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Power Show: Akinwande’s solo exhibition opens

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Power Show, a solo exhibition of multimedia works by Ayo Akinwande, a trained architect, photographer and artist, opens this Saturday in Lagos.

Curated by Erin M. Rice, the exhibition, which runs till the February 21st, 2018 at Omenka Gallery, Ikoyi, is the third solo show by Akinwande. Power Show examines the nuances of the word “power,” in the context of Nigeria where electrical power cuts are a daily occurrence and fuel shortages are common even as the nation is rich in oil. Inspired by Fela Anikulapo Kuti’s song of the same title, the show also “examines power in the sense of authority and its corruptibility, especially where these multiple forms of power overlap.

The irony is not lost on anyone living in Nigeria without power amidst the humming of generators that the nation is the largest producer of oil in Africa.

It may seem even redundant to address an issue so entrenched in daily life in the context of art, but for Akinwande the issue is precisely this entrenchment and the complacency that comes when having no power or waiting in long lines for fuel is so commonplace that it is no longer a source of anger.

 

Rather when the power comes back on it becomes a moment to praise ‘NEPA’, the nation’s energy provider. Significantly, Akinwande seeks to channel both the frustration and the ordinariness of this situation.

The works presented in Power Show span multiple media and subjects to use the familiarity of found objects, such as the blue generator tanks and the NEPA bill, to expose the ways that a lack of (electrical or gas) power and powerlessness go hand in hand.

 

Works such as The Shrine evoke the way that power outages have become so entrenched in life in the city of Lagos and Nigeria at large, that recent architecture factors the presence and constant humming of generators into its design.

 

As the rich find ways to cope with generators and inverters that they have the financial resources to keep running continually, the work serves as a reminder that when the lights go out it is most detrimental to Nigerians who are already vulnerable, who may use chains and cages and other means to protect their source of energy, creating, in effect, a shrine. Power Show represents a pivotal turn in the early career of Akinwande and the fruits of an intensively experimental and creative 18 months.

In mid-2016, Akinwande made the decision to branch out from the medium of photography in which he was working exclusively at the time.

This decision came as a result of his participation in the Centre for Contemporary Art, Lagos’ residency program titled Asiko, which took place in June- July 2016 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

 

Encouraged by Asiko faculty to push the concept of the ‘Fuel Scarcity’ photographic series in a new material direction, Akinwande returned to Lagos with new ideas, and the motivation to experiment in forms from performance, installation, and sound.

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Arts & Entertainments

Values, morality as panacea for unity, development

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Title: Music of the Muezzin
Author: R. Adebayo Lawal
Publisher: Kraftgriots
Year of Publication: 2014
Pages: 60
Reviewer: Mahfouz A. Adedimeji

 

Against the sorry state of our world that has lost its moorings, resulting in the Hobbesian conception of life as being “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short,” Adebayo Lawal in his second collection of poems, Music of the Muezzin, offers us a way out of the miasma. Through a blending of soulful sounds, delicious lines of pure poetry that offer us sense from the pervading nonsense beclouding our global horizons, the poet draws our attention to the need to uphold morality and promote character in our lives.

 

Basically, Music of the Muezzin is a collection of 38 poems divided into six unequal parts: “Pro-Song: Symphony of the Lonesome Lark”, “Invocation: the Cock’s Mystical Music,” “Smiles of Sorrow,” “Exhortation: Cryptic Clauses of Counsel”, “The Snail’s Courage” and “Epi-Songs: True Time is but Timelessness”. As common to most works of poetry, the themes are as diverse as the poems artistically woven in the compelling collection, but one thesis that reverberates across the work is the need for values and morality in our society. This the author does by distilling messages that tantalize or religious, moral, cultural and ethical sensibilities.

 

The first poem in the collection is the “eponymous” poem (i.e. the poem that gives the collection its title) where the poet explains the impact of the muezzin’s call to prayer on him. The rationale for putting the poem first is most likely informed by the fact that when a baby is born in Islam, the first thing he hears is the adhan or call to prayer. We then have the poet’s interpretation of the magnificence of His Creator, Whose majesty he celebrates in “The paradox of your presence” (p.12).

 

However, the first two parts are not about Islam and faith alone. There is a striking poem, “Lines for a don”, dedicated to his teacher, Prof. David William, with which the poet decries the decline in the academics, which is of interest to every lecturer or don. In his usual inter-lock of sense with sound, a major stylistic feature of the collection, our poet takes a swipe at academic shoddiness and intellectual laziness, a cankerworm that seems to have seeped, or sneaked like a thief in the night, into our ivory towers. The sense is compelling in describing various types of dons in lovely lines and repetitive sonority before upholding the standard as symbolised by the teacher: “There are dunces / And there are dons. / Dons by distinction, / Dons by connection / Dons by compassion / Dons by constipation. / The mafia don, / Done by cruel connection, / Is the Don Juan / Thriving on a code of terror.” … (p.20)

 

There are interesting poems in Part Three, which begins with “The multinational tycoon’s theory”, a witty and humorless poem that ascribes the black man’s tragedy to the accident of creation. He lampoons the archetypal politician in our era of politics without principle describing him in powerful imagery using the bat metaphor: “Bird by day/ Rat by night/ The bat vies with the vulture/ And races with the rodent.” (p.25).

