Local, international artists converge on Edo for book, art festival
Benin City, considered by many as the country’s culture capital, is set to host the maiden Edo International Book and Art Festival (EdIBAF 2023).
The city had produced a crop of outstanding contemporary artists, such as Festus Idehen, Dr. Colette Omogbai-Onyeka, Clara Ugbodaga-Nhu, Mike Omoighe, Osazuwa Osagie, Greg Agbonkonkon, Joseph Oiku, Reuben Ugbine, Sir Victor Uwaifo, and the late Erhabor Emokpae, among others. The festival, scheduled for Wednesday, April 26, 2023, will hold at the Sir Victor Uwaifo Creative Hub, Airport Road, Benin City, Edo State.
As an integral part of the Education Week, it is a brainchild of the Edo State Ministry of Education, in collaboration with Grace Foundation for Education and Development.
The maiden edition has as theme, “Every Child A Reading Champion,’ and will feature Jude Idada, Victor Ehikhamenor, Olu Ajayi, Anisa Daniel-Oniko and Dr. Eghosa Imasuen, among others.
Foremost journalist and culture communicator, Mr. Jahman Anikulapo, and foreign artists, such as South Africa’s Lebo Mashile and Ghanaian Nana Asaase, will make up the exciting line-up of artists that will mentor children and young adults.
Idada, for instance, will tap into his illustrious career as a multidisciplinary artist whose oeuvre traverses playwriting, poetry, children’s literature, film-making and so on to inspire the young ones in their aim for greater heights in all fields of human endeavour.
As a special festival guest, he is expected to participate in a panel discussion, titled, “The Place of Creative Art in Quality Education.”The panel will seek to answer questions such as ‘where is the point of convergence between creative art and education?’ ’Could someone be creative and not be brilliant academically?’ ‘How often should teachers incorporate the teaching of creative subjects in school curriculum?’‘Which is superior — intelligence or creative imagination?’ ‘How may the two terms be explored for equilibrium impact on the educational well-being?’
The South African spoken word artist, Mashile, will be given priority to explore the booming spoken word genre in the poetry slam segment. Mashile and two other artists will be jury in the poetry slam, tagged, ‘I am a Reading Champion.’
A statement from Edo State Commissioner for Education, Dr. Joan Osa Oviawe, said the programme is a demonstration of the state government’s commitment to a holistic education agenda through various programmes, initiatives, reforms, and partnerships with private sector and international organisations.
“It is in view of this that the Ministry of Education has put together an Education Week scheduled to hold from Wednesday April 26 through to Sunday, April 30, 2023,” the commissioner said.
Festival Director, Samuel Osaze, expressed optimism that the maiden edition of EdIBAF 2023 will be one to look forward to and enjoined everyone to turn up and enjoy it.
According to the poet and festival curator, “Edo State is home to one of the greatest empires in the world endowed with both ancient art, prodigious human talents and material resources to showcase to the world through an international book and art festival, a void that EdIBAF has come to fill.”