The festival as usual attracted art lovers and culture enthusiast to the Freedom Park which is fast becoming the central hub for art, music and relaxation for Lagosians. The final celebration was the Lagos Carnival-a vibrant and colourful festival which showcases the creativity of Lagosians.
Beyond the celebration, a lot of young and creative people made a great impression through face decoration, photography and also made some cool cash from the guests whose faces were adorned with different creative designs to get them ready for the festival.
Biodun Omolayo Art Gallery in its commitment to the promotion of Visual Arts, exhibited the works of Jonathan Kwegyir Aggrey in a two weeks exhibition titled African Essence. It is not uncommon to hear the cliché; the artist is a mirror of the society but the truth is that, that’s exactly what it is. The Artist cannot but be influenced by the environment which plays host to him or her and give reign to creative imaginations. According to Jonathan, it has never being a challenge sourcing for subjects to work on. In his Artist statement, he explained how he gets his subjects. “Finding subjects is not difficult for me; most times the subjects seem to find me. Observing, walking, sketching, taking photographs all these offer creative opportunities. Wherever I am, I inspire myself to capture and transform that environment into my artistic vision. This allows me to entertain my viewers in various ways”
The works of Jonathan; all water colour, buttressed the whole point about the artist being a mirror of the society. In an interview with him during the exhibition, he explained the huge influence that came to play from his community while preparing for the exhibitions. He said he lives in a community where fishing is the major trade. This further explained the reason why the domineering theme in his exhibited works reflected water and the lifestyles of the people living around the community. Could this also be the reason why he chose watercolour as a medium of expression against acrylics which sets his foundation in painting? Just teasing, I must however say, I find a kind of correlation and rhyme between the use of Watercolour to express themes associated with water. Anyway, that’s something to think about in your own time. I must however commend Jonathan for choosing this medium. The dexterity and mastery expressed by this artist in the manipulation of a difficult medium like the watercolour which also shares similarities with the acrylic cannot be contested in anyway. His brush strokes and choice of colours gave life to his expression and brought to life, the mood and true feel of a rural community surrounded by water. This is the Artist’s first time of being in Nigeria to exhibit his works.
We must commend Biodun Omolayo, the brain behind the Biodun Omolayo Gallery for taking this giant stride in exhibiting the works of Jonathan Kwegyir Aggrey; a young but vibrant Ghanaian watercolour artist. This according to Biodun is in line with the vision of the gallery to provide a platform for young talented artists in Nigeria and Africa to showcase their works and be known. This is the first time the gallery is going beyond the shores of Nigeria to bring in a foreign Artist to exhibit at the gallery.
The African Artists’ Foundation recently concluded its Arts Salon tagged We Are Love which was opened on Saturday the 8th of February marking the first Arts Salon for the year 2014 by AAF. The exhibition brought together 9 Nigerian Artists: Tyna Adebowale Tolu Aliki, Ike Gerald Chiemieze, George Edozie, Obinna Makata, Yomi Momoh, Obi Nwokedi, Chike Obeagu, Uche Uzorka with different styles and techniques but unified by a common team and medium of expression-visual art. The artists reflected the society in their different style as they give their different artistic interpretations to the team of the Salon- “We Are Love”.
I had the opportunity of meeting and chatting with Tyna Adebowale; the only female Artist whose works featured in the exhibition. Her works just like most artists were informed by the happenings in our society; they are social commentaries expressed in Pidgin English. She used such illustrations as Chop Clean Mouth, Who Be Your Papa? Govt in Our Bedrooms. The exhibition attracted artists, art lovers and collector.
The year 2014 started on a vibrant note for the Artists and art lovers. It was ushered in by a multimedia exhibition at the Goethe Institute. The Goethe Institute is known for its total commitment to the promotion of Arts and Culture and cross-cultural integration.
The exhibition titled “Post-Oil City’ is as much about the future as it is about the past. As indicated by the exhibition’s subtitle – ‘The History of the City’s Future’ – every vision of the future is based on a vision of the past”. The exhibition focused on environment and how the changes experienced from time to time triggered innovations and new architectural designs. The exhibition was a fusion of photography, documentary and animation. This technique created authenticity and uniqueness for the exhibition and also took the audience on a great journey to the different countries that were explored in the context of this project. Audience had opportunity to reflect on the past and also project into the future. http://cms.ifa.de/en/exhibitions/exhibitions-abroad/architecture/post-oil-city/
My culture exploration here in Hyderabad, India took me to CHARMINAR; one of the major monuments and tourist attractions in Hyderabad. The Charminar Mosque is among one of the most recognised structures in India which attracts tourist globally. It was built in 1591.
Paying a visit to this mosque, i was distracted by something else; I took a special interest in watching other visitors as they capture every bit of their experiences with their mobile phones. The truth is that, you cannot but be overwhelmed with what you see; the details in the architectural design and the aesthetics. If you are not a photographer or there with a camera, your mobile phone automatically becomes handy as you may want to capture, document and share this experience on Facebook with friends, families and let them know Waz-Up.
From Chaminar, I bring you this report on what I call PHONETOGRAPHY
The word phone-tography was coined out of PHONE AND PHOTOGRAPHY. I am sure you know what this is all about; the act of taking photographs with mobile phones. You do that too, right? It’s one of the fastest way of documenting events at a short notice or when you are unprepared. Facebook has made this tradition more popular with most people trying to document and post pictures of everything that happens in their daily lives for friends to see and make comments. Going to a new restaurant, meeting a new boyfriend, travelling, dancing, singing, drinking, wedding….the list of images that can be shared on Facebook is endless, depending on the mood of the individual. I remember recently seeing a picture of a friend crying on Facebook and under it was few words in memory of her late dad. She took this shot herself with her mobile phone and immediately posted it on Facebook for friends and families to be a part of this emotional pain. This is how far people can go with the mobile phone.
