Sunset for Literary Giant, Chinua Achebe



Achebe

News of Professor Chinua Achebe’s death made the rounds yesterday in the electronic media. Aged 82, Achebe was reported to have passed away on Thursday March 21, at a hospital in Boston, Massachusetts, United States of America.

I-REP DOCU Film Feast Begins In Freedom Park, Lagos



 
Odugbemi

The 2013 edition of the i-Represent International Documentary Film Festival (aka iREP Docu Film Feast) will take place between March 21-24, at the Freedom Park, Broad Street, Lagos.
As is traditional with every edition, the generic theme for the iREP 2013 is Africa In Self Conversation, while the theme for the 2013 edition is Reconnections.

Over 30 popular and award winning documentaries sourced from notable and new filmmakers around Africa and its Diaspora, Europe and the USA, will be screened during the festival. The films all essentially treat themes that concern developments and realities around Africa and its peoples. Specifically, the films deal with issues of spirituality, religion, politics, culture, conflict, gender discrimination and affirmations, among others.

On the line-up for screening in the course of the festival is United States of Hoodoo by Oliver Hardt, which has been selected as the opening film for the festival tomorrow. Others include Orisha by notable Nigerian filmmaker, Kunle Afolayan; Ifa of the Yoruba People by renowned filmmaker, Tunde Kelani; Urban Prayers, by Sabrina Dittrus, Crackles of Our Times, by Sibylle Dahrendorf; Oranian by Tobias Lindern; Fatai Roling Dollars: A Legend Unplugged, by Femi Odugbemi. In addition, all the 10 finalists in the Afrinolly Short film Competition will be screened in a special section of the festival.

iREP International Documentary Film Festival, which in its three years has become the preeminent documentary film festival on the continent, will also play host to about 15 international filmmakers, especially from Germany, Southern Africa, USA and others.
Special Guests to the Festival include the actor, director, filmmaker and scholar of Africana Studies, Professor Awam Amkpa of the New York University, USA, who is a specialist on Africa and its Diasporas; and post colonialism. He is also the co-founder and executive director of the Real Life Documentary Film Festival, Accra, Ghana. He will deliver
the keynote of the festival on theme; Reconnections: Africa’s Post-colonial Journey to Identity.

COMMUNIQUE OF THE FIRST PLAYWRIGHTS CONFAB HELD IN OAU,ILE-IFE


 
INTRODUCTION

The first confab of Nigerian playwrights was held at the Obafemi Awolowo University(OAU), Ile-Ife from 8th-10th March, 2013 at the Conference Centre. The confab organized by the Institute of Cultural Studies in conjunction with the Department of Dramatic Arts of the University attracted over one hundred playwrights across generational and geographical divides.

The confab, an initiative of renowned playwright Femi Osofisan, had several themes necessary for an appraisal of the playwriting enterprise. These themes included but was not limited to the state of playwriting in the post-military era; the playwright’s experience in contemporary society; philosophy, ideology and culture in Nigerian and African playwriting; the quality of plays in our dramatic literature over the decades; the problems of having plays staged and published typically encountered by playwrights especially of the younger generation; inter-generational and intra-generational relations between Nigerian playwrights with special reference to the complexities of the influence of the “Masters”; and relations between playwriting for the stage, for films, for television and for publication as literature. 

OBSERVATIONS

The confab identified the crises and challenges confronting playwriting and playwrights such as crisis of relevance, crisis of visibility, crisis of fragmentation of community, and crisis of exhaustion; funding; language; censorship and tyranny in both the military and post-military eras; and the survival strategies of writers; the mass illiteracy and the absence of a vibrant reading culture in the Nigerian nation; and the problem of alienation of the masses due to their marginalization by the elites. The confab also discussed the question of who the playwright is writing for, the dearth of theatres in which to stage plays and the challenges posed to live theatre by various social media such as film, television and more importantly the viewing centres dedicated mostly foreign soccer leagues.

