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National Arts Theatre

Zille’s Fighting Book Is A LABAF 2018 Choice
Helen Zille’s Not Without A Fight is among the twenty books selected for reading and discussion at the 20th Lagos Book and Art Festival, holding at the Freedom Park on Broad Street from November 5 to 11, 2018. One of the most comprehensive accounts of South Africa’s 24 year grapple with the construction of a functioning, non-racial democracy, the book will join Lee Kuan Yew’s Singapore: From Third World To First, Pranay Gupte’s Dubai: The Making of a Megapolis and Obafemi Awolowo’s Path To Nigerian Freedom at the Festival colloquium entitled New Possiblities, on Friday, November 9, 2018. Ms. Zille, currently Premier of South Africa’s Western Cape Province, was leader of the Democratic Alternative (DA), the main Opposition Party. She won the World Mayor award in 2008, two years after she was elected Mayor of Cape Town. Her book is an insightful telling of the difficult work in progress to build a capable state in Africa’s most industrialised economy. “It fits the theme of our twentieth anniversary edition of LABAF, which is Renewal: Reimagining a world that works for all”, says Jahman Anikulapo, director of LABAF and Programme Chair of the Committee for Relevant Art.

Royal Hibiscus Is Right to Be Shallow, For Its Sake
There’s nothing wrong with a feel good drama which is produced for the sake of feeling good. So the argument that Royal Hibiscus Hotel, the latest movie by the Ebony Life Films, is utterly shallow, as a basis for review, is very problematic. Here’s a romantic movie with an aspirational story at the core. There is no subplot in the entire narrative that is not trashed out, if not resolved. There is no deeply flawed character, who messes with decent order of things in this particular universe, that doesn’t get justice. The ending is clichéd, but it is hard to deliver the required suspense for this kind of boy –meets- girl -and –the- road -leads -to -marriage story without being trapped in some kind of twist. Director Ishaya Bako deserves to be congratulated for a minimalist handling of a story with a high potential for melodrama.

Standing Room Only at the Art House For TK at 70
Three documentary films, a panel discussion, several rounds of cuttings of the cake, lunch (in the hall) and dinner (at the Food Court), served in the course of nine hours, filled the last day of the weeklong celebration of Tunde Kelani at 70, held at the Freedom Park on Lagos Island. The event ran from 2pm in the afternoon to midnight on Thursday March 8. It was raining tributes for Nigeria’s most widely decorated, living filmmaker. Most of the comments made it light: “TK was wearing Ankara trousers with t-shirt on top, long before it became cool to do so”, declared Joke Silva, herself a significant actress. “He’s a forerunner, and we go back a long way, to the very beginning of my career, since Mirror In The Sun…. We’ve found ourselves working together on the same locations, sets, even boards (of parastatals) and everywhere, he had been unfailingly supportive.” Kunle Afolayan, second generation actor, director and film producer, declared that in the Nineties, the one Nigerian filmmaker who was invited to all the film festivals around the world was Tunde Kelani. “I have always been his protégé. I told myself I want to be like this man”. In King of The Shoot, one of the three documentaries, Kelani himself revealed how desperate he had wanted to be a cameraman all his life. As young as age of 14, at Abeokuta Grammar School, he tampered with the figure on a scholarship form so he could get money to order a new camera from England. The school bursar found out and, instead of punishing him, gave him the money for the purchase. King of The Shoot will be screened at the IREP Doumentary Film Festival, running from March 22-25 at the Freedom Park.


Henrike Grohs Award Goes To Cameroonian Conceptualist
Em’kal Eyongakpa has been announced as the first recipient of the Henrike Grohs Award. The 37 year old Cameroonian will receive a 20.000€ cash prize on 13 March 2018 in Abidjan. Eyongakpa is getting the award, conceived by the Goethe-Institut and the Grohs family, “for his poetic, subtle and subjective approach”, according to the jury comprising Koyo Kouoh (Artistic Director, RAW Material Company, Dakar), Laurence Bonvin (artist and representative of the Grohs family, Berlin), Raphael Chikukwa (Chief Curator, National Gallery of Zimbabwe, Harare) and Simon Njami (Curator, Paris). “His work expresses universal concerns of humanity. The multidisciplinary stance of his practice that includes knowledge derived from science, ethnobotany, magical realism, experimentation and utopia, aptly responds to the core values of the Henrike Grohs Art Award”. The artist holds degrees in Plant biology and Ecology from the University of Yaoundé and was a resident at the Rijksakademie in Amsterdam. Eyongakpa’s work has recently been exhibited at the Jakarta Biennale (2017), the 13th Sharjah Biennial (2017) and the 32nd Bienal de São Paulo (2016). The prize recognises the lifetime achievements of the former Head of the Goethe-Institut in Abidjan, Henrike Grohs, who was killed on 13 March 2016 in a terrorist attack in Grand-Bassam, Côte d’Ivoire.  

CALENDAR: “These Events We Support”, By Steve Ayorinde
Steve Ayorinde, Lagos State commissioner for Culture and Tourism, has effectively rolled out the state’s Culture Calendar for the year 2018. At a “town hall” meeting with Culture producers at the just concluded Lagos Theatre Festival, Ayorinde listed 70 events, scheduled for January to December in 2018, “that have the support of the state government”. On the list for March 2018 are Kunle Afolayan’s Kulturcentric, an outdoor, poolside programme of live music, dance and drama skits, scheduled for March 30 at the Airport Hotel in Ikeja, a presentation, on the same date, of The Marriage of Anansewa at Terrakulture, to mark the World Theatre Day, Duro Ladipo Family’s production of Oba Koso at the National Theatre (undated) IREP’s Annual Festival of Documentary Films, with the theme, this year being Archiving Africa II: Frontiers and New Narratives at the Freedom Park from March 22 to March 25, Lagos State School Paintings, Drawings and Photo Competition (undated). Gidi Culture Fest, March 30, 2018 and Frejon Festival. “Supporting these events doesn’t mean that we are providing financial backing”. Ayorinde stressed. “What it means is that we recognise that these programmes are well thought out and, when we say a programme has the state’s support, it is enough validation to seek funding from sponsors”.
Compiled by staff of Festac News Agency

In this article:
Toyin Akinosho
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