With Play Maker, Okonkwo unveils book, exhibition
Co-founder and Art Director at Magic Carpet Studios, Chekwube Okonkwo, has launched his first graphic novel, titled, Play Maker. At the book launch, he also unveiled an art show of images from the book.
The two weeks exhibition, which began on May 27, delves into the evolution of African consciousness and history, showcasing the reimagin nation of young Africa.
It is a captivating fusion of art and literature embodying liberation of African spirit and promotion of true black consciousness, culture and history.
A total of 14 works hung on the walls of the exhibition hall, Art Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos, to the admiration of art lovers including, Obi Asika of Storm Records (now Storm 360), Group Head/Programme Coordinator, The W Initiative, Access Bank, Ayona Aguele-Trimnell, and other art enthusiasts.
Okonkwo said, “the story is an African story that talks about the return and finding your roots, your identity and I felt I should tell the story from the point of view of the key character Malcom.”
Okonkwo reveals a character putting on basketball jersey repeatedly in the entire collection to show his journey into self-discovery, adventure and even to find home and himself.
Okonkwo said, “the book is about our heritage, history and mostly it talks about finding roots. You see that mostly with African American or returnees who do not really know anything about home; the book is like a reminder or giving them a glimpse into Africa, especially now that many youths are leaving the country, so, I addressed that.”
He added, “the book gives clue of what is happening here, about their ancestors, they are just like foreigners, so, this story highlights that concept and why it is vital for them to find their roots and hold culture in high regard.”
Okonkwo who won the Best African Animation Hourglass Award in 2019, and has trained over 100 animators, said, “I have always been interested in every aspect of arts. I grew up reading a lot of books and making traditional art works so I guess what you are seeing now is an outcome of that. What you are seeing now is someone that has invested a lot in African literature and being an artists, I think I will just carry on doing what I know how to do best and see what the future holds.
“Back at the studio, we have in the works the adaptation of the Cyprian Ekwensi’s widely acclaimed book published in 1960 titled, The Passport of Mallam Ilia and we are doing an adaptation of it in animation format. Away from this, we have done several short films that have made it to international festivals, we have trained about 40 students from different parts of Africa in animation films and digital arts aided by the United Nations.”
He concluded, “we have seen that the age of African writers series birthed a lot of good fruits in our children and we want to see how we can use it now to dominate every platform.”