The confab also identified the problems of distraction occasioned by survival needs that lead to acceptance of appointments that reduce commitment to the creative enterprise; the phenomenon of too many self-published plays that are of low quality by younger playwrights in terms of both form and content as a result of lack of good editorial input. Another major problem identified at the confab was the decline in reading culture which, among other factors, can be traced to the removal of Literature in English as a compulsory requirement for Ordinary Level education.

A major point of contention at the confab was the imitation of masters by younger playwrights who borrow creative idioms without understanding their true essence thereby producing works that do not adequately or authentically reflect their contemporary realities.

Missing In Transit! (Fiction)


                                         Photo: essence.com
 

My best friend Idera turned 40 on Saturday, but the day passed by like any other day. All that she had planned for her 40th birthday five years ago was different from the reality on ground today. To mark her special 40th birthday, she had planned for an exquisite holiday with her husband and their three children. She planned to ‘spoil herself’ real well; after all, she runs a successful business with her husband.

But two years down the line, Idera’s big dream for a special 40th birthday took a twist. Early one morning she woke me up with her repeated phone calls and demanded to see me urgently. “Hope everybody is fine?” I asked. “We are alive, but all is not well with me. Just come over,” she replied hurriedly and ended the call.

I couldn’t place a tab on what the problem could be. I have not known Idera and her husband to be at each other’s throats, so a quarrel was out of the guess. I managed to bundle myself out of bed and arrived in her house as soon as I could. It was weekend and the family was still in bed, though her oldest child Ifreke opened the door for me. I barely responded to his greetings as I rushed to Idera’s bedroom.  

Some things in a super-mom’s World


                                                           Google Images.
Hilda had taken her last dose of injection and was struggling to explain to Otemu, her husband, what she could remember before she blanked- out and eventually woke up in hospital. ‘I was having some snaps of headache earlier, but I belie…’

Uli: A Symbol Of Forward To The Past

 

From the archives!

By Ambassador Robin Sanders

Ambassador Robin Sanders with Eziafo Okaro, Uli Woman painter in Ogidi, Anambra State.
                                                                              
                                                                                                         Photos: Krydz Ikwuemesi
While serving as American Ambassador to Nigeria, Robin Sanders loved the art of Uli (creative decorations done on different media) by Igbo women of South-eastern Nigeria. Sanders carried out research works on Uli, a form of non-verbal communication among the people. Her appreciation of Uli made her to attend several exhibitions and workshops on Uli. Below is her piece during one of such exhibitions.

CCA Presents Opara’s ‘Emissaries of An Iconic Religion’






                      ''Emissaries of an Iconic Religion'' installation view.  Photos: Jude Anogwih

Adolphus Opara’s ‘Emissaries of an Iconic Religion’ opened on March 11th at the Centre for Contemporary Art, Lagos (CCA,Lagos), and will run through to April 21, 2013. A first major solo exhibition in Nigeria by the Lagos-based photographer,  fifteen images from the twenty strong Emissaries series made between 2009–2011, offering a unique and visually compelling photographic portrayal of the custodians of indigenous religious beliefs are featured.

Bruce Obomeyoma Onobrakpeya: The Man, His Art And Love For Urhobo Culture


Onobrakpeya
 

For over half a century, Bruce Onobrakpeya , an octogenarian and a  master of contemporary arts in Africa, has remained bonded  in love with his paint and brush and his crusade for the advancement of the Urhobo culture.
 In his gallery are works of art dating over 50 years, among many latest works. His collections which are well documented and archived reflect the wealth of experience of a veteran artist who has made iconic statements worthy of note.

                                             Dance of the Golden Jubilee, by Onobrakpeya.2010.
Onobrakpeya’s contributions to art development remain remarkable through training programmes for young artists who come for Industrial attachment. His art platform for telling some of Africa’s history earned him the ‘Living Art Treasure’ award from the Federal Government of Nigeria in corporation with UNESCO, and conferment of the honorary award of MFR.

