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National Theatre, Lagos


The Party Is Loud At Kavita’s
The Deejay turned up the volume at the opening of Peju Alatishe’s solo exhibition, Paradox, Paradigms & Parasites, at the Kia Motors last Thursday. The hosting gallery, Arthouse-The Space, owned by Kavita Chellarams, has always touted the idea of not-so- quiet music at its show openings, and no one, it seems, has interrogated it. But last Thursday was particularly loud and some young people, actually, were responding with shoki dance steps, right in the exhibition hall! True, there are very few people who care about solemnly engaging with the art on view at exhibition openings in this city. It’s always a cocktail ambience, with a lively chatter. Again, Ms. Alatishe’s exhibition was announced as a 20 year anniversary of her studio visual art practice, so in a sense, it is a party. But the cocktail conversations needed to be had against the background of soft music, not the loud strains of Naija hip pop.

Social Media And The Death Of The Book
The longest session planned for the forthcoming 5th Anambra Book and Creativity Festival (ANBUKRAFT) is the discussion segment centred around the relationship between social media, the reading culture and the alleged death of the Book in Nigeria. The organisers of the event, which runs from July 24 to 28 2018, have allocated six hours to the Interdisciplinary conference, as it is called, running from 10am to 4pm on July 25, the third day of the festival. Willing participants can still send an abstract of not more than 200 words to anbukraft2@gmail.com, ikenna.musician@gmail.com or penncils@yahoo.com, including personal contact and affiliation details as well as keywords of their paper, before May 30, 2018. Another event to look forward to at this year’s ANBUKRAFT is the Workshop on Art Writing/Critique, which will run for several hours over the course of two days (July 23, and 24th).

The Art Writing/Critique course is to be facilitated by the Festival convener himself: Chuu Krydz Ikwuemesi, painter, art critic, ethno-aesthetician and cultural entrepreneur. Ikwuemesi is a member of the “Talented Ten” art graduates of the UNN, Nsukka, a distinguished club which includes Olu Oguibe, Sylvester Ogbechie and Chika Okeke-Agulu, all First Class honours graduates, now visual art academics in the United States who have produced thoughtful books which help animate the debates around African art practice. Attending Ikwuemesi’s Art Writing/Critique workshop alone is worth all the trouble of travelling to King David Hotel, in Awka, for ANBIKRAFT 2018.

Poets To Gather For Osundare On Democracy Day
The fourth edition of the annual international festival to honour Nigeria’s main candidate for the Nobel Prize for Literature will kick off at the Lead City University in Ibadan on May 29. Poets, essayists, novelists, arts writers, academics and plain literary enthusiasts will gather at the University’s International Conference Centre, for the Niyi Osundare International Poetry Festival. (NOIPOF)The conference theme Literature and Governance, Finding the Convergence for National Development, is fitting for what May 29, a National Public Holiday christened Democracy Day, means for the country. “The aim is to see how governance in Nigeria can benefit from the intervention of literary minds who have the platform to speak on behalf of the people”, says Tunde Laniyan, Director of the Festival.

The opening ceremony, scheduled for 10am, is planned to feature a keynote on the theme by Tunji Olaopa, former Federal Permanent Secretary and Executive Vice Chairman, Ibadan School for Governance and Public Policy. A panel session will respond to the keynote address. There will, naturally, be readings of poems by the guest of honour. Writers from the Oyo State chapter of the Association of Nigerian Authors will put up two hours of poetry readings and performances. Lead University’s Theatre Department will be staging one of two plays by Osundare: The Wedding Car, or The Man Who Walked Away. Students from over 10 secondary schools in the Ibadan area will engage Osundare in conversation. But why all these? One answer is found inside of the quote by Stewart Brown, a British poet: “Osundare is doing for African poetry what Derek Walcott did for Caribbean poetry, claiming and mining the language for his own ends. No English poet could use English language in the way Osundare does”. A full programme of events will be out in the next fortnight.

You Have To Give It To The Author Of Hubris
Who in the world freely publishes a negative review, as a foreword to his book? Nigerian born Akintunde Akinkunmi, a ranking officer in the British Army, invited comments on his book, Hubris: A Brief History of the Nigerian Army, from three retired service chiefs in the Nigerian military. Their responses were mixed. While two of them gave the book a thumbs up appraisal, the third reported a lot of gaps. Alani Akinrinade (Retired Lt General and Chief of Defence Staff, 1980-81) commends the “deadly accuracy” with which Hubris traces the various military interventions…”and the disastrous result of each”. GTA Adekeye, (Retired Vice Admiral and Chief of Naval Staff, 2005-2008), praises the work’s highlight of the successes and failures of the various military regimes, “as the top and middle echelons exhibited a dog-eat dog syndrome, toppling one another, ostensibly to eliminate corruption while actually fertilising it”.

But A.D. Bello (Retired Air Vice Marshall, and Chief of Air Staff, 1980-83) pulls back the praise punch, submitting that “the book did not engage in deep analysis of the respective merits and demerits of the decisions taken by successive military regimes”, despite the author’s demonstrated expertise and thoroughness. Hubris is a racy account of 56 years of the politics of pre and post- independence Nigeria, stopping at 1999. It is compelling storytelling, and a good read. It will be presented to the public at the Metropolitan Club in Victoria Island at 10.30am next Thursday, May 3.

Calendar: Eseibo At Rele, Paradox at Kia
Beyond Drawing and Painting, an exhibition of paintings by Rauf Thompson ends today, April 30, at the National Council for Art and Culture, National Theatre premises, Iganmu. Peju Alatishe’s Paradox, Paradigms and Parasites, on view at the Kia Motors Showroom, organised by Arthouse-The Space Gallery, runs till May 10. The photographer Andrew Esiebo opens his solo exhibition Gold Diggers at Rele Gallery on Military Street, within the Onikan Cultural Precinct, on May 13th, 2018.
Compiled by staff of Festac News Press Agency


In this article:
Toyin Akinosho
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