Guests at the event Mr. Mudiare Onobrakpeya (left); Director of Harmattn Workshop, Mr. Sam Ovraiti; Chairman of BOF, Dr. Bruce Onobrakpeya and Mr. Peter K. Da Silva
As the 19th edition of Dr. Bruce Onobrakpeya-led yearly Harmattan Workshop, which holds at Agbarha-Otor, Delta State, was announced, the organisers, used the occasion as debut for its award ceremony. Organized by Bruce Onobrakpeya Foundation (BOF), the award, Art Critic in Agbarha Otor 2016, held recently at the master printmakers’s gallery, Mushin, Lagos. was given to three art critics – Tajudeen owole (The Guardian), Ozolua Uhakheme (The Nation) and Okechukwu Uwazuoke (Thisday).
While giving the awards to the recepients, the founder of Harmattan workshop, Dr. Onobrakpeya, assured that every year art writers and journalists would be recognised by BOF. Though he announced “a token of N100,000” for each recipient, he said the purpose of the award was not about the money but the “invaluable contributions of arts critics to the development of arts”.
The Artistic Director of Harmattan Workshop, Mr. Sam Ovraiti, announced the 2017 edition and said, “this year’s workshop promises to be unique in that artists from far and near would be attending. The harmattan workshop will again give opportunity to participants to practice various craft, acquire new skills and share ideas. There will be the usual experiments, which will help discover new and exciting ways of expressing experiences and feelings.
“Apart from ongoing critics while works are in progress, there will be a session devoted to criticism by an experts, who may not be participants. In each session, there will be an open day when collectors will meet the participants in a funfair atmosphere. Bulk sale of pieces of art works created within the present or previous editions will be encouraged as a way of raising funds for the workshop.
“The theme for this year’s workshop is ‘Investment into the infinite Possibilities of Art as a Means of Overcoming Recession – Materials, Ideas, Infra-structural Development for Greater Benefits.’ All participants are encouraged to reflect the workshop theme in their works, especially paper presenters.
The 19th Harmattan Workshop will be made up of two sessions: first session: February 12 through 25, 2017; second session: August 13 through 26, 2017.
Application forms are to be submitted to Bruce Onobrakpeya Foundation 41 Oloje Street, Papa Ajao, Mushin, Lagos or during registration. Early last year, Dr Onobrakpeya and Ovraiti took the Harmattan Workshop experience to the U.S., at an event themed ‘Craft Thinking: Ideas on Making, Materials, and Creative Process,’ held at Haystak’s Summer Conference 2016, It was a convergence of professionals for exchange of ideas.
Onobrakpeya, founder of Nigeria’s On his return from Haystack Mountain Summer Conference, in Maine, U.S, with the director of Harmattan Workshop, Ovraiti, the octogenarian disclosed the mission of their visit and shared his experience. The 2016 edition of Haystack Summer Conference, he recalled, was not the first time for him, having experienced it in 1975. In fact, Haystack, Dr. Onobrakpeya explained, added to the factors that inspired his founding of Harmattan Workshop.
The goals of revisiting Haystack, he stated, were “to get more ideas about informal art education as well as to boost the prospects of Harmattan Workshop.” Informal gatherings, across cultures, are not without some issues to contend with. For Haystack, “apprenticeship and internship,” as well as the incursion of “digital technology into art” according to the master printmaker, were two crucial areas focused by the workshop.