Founder, Africa Art Foundation, Mr. Azu Nwagbogu (left); Lagos State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Steve Ayorinde; Special Adviser to Governor Akinwunmi Ambode on Overseas Affairs and Investment, Prof. Ademola Abass and Director, Mydrim Gallery, Mrs. Sinmidele Adesanya at the briefing last weekend to announce first Rasheed Gbadamosi Eko Art Expo at Terra Kulture… in Lagos
Govt does not patronise the arts enough
For the late former Lagos State Commissioner for Economic Planning, Chief Rasheed Gbadamosi, there could be no faster honour and appreciation for his lifelong services than the planned Eko Art Expo named after him and scheduled to hold from Friday, January 27 through 29, 2017 at Eko Hotel and Suites, Lagos. The first Rasheed Gbadamosi Eko Art Expo, an integral part of the ongoing Lagosa@50 anniversary celebration, was unveiled last Saturday in Lagos. Gbadamosi was co-chairman with Prof. Wole Soyinka for the Lagos@50 Planning Committee before he died last year.
Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Steve Ayorinde, in the company of Special Adviser to Governor Akinwunmi Ambode on Overseas Affairs and Investment, Prof. Ademola Abass, announced the exhibition alongside two of the curators, Mr. Azu Nwagbogu of African Art Foundation (photography) and Mrs. Sinmidele Adesanya of Mydrim Gallery (painting). The expo has ‘Lagos for All’ as theme.
According to Ayorinde, the planned exhibition has the blessing of state governor, Mr. Ambode, who campaigned to use arts and entertainment to drive the economy and also pay attention to the other art forms apart from music and movies. Also, notable master artists like Kolade Oshonowo and El Anatsui will honour Gbadamosi at the exhibition. Ayorinde also explained that the exhibition would continue running in different galleries from April 8, 50 days to May 27, when curtain falls on Lagos@50 celebration.
“What Ambode is doing is to promote the arts and entertainment to drive the economy of Lagos,” Ayorinde said. “Is his vision limited to music and movies? No; the visual arts exhibition states otherwise. The second reason is to show Ambode is not limited to music and movies, but it includes visual arts and thirdly, to honour and immortalise the life of Alhaji Rasheed Gbadamosi, a co-chair of Lagos@50 celebration. The governor thought to honour and celebrate the patriarch and kick-start the activities for this year’s Lagos@50 celebration that will culminate on May 27.
“The expo is a demonstration of Governor Ambode’s great vision for the arts and creative workers in Lagos State and his plan to always avail them of space for expression and institutional support from government and corporate Lagos.”
Inspiration for the exhibition, Ayorinde also explained, was at the instance of Ambode being a guest at the photographic show of Nigerian artists last year at the Centre for Fine Arts in Brussels, Belgium (Bozar), which Nwagbogu curated; it had 100 photographs showing different parts of Lagos. The experience will be recreated at the Rasheed Gbadamosi Eko Art Expo.
Young talents will also be showcased at the exhibition alongside the masters. Students from tertiary institutions in Lagos – University of Lagos, Lagos State University, YABATECH, College of Education, and Lagos State Polytechnic – will take part. Different galleries will showcase works in what Ayorinde termed “Lagos talent, diversity and creativity” to capture the essence of the megacity.
According to Senior Adviser to Ambode on Overseas Affairs and Investment, Abass, the expo was borne out of Ambode’s passion for the arts, especially after seeing the Brussels exhibition by Nigerian artists. He lamented that governments at various strata in the country do not patronise the arts enough as it was done in overseas.
“Governor Ambode had asked that the Brussels exhibition be brought to Lagos, especially when such comes from Nigerian artists. Government does not patronise the arts enough. We need to encourage young ones as we celebrate older ones. Ambode has expressive passion for the arts; it is not only movies and music we will promote in Lagos.”
On his part, Nwagbogu, who will curate the photographic part of the exhibition, described the exhibition as “a landmark event” as it would forge a “synergy between our industry and government. I can’t forget Gbadamosi’s generosity and commitment to the arts. He not only bought works but he also mentored us. We’d do our best to make Eko Hotel events hall into an exhibition ground.”
Curator for the painting part of the show, Adesanya, expressed excitement at the exhibition and noted that the struggles of private individuals in promoting the arts were being validated by such intervention by government.
“This is a great honour,” she said: “What we have had have been private struggles going on in the visual space. Movies and music have been in the spotlight. This is commendable; this is laudable that Gbadamosi is being celebrated. Nigeria is at the forefront of contemporary arts in Africa.
“Art is a store of value. In this season of recession, people are bringing their art to us but just like they do to gold. The exhibition will help in tourism business in Lagos as a lively city. So, there will be young, emerging and master artists from 15 – 20 galleries.”
Managing Director of Terra Kulture, Mrs. Bolanle Austin-Peters, also expressed joy at the initiative, saying, “We hope to make arts a currency in three days. Government’s lacuna is what has been happening, which is now being bridged by Ambode. It’s incredible that this is happening.”