunities Through Home Economics Education.

Azeez holds a Bachelor Degree in Visual Arts, Master degrees in Educational Administration, Master degree in Visual Arts History, and Ph.D in Visual Arts History.

Artivate...Breeding future masters, dynamic leaders

When artist and teacher, Kunle Adewwale's Tender Arts Nigeria in conjunction with Silverbird Galleria gave 12 young adults and children an opportunity of creative self-expression, the prospect of strong art appreciation in the future was alive.

It was a seven-days summer art workshop tagged Artivate, which culminated into a group art exhibition of works by the participants at Silverbird Galleria, Victoria Island, Lagos. The gathering was a summer art school program aimed at engaging young minds from the age of 6-19.
Beauty in the Eye, a mixed media by Ayomikun Omoyiola

The Creative Director of Tender Arts Nigeria Adewale who led about ten other facilitators during the workshop said over 60 works produced in paintings and mixed media were on display during the exhibition. Adetola Adenuga, Stephen Korede, Mopelola Oguntuase, Anochie Ogochukwu, Anochie Joy and Folashade Ibrahim were among the facilitators.

To stress the high standard of Artivate workshop, the participants, among others, are young artists who have won top prizes at various national art competitions. The young masters include Ayomikun Omoyiola (11 years old) Peace Ambassador and the winner of Nigeria Centenary Painting Contest 2014, Junior Category; Oyinkansola Adesewa  (12 years old), the Winner of National Gallery of Arts Competition 2013 edition, Junior Category; and Nelly Erubasa, the winner of God’s Children Got Talent Junior Category.

Viewed via reproduced soft copy images, the works cut across mixed media, paintings, collage, ink blot, with materials such as  fabrics, strawboard, cardboard poster colour, vet pen and printing Ink. And the themes range from beauty to nature, family and environment as well as culture and education.

In a post-event statement, Adewwale recalled that over the years the workshop have been enjoying the supports of masters and others in the arts and culture sectors. Some of the guest artists that had supported the workshop, according to the Creative Director are Dr Bruce Onabrakpeya, Dr.Kunle Filani, Dr.Kunle Adeyemi, Miss Ndidi Dike, Jelili Atiku, Prof Peju Layiwola, Chief Nathaniel Adebowale, Tade Ipadeola, Jumoke Verrisimo, Ropo Ewenla, Damilola Ajayi, Iquo Abasi and Rasheed Amodu.

On the mission of Tender Arts Nigeria, Adewale noted that art is an essential skill for children. "It has proven to be an excellent way to enhance a child’s early development. Tender Arts promotes all-rounded development for children and teenagers." Listed as areas of disciplines are Reflective thinking and perceptiveness, Eye-hand coordination, Self-confidence and self esteem, Self-motivation, Problem-solving skills and flexibility, Cooperation and team work, appreciation of nature and things around us, and positive attitude towards life.

  Among he goal of the workshop are "to reach out to the communities and bring hope to Nigeria and African child/youth, put smile on the faces of children, showcase the hidden talents of the Nigerian child via artistic expression,  discourage vices among Nigeria children/Youths,  create an aspiration for the participants to lead an inspiring life, inspire  economic empowerment and encourage entrepreneurship among the   participants,  create more awareness for art appreciation and education and develop as well as build life skills through visual arts.”

  Over a period of ten years, Tender Art, according its bio  has been invited to the Voice of Nigeria (VON) early 2013 to speak on art platform;  last year July received a Federal Government Peace Award through an art work done by Omoyiola of Queensland Academy, Okota, Lagos; and also did an art presentation at the grand finale of the Nigeria Centenary in Abuja, where one of Tender Arts Nigeria art protégée,  Omoyiola did a painting for President Goodluck Jonathan.

Sunday, 7 September 2014

For festival of art, music, Ofili goes royal ballet on canvas

Nigerian-British artist, Chris Ofili’s art goes Royal Ballet, using dancers as living canvases at a month long show Deloitte Ignite 2014, which features dance, visual arts, film, music and movement.
Chris Ofili's art fusion with Royal ballet
The yearly Deloitte Ignite, a contemporary arts festival holding at the Royal Opera House, U.K is curated by The Royal Ballet and The National Gallery’s Minna Moore Ede.
According to the organisers, the month-long “festival celebrates and explores the origin of myth and creation,” focusing myths: such as “Prometheus, the Titan who creates man from clay and steals fire from the Gods, and Leda and the Swan, the mysterious conjunction of a mortal woman and the god Zeus, disguised as a swan."