What a great innovation Technology has brought to our lives. I am sure you do that too and at several occasions, you must have said to yourself, “what is the need for a photographer when you are able to take good shots with your mobile machine which also serve other purposes: phone calls, chat, email, whatsapp, bb, data base for all your contacts?”
Are you a PHONETOGRAPHER ? What do you document with your mobile phones or camera? How skilled are you in PHONE-TOGRAPHY? Do you think you still need the services of a photographer? Share your views on PHONE-TOGRAPHY and why you think we still need the services of a PHOTOGRAPHER. I will appreciate contributions from PHOTOGRAPHERS too.
I was at the World Music Day Celebration here in Hyderabad, India on the 21st of June 2013 and it was quite interesting.
The 21st of June of every year which happens to be the first day of summer and the longest day of the year with the sun setting after 10pm in France is a very special day for musicians and music lovers worldwide; it is the Fete de la Musique or World Music Day. The first Fete de la Musique celebration was in Paris in 1982. The event after its launch in Paris in 1982 has become popular in other countries like India and Nigeria through the support of the Alliance France. I have attended about three different episodes of this event in Nigeria and it was graced by great Nigerian Musicians like Femi Anikulapo-Kuti (the son of the Late Afro-Music Legendary FELA), Lagbaja (the masked Musician) Dede Mabiaku, Yinka Davies and some upcoming musicians.
Here in Hyderabad, India, the event coincides with the monsoon; a period characterized by torrential rain. It attracted 40 local talents comprising of amateurs and professional musicians and created a common platform for them to perform on the same stage and entertain the audience. As for the audience, the event was a great opportunity to escape from the busy roads of Hyderabad to a more serene environment to relax their brains and watch live performance of different genre of music at no cost: Carnatic, Rock, Gospel and Hindi songs. This wonderful event was put together by the Alliance France, Goethe Institut, Taj and Hyderabad Music Foundation.
Trust you had a wonderful Easter Holiday Celebration? For me and for most Lagos residents popularly known as LAGOSIANS, I am sure the Easter was not a boring one at all, considering the fact that, it falls within the Celebration of the Lagos Heritage Festival week which is an annual event to promote the rich Yoruba Cultural Heritage and attract visitors to the State of Excellence; Lagos State.
The festival has become a brand in its own right; the uniqueness of this festival as compared to other festivals held in Nigeria is the fusion and point of convergence it creates for different genres of Arts through the different activities and events that makes up the total package: Drama, Dance, Painting, Music, Exhibition, Symposium, Carnival, Film show, Boat Regatta, Talent Hunt, Beauty Pageant and Masquerade Parade. The events cuts across every class and cadre of the society: Children, Teenagers, Adults, Academics, Entrepreneurs, Musicians, Actors, Christian, Muslim and Traditionalist.
This year’s event did not fall short of expectations; it was full of excitement for Lagosian and their guest who were on vacation for the Easter Holiday. The children’s Art exhibition was quite impressive; it was a great opportunity for them to exhibit their innate talents and creative prowess. The Afro-Brazilian Food was also interesting; this reflects the intertwining cultural relationship between the people of Lagos and Brazil.
The Boat Regatta was quite colorful; it was an opportunity for Lagosians and other residents from the riverine area like the Ijaw Youths to showcase their rich culture and be a part of this great celebration. The Badagry Day was graced by the popular traditional Sato dancers, the Gelede Dancers and the performance of the play Oshodi Tapa. Other performers that were featured in the festival were the Ondo, Oyo, Ogun and Ekiti performers.
The Grand finale of the Festival was the Lagos Street Carnival which was a very colorful event. “I am sure you didn’t miss that”. The Carnival had representatives from different Local government areas in Lagos. It was a very rich and colorful event which also exhibited the creativity abounds in the youths of these different local government areas and communities. The costumes exhibited at this year’s carnival were highly creative; the costumes added style, glamour and aesthetics to the entire event. In the spirit of Globalisation, we also had representatives from Zimbabwe as participants at the carnival, though few, their parade in their unique attires and flag goes a long way to lay credence to the essence of the carnival and the fact that carnival is a great way to promote Globalisation. Karikoga Kasese (CEO. Zimbabwe Tourism) in an interview on STV commended the efforts put into the realization of the entire festival and said the Zimbabwe Government is willing to take a cue from this remarkable experience to initiate a festival of this nature as a strategy for promoting peace, tourism and economic development.
What more can I say to justify the success of the festival or the efficacy of Festivals in promoting globalisation and economic development? For those who could not make the festival this year, I have tried in my little way to take you through the experience and appeal to your sense of imagination through the write-up and pictures I took during the events. I hope you find the pictures interesting.
How did you spend your Easter holiday? Did you also add a feel of culture and tourism? Why don’t you share your experience on this platform? I look forward to your contributions, comments and Easter experience. Next year will be another great opportunity to experience Easter in Lagos, Nigeria and I am sure you won’t want to miss it.
Till I hear from you then, I say “EKO ONI BAAJE O”
…Arts, Culture, Tourism, Development and Globalisation