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Echoes of Makoko in Dear Nigeria, Dear Friends

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Exhibition of recent works by leading contemporary Nigerian artists, Fidelis Odogwu, George Edozie, Alex Nwokolo, Gerry Nnubia, Francis Uduh and Abraham Uyovbisere, opened at Omenka Gallery, Ikoyi Lagos, penultimate Saturday.

The show is organised by the Literacy Integration and Formal Education (LIFE) Foundation in collaboration with Alliance Française, and titled Dear Nigeria, Dear Friends, to raise fund for LIFE Foundation’s literacy projects in Makoko, the economically disadvantaged community on the lagoon beside Yaba, Lagos. It features a diversity of Nigerian art.

Founder and president of the LIFE Foundation, Elvira Salleras, notes that in the last two years, with the invaluable support of sponsors and volunteers, they have executed various projects in that community, including rebuilding a primary school, facilitating 2 medical missions, organising seasonal parties, equipping a school library and distributing books, teaching aids and 1,000 pairs of sandals to school children.

 

“The needs of the school-aged children of Makoko community are enormous but I am confident that hope will remain alive and significant progress achieved if we all join hands in support,” she said.

Speaking on Nigeria’s rich cultural heritage and the reason for collaborating, Charles Courdent, director of Alliance Française Lagos remarks, “Music, dance, fashion, but also sculpture and painting are ubiquitous in Nigerian cultural universe… We sincerely thank LIFE for bringing this wonderful project alive: they do a fabulous work to give hope to children, by giving shining colours to a dark world!”

Odogwu’s broad oeuvre embraces naturalism and the abstract expressionism of classical African sculpture, known for its geometric and architectonic volumes.

“His success owes much to his ability to balance spatial and sculptural relationships; the beauty of the geometric elements and evocations of natural form, becoming versatile tools for exploring the formal and metaphorical associations connected with African lore and contemporary politics,” the Director of Omenka Gallery, Oliver Enwonwu stated.

Edozie, well known for his mixed media, life-size contemporary sculptures and paintings on canvas, made from the application of oil on cloth and carved with a knife, studied fine and applied arts at the University of Benin where he majored in painting (1996). He has held five solo exhibitions and participated in 109 group exhibitions in Nigeria and abroad. His last solo exhibition ‘Shifting the Paradigm’ hosted by the Museum of Contemporary Art North Miami Florida, was listed among the four best exhibitions at Art Basel Miami (2014). Edozie’s work is reminiscent of the Fauvists and Post-impressionist painters like Cézanne, Matisse, Gauguin and Van Gogh.

As an artist, Nwokolo adopts an instinctive and methodological system of expression to examine mainly, the technique of creative colouring. His canvases are laced with textural qualities, the paint, applied boldly as a thick impasto, which, worked by deft strokes of the palette knife, accumulates weight as it builds, in repeated planes, into a thick carpet of light and shade. Often incorporating ordinary discarded materials, his recent works explore the urban Nigerian space, environmental sustainability and politics.

Nnubia is, largely, an experimental artist whose technique involves the skillful manipulation of his medium to a liquid viscous flow often assimilating accidental occurrences and temperature adjustments, depending on the effect sought. “Here, the artist offers critical possibilities for painting, and explores the tensions between form and formlessness vital to the tenets of modernism. His recent canvases however, engage the beauty of nature and deep experiences like family and togetherness.”

Uduh works broadly in two styles: a calm academic realism and a more expressive one that draws from the geometric forms of traditional African art. Employing bronze, fibreglass and majorly wood, his deliberate exaggeration of the limbs and torsos of his figures to achieve rhythm and fluidity are vaguely reminiscent of the work of celebrated artist, Ben Enwonwu.

Well known for his studies of the female form, and paintings of the durbar, Uyovbisere’s works can be found in several significant collections in Nigeria and abroad. Typical of his work, is the application of paint in rhythmic manner, clearly defining a highly individual expression. He is also a member of the Society of Nigerian Artists (SNA) and is well exhibited in Nigeria, Europe and the United States.

Individually, Uyovbisere’s works are strong and offer “a deeper understanding of the artists’ techniques and working methods. Though offering a broad range of styles and media, the artists are united in their support for the economically disadvantaged Makoko community.

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Arts & Entertainments

Footprints of David Art Academy inaugurates cottage theatre

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The official opening of a Seaside Cottage Theatre, an educational and arts intervention for lessprivileged children living in the coastal area of Bariga, Lagos, by the Footprints of David Art Academy, was no doubt a significant effort at repositioning live theatre in Lagos State. It also brought to the fore, the array of talents that abound in Bariga, in various areas of the performing art.

