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Beeta Arts Festival debuts, ‘re-imagines’ unity of African arts, artists in Abuja

By Maria Diamond
13 November 2021   |   2:42 am
These are very interesting times for Nigeria’s cultural space and the capital city, Abuja. While the cultural space continues to expand in depth and scope

[FILES] FCT. Photo: FI

These are very interesting times for Nigeria’s cultural space and the capital city, Abuja. While the cultural space continues to expand in depth and scope, Abuja is gradually being accorded the status of a festival space even if grudgingly. Already, Bikiya Graham-Douglas is set to unveil her maiden Beeta Arts Festival, a potpourri of divergent artistic forms from the entire African continent.

Beeta Arts Festival will see a gathering of diverse artists and cultural producers from across the continent in the 2-day feast from November 12 – 14, 2021, at Transcorp Hilton Hotel and Art-Tech District, Abuja.

The festival is the uniquely new pan-African celebration organised by the Beeta Universal Arts Foundation (BUAF). The festival has as theme ‘Re-Imagine,’ a hint to re-imagine the artistic unity of Africa, as it seeks to foster arts development and cultural unity by synergising various art forms, including stage plays, film screenings, concerts, poetry, art exhibitions, training, workshops, book readings, conversations and lifestyle events.

Festival Director, Graham-Douglas, explained the vision for the showpiece, saying, “The Beeta Arts Festival is a meeting point for different expressions of arts from across Africa. It gives performers opportunities and develops talent, allowing us to see each other, learn from each other and collaborate with each other.”

As a pan-African festival, participating films are from Kenya, Uganda, Mauritius, Ethiopia, Egypt, Tunisia, and Nigeria.

There would be stage performances from Nigeria and Egypt at the festival, stage plays written by winners and finalists of the Beeta Playwright Competition, prolific thespian, Olarotimi Fakunle, who will produce the theatre segment of the festival with the highly successful Room 7 by John Ekpeno Ukut who leads the pack, starring Nollywood uprising star Tope Oloniyowon while Tony Edet (Thin Tall Tony) will be directing a play titled Cancelled.

The film showcases will include content from the alumni of the West African Multichoice Talent Factory, the rising filmmaker John Youla Gotip and other films curated by Fibby Kioria of Manyatta Screenings Kenya. There will also be an innovative digitally directed play from top Ugandan director, filmmaker and playwright, Angie Emurwon, a historical exhibition at the Discovery Museum, curated by Amanda Kirby Okoye and conversations with prolific director Kunle Afolayan, award-winning actress/director and producer Lala Akindoju, President of National Association of Nigerian Theatre Arts Practitioners (NANTAP), Israel Eboh, The Nigeria Prize for Literature winner Abubakar Ibrahim and the acclaimed playwright, Paul Ugbede, etc.

Beeta Arts Festival will be a festival like no other, including immersive cultural experiences alongside the stage plays and film screenings such as well as a vibrant festival market, musical evenings, magicians, painting sessions and indigenous delicacies.

The festival is sponsored and supported by Chairborne Global Services, Transcorp Hilton, Abuja, Art-Tech District, Abuja, Heritage Bank, AfricaMagic, Ibis Hotel Lagos, Alluvial Agriculture, Union Bank of Nigeria, 2sure, Paperworth Books and ITK. 7UP Bottling Company has also been listed as the drinks partner, alongside The Guardian Life, Bella Naija, Silverbird, Classic FM, YNaija, Beat FM and DigitOneZero as official media partners.

The Beeta Arts Festival is a cultural event aimed at connecting and uniting Africa using performing arts as a tool to change the narrative while fostering unity, collaboration and integration in Nigeria and across Africa to a global audience.