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Sisi Eko… Children interpret the mega city 50 years ffter


Consultant, Prof. Wole Soyinka and some of the finalists at the press briefing last week at Freedom Park...Lagos

Consultant, Prof. Wole Soyinka and some of the finalists at the press briefing last week at Freedom Park…Lagos

As Lagos prepares to celebrate 50 years since its creation in 1967 next year, children (ages 8-12) from public and private schools have been tasked to imaginatively and creatively interpret the journey of the mega city in visual and literary art forms. It is the yearly Vision of the Child (VoTC) competition among primary and secondary school students in the state that has prof. Wole Soyinka as Consultant. With ‘Sisi Eko@50: Ageing Gracefully or Na So-so Pancake?’ as theme, the children will paint and write about their impression of the city. The Nobel laureate will also chair the Lagos@50 celebration in May next year.

A total of 500 students from 200 schools from the state participated in the audition. The entries were assessed by a panel of judges comprising teachers, artists, child care-givers and social workers – Chief (Mrs.) Nike Ekundaye, Mr. Tola Wewe, Almaroof, Mr. Folu Agoi, Mrs. Iquo Dianna Abasi, and Mr. Jahman Anikulapo.

50 finalists representing the 50 years of the state’s existence will participate in the last round to be held on May 14, 2016, at Federal palace Hotel, Lagos, where the children will be provided with brush, paint and easel and required to illustrate their literary presentation of the complementary medium of painting. This would precede the exhibition of the 50 paintings, an award and gala night on May 27 (which also falls in World Children’s Day), with Lagos State governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, declaring the exhibition, as well as declaring Lagos@50 celebration open.

A statement from the Project Director, Foluke George, notes, “The VoTC project provides an interactive challenge for children designed to stretch youthful imagination and skills across genres. One of its key elements is to hear the voices of the youth and children and equip them to lead change. It enables participating children the platform to express their understanding of the world they live in, their vision of what it should be, their dreams and fantasies through painting and the literary arts – poetry, prose and essay”.

At a briefing last week to declare the competition open, Soyinka charged the children not to rely on their teachers or parents in creating images that represent their views of the adults who make decisions that affect them. According to him, “Try and exercise your own judgment, all of you. It has to come from your mind, not your teachers, how you view us as adults and society. Adults direct everything, but how do you view and interpret everything we do as adults? The title is meant to intrigue; it will enable you to oscillate between both ends. Be careful not to be misled; just find a space between the extremes. You can find a space in the middle, but be imaginative”.

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