It was indeed, a bold attempt at promoting not only children theatre but also at stimulating interest in art as well as repositioning Bariga, as a major art community in Lagos. Lauding the initiative, Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, who attended the inauguration of the ‘Seaside Cottage Theatre alongside his wife, said: “It’s not what government can do for theatre, it’s to realise what theatre does for its own existence.”

He described the efforts of the founder of Footprints of David Art Academy, Seun Awobajo, as a “brave, courageous and committed attempt to do something for the community through theatre.” Also in attendance at the event, which was moderated by the Chairman, National Association of Nigerian Theatre Arts Practitioners (NANTAP), Lagos State chapter, Mr. Makinde Adeniran, include accomplished artiste and poet, Mrs. Francesca Emanuel, chairman of Bariga Local Council Development Au-thority (LCDA), Hon. Kolade Alabi, as well as traditional chiefs in Bariga. Also speaking, Emmanuel, urged the audience to support the Footprints of David.

She said: “I felt that I had to support whatever Seun is doing. And the children themselves have really won my heart and I find that I come here, I stay with them, and we talk. When they’re rehearsing, I come, I rehearse with them and I’m glad that these children are progressing day by day. “For years, I’ve been coming to their annual festival where the children would perform (for) a whole week covering so many programmes involving all the children in Bariga.”

On his part, Alabi, in his address, talked about regenerating Bariga, saying Awobajo would be involved in it. “Without me hunting for that talent, Seun came and he is one of the talents that we’re going to make use of,” he said.

Alabi promised to fund salaries for teachers who teach at the centre. Earlier, Awobajo, a writer, theatre director and music composer called for support for the project, noting that aside being a school during the week, the Cottage Theatre doubles as training grounds for the arts on weekends.

He disclosed that the school was started on December 30, 2005 with 14 teachers. However, due to inability to pay the teachers regularly, only three of the teachers remained.

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Arts & Entertainments

Marriage will soon become unfashionable—-Charlyboy

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Charly Boy

Maverick showbiz maestro and activist,Charles Oputa,aka Charlyboy, says marriage union will soon become unfashionable alleging that most men were not prepared for commitment and responsibilities.

The ‘Areafada’, as he is popularly called by fans, stated this on Friday on his Instagram handle: areafada1, while reacting to the social media frenzy on Celebrity blogger, Linda Ikeji’s pregnancy.

He wrote: “Marriage very soon will no longer be fashionable, because most people can’t cope.

“Most young men are just looking for someone to pay their bills,as most good men are already taken.

“A woman desire a very strong man who can take charge and take care.

“Linda has been burnt so many times by useless wayo men parading themselves as prospective husbands.”

Charlyboy had earlier hailed the 37 year old famous spinster, saying she did well for deciding to carry a child even without marriage, as “marriage was not for everyone.”

His position however, attracted mixed reactions with a lot of his followers saying that he was encouraging single motherhood in contrast to his daughters who are married.

Charlyboy, in the post, explained that he supports marriage as he has remained married for almost four decades.

He however noted that being a single mother was better than an abusive marriage.

“I have managed to survive almost 40 years with the same woman, and it is not a tea cup.

“Marriage can only work for two people who understand that it requires a lot of discipline and hard work.

“One of my daughters has been a single mother after leaving a very abusive marriage, and she is the best Mum I know, and doing well for herself.

“It takes two to tango, so people should leave Linda alone and face their lives,” he added

(NAN)

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Arts & Entertainments

Unusual Empire: #BBNaija’s Alex launches YouTube Channel

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Alex Asogwa, 3rd Runner-up BBNaija `Double Wahala’’ known for her dancing and writing skills, has launched her YouTube channel “Alex Unusual Empire.’’

Alex, 22, who is determined to keep her fans entertained, has also released a teaser on the channel.

In the video, the ex-housemate and Television personality preaches positivity., saying: “Peace and positivity is my priority”

“It is okay to be different… The sun is alone and it still shines. I stand for what I beleive. Life is a journey and I choose not to rush mine.”

“Everyone is special. The world has a lot of people but there is something unique about every single person.

“I accept Alexandra Asogwa especially because she is unusual. There can never be another me.”

`I’m building a house where the floor is made of strength, the walls crafted of ambition, the roof, a masterpiece of forgiveness.

“I am building Alex Unusual Empire.” (NAN)

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