 In 2010, he received the ‘Creativity’ award as part of events marking Nigeria’s 50th Independence anniversary. Onobrakpeya felt highly honoured because 1999 was the last time that award was given to recognise Chinua Achebe.
Recognised as the foremost printmaker, Onobrakpeya concentrated on printmaking art between 1964 and 1967. He has used his works of art as medium for projecting and preserving his native Urhobo culture, which was once rumoured to be among minority group cultures in Africa likely to face extinction.
                                            Eghwere, mixed media installation, By Onobrakpeya

Nursing no fears about cultural extinction of the Urhobos particularly, Onobrakpeya believes that the philosophy of the Urhobos and those of other cultures he captures in his works would endure the ages to come, bearing in mind the publicity given the  annual ‘Harmattan Workshop’ that pools resources from around the world.
 To further strengthen the base for which he is making his mark in cultural affairs, Onobrakpeya delved into folklore which records the way of life of his people. He said, “ I realized that if people have been in existence for long, there must be some thinking and belief in them, some hope in them that keeps  them going. These are brought out and translated in various ways, in the names they give to their children and in their thought pattern.”
 Lately, he went into what is called the ‘ibiebe’ that is like letters , though  ‘ebe’ means leaves in Urhobo.  He developed some ideograms that captured the concept, the Urhobo thinking, as a way of conserving the culture of the Urhobo  people ,and  moved on to other  ethnic  groups. He said, “They are mainly oral, but I now give body to them through painting, drawing so that people can see them, and that keeps the concept alive and projected towards the future.”

Growing up, he was educated at different times in Ughelli, Sapele and Benin. Before going to the Nigerian College of Arts , Science and Technology in Zaria, he worked  briefly as a teacher. In school, he studied painting and got a special interest in printmaking which is an aspect of painting.

He recalled how the art workshops organized by a renowned artist helped to establish his guts in printmaking. “ During my last year in school, I would  usually come all the way to Ibadan to attend workshops by Uli Bier who brought resource persons from abroad to handle these workshops. There, I realized that printmaking was my calling which I should have done in college. I missed that out due to peer pressure.”

First Anambra Book and Creativity Festival: A Review



Eze Prof Chukwuemeka Ike
By Onuka Egbe

The First Anambra Book and Creativity Festival  held between the 21st and  24th  of  November 2012 in Awka. Organized by the Anambra Book and Creativity Network, a fledgling organization led by C. Krydz Ikwuemesi , polyvalent artist and lecturer at the University of  Nigeria whose organizational antecedents include the Pan-African Circle of Artists, the Art Republic, the Mmanwu Theatre in Enugu, the Igbo uli heritage preservation campaign, among other projects. 

Lagos Black Heritage Festival 2013: It’s a culture-tie with Brazil!

Prof Wole Soyinka, festival Chairman,  and  Mr Disu Holloway, Commissioner for Tourism, Lagos State

Mr Tunde Fasina, Chairman of the  festival Beauty Pageant
 

Lagos comes alive again in euphoria of its rich cultural festival between March 23 and April 1, 2013, mainly at the Freedom Park, Broad Street. In marking this year’s edition of the Lagos Black Heritage Festival themed ‘The black in the Mediterranean Blue,’ a tracking of the history of cultural interaction of the African continent with the nation of Brazil takes centre stage.

Speaking during a press conference held at the Freedom Pack, Lagos on Thursday March 7, chairman, festival organising committee, Professor Wole Soyinka used the medium to call for corporate sponsorship for the cultural festival. He said that: "This festival needs sponsorship from corporate bodies for it to be sustained, so much like what soccer enjoys." He re-iterated that the place of art and culture cannot be undermined in the development and sustenance of society; bearing in mind the engagement of a large number of people and  the constant reminder of  the shared history that stands as a chord of  unity.
                                                  Erelu Abiola Dosunmu, Festival Ambassador

Noting the significance of a vibrant African identity in Brazil as visibly embedded in their forms of traditional worship, performance modes, cuisine, language, attire and music, Prof Soyinka said that there will be a second part of the festival billed for October 1-10, 2013, to enable the Afro-Brazilian Diaspora participate in the festival which they consider as a fulfilment of their desire of a proper home-coming.