In “Damsel of the ivory tower” (p.31) and “City damsel” (p.32), Lawal has urgent and pungent messages for the students who waste their present and future on illicit sexual adventures.

 

For the latter poem (i.e. “City damsel”) that exploits the computer imagery, the warning to men is that the city damsel is not more than a lovely laptop with a caveat: when you “insert a randy flash-drive / You end up with a vicious virus” (p.31).

 

The third part under consideration contains the longest poem in the collection, “Smiles of sorrow” (p.34), which drives home the need for character and morality in our society.

 

In Parts Four and Five, the author offers antidotes to our troubled and troubling times while canvassing the virtues of love (i.e. “True love”(p.38); “We are all one” (p.39)) reason (“Who are you? (p.40); “Rat race or human race? (p.41)), religious tolerance and righteousness (i.e. “The cannibals” (p.42), “The bubble shall burst” (p.48), “Blessed are they” (p.52)) and other poems of similar thematic concerns. There are also well-crafted poems in this section like “Ilorin” (p.45) which offers a food-for-thought that everyone would like to relish and “In the long run” (p.47) which gives poetic expression to the maxim, “Justice delayed is justice denied.”

 

Generally, this collection is “larger than its frame” in terms of the profundity of the timeless messages that make good sense for our troubled season in a world that is going amok. It is a call to action to eschew what is morally bad, religiously sinful and ethically repugnant in our day-to-day interactions.

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Literature

Sam Dede supports PHLS Poetry Slam

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The PHLS Poetry Slam has received a major boost from acclaimed and award-winning actor, Dr. Sam Dede, with the institution of the Sam Dede Prize for Best Spoken Word Artist.

 

Dede made the announcement in Port Harcourt when he spoke with the Resident Poet of the Port Harcourt Literary Society, Chijioke Amu-Nnadi. He commended the Society for energizing literature in Port Harcourt.

 

“What you guys are doing is quite remarkable and deserves the support of every well-meaning artist and sponsor of the arts,” Dede said.

 

The actor, whose inspiring performance in Isakaba earned him Africa’s top acting honours, stated that the Prize comes with cash and a plaque.

The Sam Dede Prize is in addition to the N100,000 already set aside by the Society for the winner of the PHLS Poetry Slam. Other prizes are N75,000 for first runner-up and N50,000 for the second runner-up. A fourth prize of N25,000 will go to the best Spoken Word poet from one of the secondary schools which have benefited from the Society’s monthly PHLS Literature for Teens programme.

 

The PHLS Poetry Slam, already described as Nigeria’s biggest Poetry Slam, will be judged by award-winning poets, Efe Paul Azino, Andrew Patience, Obii Ifejika and Graciano Enwerem.

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Literature

Bwl agency awarded best public relation in Western Africa at Sabre awards

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Agency, founded by 30-year-old Ronke BamIsedun have surfaced as winners of The Gold SABRE Award for Public Relations campaigns in
Western Africa and have been awarded two certificates of excellence in two categories.

They were also shortlisted alongside some of the largest brands and agencies in the world for The Platinum SABRE Award for Best in show, the highest category of the award.

BWL is a strategic brand development company composed of a team of young, hard-working, bold communication consultants who build brands and help them deliver compelling campaigns that cut through the noise. An exclusive affiliate of top global communications
agency GRAYLING.

Their unique disruptive campaign for Jameson Connects Nigeria secured them The Gold SABRE Awards and The Platinum SABRE Award shortlist, whilst the fun curiosity led FOLLOW THE SWIFT campaign for Martell Cognac earned them certificates of excellence in the practice area categories: Marketing to consumers (new product) and Food and beverage.

The SABRE (Superior Achievement in Branding, Reputation & Engagement) Awards is the world’s biggest Public Relations Awards Program, dedicated to benchmarking the best PR work from across the globe. The award ceremony took place on Thursday, May 10 th in Gaborone, Botswana. The gala dinner was part of the African Public Relations Association’s annual conference.

Present to receive the award and certificates of Excellence at the gala dinner, was Ronke Bamisedun Founder of BWL and a member of the elite 2018 class of Forbes 30 Most Promising Young Entrepreneurs in Africa under 30 says “We are ecstatic and humbled with our Gold SABRE Award and Excellence Certificates.

This amazing accomplishment has been a great positive reinforcement for my team and I, further emphasizing BWL as a company, albeit small, that can transcend borders, disciplines and compete with the largest PR firms in the world”.

BWL have also been shortlisted as finalists for the Upcoming SABRE EMEA, nominated for The Gold SABRE AWARD under the geographical category of Africa. The 2018 EMEA SABRE Awards shortlist was selected from over 2,500 global entries. The competition recognizes “Superior Achievement in Branding, Reputation and Engagement”.

The winner of this award will be announced on Saturday May 23 rd at the annual awards dinner in Amsterdam.

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