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    In A King’s Passion… Obi of Onitsha interrogates African art, culture

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    According to the monarch, passion, intellectual curiosity and intuition of over 40 years inspired the collection of more than 4000 artworks, of which over 300 are featured in the book.

    The publication addresses the emerging role of art patronship in Africa and how indigenous collectors are expanding narratives on the art of the African continent.

    Lavishly illustrated in full colour, A King’s Passion was edited by Sandra Mbanefo Obiago (SMO) Contemporary Art and features 120 artists and carefully selected modern and contemporary masterpieces, including works by Ben Enwonwu, Uche Okeke, Amon Kotei, El Anatsui, Ablade Glover, Twins Seven Seven, Ndidi Dike, Godfried Donkor, Midy, Mxolisi Dolla Sapeta, Kofi Agorsor, Frew Kebede Gemech, Tizta Berhanu and many more.

    It also includes, critical essays by some of the finest scholars and experts on African art such as, Sylvester Ogbechie, Frank Ugiomoh, Edwin Bodjawah, Babacar Mbow, KrdyzIkwuemesi, Jerry Buhari, Bernard Akoi-Jackson, Chike Nwagbogu and Oliver Enwonwu, and others.

    He said, “the book fulfils its primary objective to foster research into modern and contemporary art in Africa by challenging the existing canon and helping to raise funds for the Chimedie Museum.”

    CEO of Access Holdings, one of the sponsors and host of the event, Herbert Wigwe, said, “the impact of Igwe Achebe’s exquisite art collection and his strategic art patronage for over 40 years nurturing African talent, is a beautiful example of how creativity can create wealth from the grassroots all the way up through society, and create important paradigm shifts about our identity, our culture, and our history.”

    He added, “the book strategically shows how art can contribute to developing our continent and telling a fresh story with ancient roots.”

    Co-sponsor of the event, Ford Foundation, represented by its current Director for West Africa, Dr. Chichi Anyiagolu-Okoye, said, “the Obi of Onitsha did not establish the museum for the love of art only, but also because of his understanding of the importance of owning one’s own story, narrative and passing it down in a cultural context that is true to its original meaning.”

    According to Anyiagolu-Okoye, “the Chimedie Museum will help teach, inspire and connect communities, especially at this time, when discourse on the return of African artefacts from Europe to its rightful owners is taking centre stage.”

    The launch included a critical book review by art curator and architect, Jess Castelotte, and a vibrant panel discussion by leading experts in the African art market including, Senior Director of Sotheby’s auction house; Hannah O’Leary, award winning photographer, Kelechi Amadi-Obi, leading African art collector and philanthropist, Femi Akinsanya and Founder of the ART X Lagos art fair Tokini Peterside-Schwebig, who all related how their love for art preservation began. The discussion was moderated by Convener of Design Week Lagos, Titi Ogufere.

    The book editor, Founder and Artistic Director of SMO Contemporary Art, Sandra Mbanefo Obiago, said, “the Chimedie Museum will be an important repository of art collection as well as photographs, music and video recordings, royal regalia including costumes, jewelry, hats, ornaments, and historic documents and research materials, including the digital copies of the entire academic socio-anthropological study of Onitsha.”

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    Governor AbdulRazaq reiterates support for tourism, cultural festivals

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    Governor AbdulRazaq reiterates support for tourism, cultural festivals

    The Kwara State Governor, North Central Nigeria, AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq has pledged the commitment of the state government in the development of the tourism sector through the promotion of sociocultural festivals and monuments in the state.

    He specifically expressed his resolve to partner and support various cultural associations in the state including Ilorin Emirate Descendants Progressives Union (IEDPU) to drive and sustain growth in the various sectors.

    The Governor made the pledge when he received the Chairman, Ilorin Emirate Durbar Committee, Engineer Suleiman Yahaya Alapansanpa at the Government House, Ilorin.

    Governor AbdulRazaq said the government will continue to partner with various cultural associations in the state, including the Ilorin Emirate Descendants Progressives Union (IEDPU), to drive sustainable growth in the sector.

    He added that his administration would increase its support for the 2024 Durbar Festival and other major cultural events in the state.

    The Chairman, Ilorin Emirate Durbar Committee, Engineer Alapasanpa while speaking during the visit, reiterated the kind of support the Emirate enjoyed from the governor and the state government in the previous editions of the festival which culminated in the high level of success recorded in the last celebration.

