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Orimoogunje to headline Lakotun show

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2019 Lagos Book and Art Festival, LABAF. Photo: TWITTER/THISISLAGOS

The 2019 Lagos Book and Art Festival, LABAF opened on Monday, November 4 at the Freedom Park, Lagos. The festival ends on Sunday, November 10, 2019.

Organised by the Committee for Relevant Art, CORA, LABAF is a week-long comprehensive open-air carnivalesque ‘feast of Life and Ideas’ featuring a mix-grill of artistic and cultural events including exhibitions of books and arts, live reading sessions; conversations around books; seminars on visual, performing and allied arts; displays of paintings, sculptures, mixed media, installations and crafts; children and youths art workshops; live music, poetry, drama and dance presentations among others.

This year’s festival theme is Emerge… Breaking into the New; and it is a natural sequel to the themes of the past two editions of the festival: Eruptions: Global Fractures and the Our Common humanity (2017) and Renewal: Towards a World that Works for All (2018).

It is premised on the notion of breaking free from the shackles of social, political, economic and cultural factors that inhibit the progress of the individual and the nation.

Though the festival was scheduled to open at 9: 00 am on Monday, it actually started much late in the afternoon, however, the rounded programmes that came after gave festival participants to hope for the best this year.

A seminar with Indigenous Literature and Translation as a theme and curated by Tee Jay Dan, Editor-in-chief Praxis Magazine, attracted a host of publishers, writers, art aficionado and culture enthusiasts.

The seminar aimed at a comparative analysis, exploring different indigenous worldviews, which can lend an insight into the relationship between indigenous peoples and their land, while retaining specific and distinct aspects of the localised experience.

One of the guest speakers, Richard Ali, who is a writer, lawyer and founder of Perresia Publisher, said, “there is no philosophical idea that can not be explained no matter how complex it is. There are two major ways of writing script, Latin and Arabic. English is an adaptable Language but our children should be taught with our language.”

Jimanze Ego-Alowes, one of Nigeria’s leading non-fiction authors and public intellectuals, added, “language is easy to learn. It’s really flexible. Language helps us to think better.”

There was a festival edition of Book Trek. It features reading and conversations around the ‘Newest Books On The Nigerian Shelf’ by writers across age, genre and orientation.

The book trek is designed to address the presumptive intractable disinterest in books by a large section of the public. “It’s a result of the prevalence of poor educational infrastructure in the country,” said CORA in a statement opening the event.

There was another fascinating event, writers’ convention, which featured exchanges between writers and their audience, as well as performances and conversations.

Performances by guest artistes include eminent Yoruba folklorist and actor Jimi Solanke, Lilian Ezeugwu, Omoregie Osakpolor and others.

Meanwhile, tomorrow, Professor of African Studies at the University of Lagos, Oladele Orimoogunje, will deliver the keynote at the special edition of Yoruba Lakotun, the Yoruba quarterly cultural renaissance show.

The special edition of the show is one of the events slated for this year’s LABAF. The cultural show, which began four years ago, has been at the forefront of celebrating exceptional literary and cultural icons in the Yoruba language. This special edition is expected to attract cultural enthusiasts from corporate and social Nigeria.

The host of the show, Olutayo Irantiola, said, “we are glad to partner with LABAF in introducing a full-fledged cultural part to the festival which has gone global. We are not deterred in ensuring that cultural literacy and education are available to Yorubas across the globe and we would ensure that people have the opportunity of meeting Yoruba cultural icons. This particular event is dedicated to the late Yoruba veteran writer, Oladejo Okediji who passed on recently.”

The programme has celebrated many Yoruba creative icons such as Tunde Kelani; Mama Nike Okundaye; Olusesan Ajewole, Professor Taiwo Olunlade, Nike Adesanya, Kehinde Adepegba and Ayo Okedokun.

For this special edition, some other speakers lined-up include, Dr. Oyeleke Odoje of the University of Ibadan and Chief Gbemisoye Ayano.

The idea of the yearly conferment of Honours on select members of the culture producing community is to formally acknowledge the immense contributions of each of the honourees to the development of the creative sector; essentially to spotlight them as role models to the robust tribe of younger artists, many of who indeed owe their career and successes to the generous selfless giving(s) of the honourees’ intellectual, moral and material resources. The honour is, however, conferred on such individuals as they each attain a milestone in their lives, starting from those clocking 60s and above.

The honourees for the year are Wole Soyinka at 85 – Dramatist, Director; Tunji Oyelana at 80 – musician, culture activist. Those who turned 60 are Theo Lawson – architect, culture activist; Segun Ojewuyi – theatre director, teacher; Mahmood Ali-Balogun – theatre artiste, filmmaker; Moji Bamtefa – theatre artiste, arts manager; Tope Babayemi – arts administrator, activist; Norbert Young – actor, acting teacher; Jerry Buhari – painter, fine arts teacher; George Ufot – arts administrator; Edmond Enaibe – actor, art activist and Kunle Adeyemi – visual artist, teacher.

The 2019 LABAF, dedicated to the memory of the renowned printmaker, David Herbert Lawrence who passed on August 6, 2019, will also remember and celebrate the life and times of notable members of the artistic and cultural community, who passed on in the course of the year. These include: Bisi Silva (art curator); Okwui Enwezor (art curator and historian); Paul Emema (Scriptwriter, Film Producer); Pius Adesanmi (culture activist and scholar); Eddie Ugboma (filmmaker and art activist); Molara Ogundipe (Literature teacher culture scholar); Stella Oyedepo (playwright, Arts administrator); Jide Ogungbade (theatre director and broadcaster); Frank Okonta (filmmaker and art patron) and Idowu Nubi (film editor).


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