Giving a  lowdown of the event activities, Prof Soyinka stated that a session would be dedicated to Abdias do Nascimento,  an  Afro-Brazilian playwright and painter whose  works showcasing  his interaction with orisa , will take prominent positions in the exhibition galleries. Abdias’ rooted links with African culture comes from his years of exile in Ile-Ife, the Yoruba cradle of humanity.

Congratulations, Great Girls Of OLASS!

Nene, Shade and Evi
L-R; Nene, Evi and Damilola

   For these girls of Our Lady Of Apostles Secondary School (OLASS), YAba, Lagos, I say a big congratulations  for working hard to show your academic worth and making your parents proud.
I am grateful to God to be privileged to appreciate my daughter Evi and her friends for all the laurels they earned. These are indications of dedication to hard work on the part of the Nigerian girl-child.
To the school management, I say a big ‘thank you’ for choosing to recognise and reward hard-work.

Girls, always remember that purposeful study begets great success, so carry on with purpose!
                                                       L-R; Taiwo, Eunice, Mariam and Kehinde

For Women Around The World!



A piece of art by Gbenga Orimoloye, in appreciation of women in their economic pursuit

To every woman out there, I salute you! It feels great to be a woman, and one with a good  purpose for humanity. 

Beyond the news-makers who contribute their quota in governance and other recognised professional circles, I want to appreciate every woman who defies the wetness of the rainwater and the heat of the scotching sun selling her tomatoes and vegetables to ensure that her family is provided for and being available for her children.  

Paternity Swindle #3: How Come My Father Is Different?


 


                        Google Images.
 
I am the third of a family of five and have enjoyed being the only daughter for 24 years.  People have often said that I looked very much like my mother, but the only disturbing difference is that I am very light-skinned unlike my parents and my brothers.
That has not really given me a cause to worry because I may have taken after one aunt somewhere, even though none of my parent has mentioned so. We grew up not knowing so much about our extended family because my father was very dedicated to his business, which kept him out of the home most of the time.
As much as I could recall, school years from kindergarten to high school was fun with my brothers. We went to school together and came back home same way. Even when I thought I could take care of myself as a big girl in senior high school, my brothers didn’t buy the idea and that kept us even closer to one another.
I studied at the University of Lagos, which made me ever close home to Ebute-Meta, Lagos. When I met Rafael, my fiancé, my brothers were very happy and wanted us to get married soon. When it became settled that we would be heading for the Altar after my youth service programme in February 2012, my brothers started their preparations outside what my parents would be doing. It was an only opportunity and they wouldn’t mind walking me down the aisle together with my father!

By April 2012, after discussions with Rafael, I broke the good news to my parents that my fiancé and I are looking at October 2012, for our wedding. They answered coldly, leaving me rather confused. Two days after the discussion with my parents they called me for another ‘talks’, and this time around, it wasn’t something I had ever thought of, or planned to ever experience.

Loners are losers!



We may not really be perfect especially in our relationships with people, but we can learn how to be good to people and not fuss over every little thing. It is particularly sad to note that some friends decide to be edgy in relationships when they think that the other person cares more about them than they do the other.

Mairo’s Splash Of Luxury Graffiti On Jara Tv!



Mairo at work

Work-in-progress


The art of graffiti is regarded as the burst of creativity used by artists for diverse expressions. As much as Mairo Ozah (Artist) is closely identified with architecture as his discipline, so is his love and bond with the arts!  As a participating artist in the British Council WAPI (Words and Pictures) some years back, his entry works under the name ‘ALIEN DNA’ remained outstanding.

Though he sings and loves live performances, when the crew of ‘Jara’ TV had a close- up with him, they saw another beautiful side of this multi-talented artist.

Mairo displayed a rare gift of the art of ‘Graffiti’; an art he had been into since his days as a member of ‘Naija With ARTitude’, a  group that made its mark in graffiti, unleashing a most-captivating visual expression in DJ Jimmy Jatt’s  Stylee’ featuring ‘Tuface, Mode9 and Elajoe’.

Enjoy a touch of his studio work display here and catch up with a full session of his interview with ‘Jara’ showing on M-Net’s Africa Magic tomorrow.