    The Ilorin Durbar event will hold on Tuesday, the third day of Ileya festival at the Emir’s palace.

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    National Theatre GM Seeks More Investment In Cultural Tourism

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    National Theatre GM Seeks More Investment In Cultural Tourism

    The General Manager, National Arts Theatre, Tola Akerele, has called for more investment in cultural tourism, creative industries, and multicultural education to further leverage Nigeria’s diversity.

    Akerele made the call on Tuesday in Lagos at a World Cultural Day celebration organised by the National Theatre in collaboration with the National Association of Nigerian Theatre Arts Practitioners (NANTAP).

    The theme of the programme is “Harnessing Cultural Diversity to foster Unity and drive Economic Growth in Nigeria”.

    “Cultural diversity is not a liability; it’s an asset waiting to be adequately harnessed.

    “By embracing our diversity, we position Nigeria as a global leader – a hub of creativity and ingenuity.”

    She highlighted the creative industry’s significant contribution to Nigeria’s GDP, citing the sector’s impressive figures from 2023.

    “The creative industry, particularly motion picture and music recording, accounted for roughly N154 billion (approximately 197.6 million U.S. dollars) of Nigeria’s GDP in 2023.

    “This figure demonstrates the sector’s vital role in Nigeria’s overall economic landscape,” she said.

    According to Akerele, Nigeria’s cultural wealth is a testament to the resilience, creativity, and ingenuity of its people.

    “We must recognise and celebrate our differences, rather than allowing them to divide us,” she said.

    She emphasised the importance of promoting intercultural dialogue, celebrating Nigeria’s cultural heritage, and exploring ways to harness diversity for economic growth.

    Renowned Playwright and Theatre Director, Ben Tomoloju, highlighted the importance of multiculturalism in promoting entrepreneurship and innovation in Nigeria.

    The playwright defined multiculturalism as “the state of a society or the world in which there exists numerous distinct ethnic and cultural groups seen to be politically relevant.”

    Tomoloju urged stakeholders in the cultural industry to explore the potential of Nigeria’s diverse cultural heritage and optimise its commercial benefits.

    “I encourage the community of culture producers to take stock of extant manifestations of the Nigerian cultural industry and assess their potential use-value.”

    According to him, the democratisation of culture is essential for widening the space for participation of the people in organised cultural life.

    Tomoloju emphasised Nigeria’s rich cultural heritage, with over 370 ethnic groups, each with its own language and cultural peculiarities.

    He acknowledged organisers of the event for their efforts in promoting Nigerian culture.

    He also recognised the National Theatre as a legacy of Nigeria’s most ambitious and globally celebrated cultural event-FESTAC 77.

    Akonitv reports that the event featured a vibrant celebration of Nigerian culture, with performances, exhibitions, and discussions showcasing the country’s rich cultural heritage.

    Guests included dignitaries, cultural icons, and stakeholders from the creative industry.

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    Lagos gears up for Yoruba Week celebration

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    Lagos gears up for Yoruba Week celebration

    The Lagos State Ministry of Tourism, Art, and Culture is concluding plans to unveil the grand Yoruba Week celebration, slated for September 2024.

    A statement on Tuesday noted that the event will showcase the cultural heritage of the Yoruba people through traditional music, dance, art exhibitions, and delectable culinary delights.

    “With Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu now the esteemed Chairman of the South-West Governors’ Forum, this year’s Yoruba Week is destined to be a majestic celebration of unity and culture,” the statement said.

    “The Special Adviser on Tourism, Arts, and Culture, Idris Aregbe, will embark on a series of courtesy visits to various stakeholders, Yoruba leaders, grassroots communities, and the younger generation, aiming to foster widespread participation and engagement in this cultural festivity. This will be the biggest cultural event in the Yoruba calendar in years to come,” it added.

    The programme is with the theme, “Embracing the Yoruba Heritage, Unity, and Pride by Preserving Our Past and Inspiring Our Future.”

    In late April, the state government announced plans to dedicate the last week of September every year as “Yoruba Week” to celebrate the Yoruba culture.

    According to a press statement by the Chief Press Secretary to the Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Eromosele Ebhomele, the move is to preserve and promote the rich Yoruba cultural heritage.

    The decision was conveyed to the Lagos State House of Assembly through a letter from the executive arm, following a resolution passed by the lawmakers on September 19, 2023, calling for the activation of Yoruba cultural heritage and the assignment of a special day as Yoruba Day.

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