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    London Exhibition Showcases Africa’s Rich Fabric Diversity

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    A photo exhibition, which showcases and celebrates Africa’s identity and diversity through the continent’s different indigenous fabrics and textiles, will begin at the Africa Centre in London on Friday

    Tagged “Not A Country,” the weeklong exhibition is created to correct the wrong notion that Africa is a just a country as most people outside the continent think.

    It is the brain child of Tunde Alabi-Hudeyin II, a Nigerian documentary photographer and documentary filmmaker.

    He described his work as one that “investigates the colonial gaze on the Black body, ethically explores human conditions in marginalised communities, and disrupts existing hierarchies of power relations.”

    Hundeyin-Alabi’s work has been exhibited across Africa, Europe, and North America, and he has worked on projects for global charities and corporate organisations.

    The project began in 2018 and for the past six years it has been at many exhibition spaces.

    Mr. Hundeyin-Alabi told Voice of Nigeria in a telephone interview that the exhibition was held last year at the Brighton Fringe Festival, and was seen by over 30,000 people within 10 days.

    He said; “Africa is a beautiful continent and, basically, I created this work to argue about the fact that Africa is not a country because for some time now I’ve been living in the United Kingdom and usually when the West wants to talk about us; maybe they are referring to a particular tribe or country, they just say Africa. Something like I’m going to Africa instead of specifically that I’m going to Nigeria or I’m going to South Africa.

    “I try to use our textiles as a form of material culture, a form of symbolism to show Africa’s diversity. The exhibition, the body of work interrogates the influence of colonialism, capitalism, religion and you can also say globalisation on our traditional attires.”

    “I tried to flip the colonial suppression by placing the colourfully adorned black body within the British landscape, which is a representation of the colonial metropole.

    “I’ve been taking it around different places in the last number of years. I intend to take it outside of Europe in the next couple of years so that more people will get to know more about it and it would educate and inform them,” Mr. Hundeyin-Alabi said.

    Explaining that his findings have shown that some countries in Africa do not have national attires, he said that “colonial influence made those countries lose part of their cultural heritage which they have not been able to recover.”

    “In this project I’ve worked with people from 20 different African countries. I was shocked to realize that Zimbabwe doesn’t have a national attire.

    “When I prodded further I was told that during the colonial period they had a red, black and white attire that had chevrons that represent the different sites and monuments in Zimbabwe.

    “They were won by powerful people, tradesmen, by hunters, by musicians, by goldsmiths and by traditional healers,”Mr. Hundeyin-Alabi said.

    He further said; “Infact traditional healers would not go ahead with their work without this attire. But this attire angered the colonizers; so they would censor them; they would suppress and criminalise the people for wearing these traditional symbols of power.

    “Because of that in those days people had to stop wearing the cloth because it was criminal for you to wear it.

    “So, that’s why Zimbabwe’s post-colonial era there is no traditional cloth that they wear; they all wear western clothes; and that’s the influence of colonialism and globalization on the traditional systems of people’s appearance in Zimbabwe as an example.

    “We can also use Egypt as an example. In Egypt, the Egyptians have abandoned their traditional clothing. They now wear Western clothing. These are things that I explore in this photo documentary.”

    Mr. Hundeyin-Alabi observed that despite the influence of the media, the attitude of many Africans are changing towards indigenous attires.

    He noted that leaders like Nigeria’s former President, Olusegun Obasanjo, did a lot to project the African culture as expressed in their clothing by always adorning African fabrics and attires.

    “I would say, using Nigeria as an example, I think that it was during the Obasanjo era that attitude began to change towards traditional clothing and people began to appreciate our traditional fabrics and began to adorn it.

    “If you remember, President Obasanjo would wear his adire; would wear ankara. So, attitudes are beginning to change,”Mr. Hundeyin-Alabi stressed.

    He added that the insights gleaned from the models he has collaborated with indicate a changing attitude towards indigenous fabrics and attire.

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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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