Saturday 24 December 2011


Echoes of vibrant art in Documenting Changes

By Tajudeen Sowole
 An installation work of Uche Uzorka and Chike Obeago has been adjudged the best among the 12 works at the 2011 edition of African Artists Foundation’s (AAF) national art competition tagged Documenting changes in our Nation.
  Mural size mixed media work of Gerard Chukwuma and an assemblage in photography by Olayinka Sangotoye won the second and third prizes in that order.
  After the announcement of the winners at the grand finale and exhibition, held at The Civic Centre, Victoria Island, Lagos, the organisers, AAF and Nigerian Breweries Plc presented a dummy cheques of N2m to the duo of Uzorka and Obeago; Gerard Chukwuma, N1.5m; and Olayinka Sangotoye, N1m.     
 Aside the cash prizes won by the three winners, the depth of creativity in the works of the 13 finalists was awesome.
  Before one of the special guests, novelist, Chimamanda Adichie announced the winners, chairman of the jury and painter, Sam Ovraiti commented that the works “beat my imagination.”
  According to him, the panel went as far as having interaction with the finalists to gain deep insight into their works. Some of them, he said, “made good points, others did not impress.”
  However, two of the criteria for selecting the three top winners, according to another member of the panel, Femi Lijadu, “are relevance to the theme and creativity.” Other members of the panel were the CEO of auction house, ArtHouse Contemporary, Mrs Kavita Chelleram; a lecturer from Delta State University, Dr Onyema Emeni; photographer, Caline Chagoury; CEO, Abraka turf and country club, Mr. Albert Esiri; art collector Akinsanya Femi; and director, Goethe Institut, Lagos, Marc-Andre Schmachtel.
 The Managing Director/CEO of NB Plc, Nico Velverde noted that, in four years, “the competition has grown from strength to strength.” On the theme, he explained, “it’s about knowing the past to be able to know the present.” He however insisted that every artist who participated “is a winner; the competition has enhanced their skills.”
  To one of the first prize winners, Uzorka, the confidence expressed during a press briefing held about two months before the grand finale appeared to have worked out for him. Shortly after receiving the prize, he however explained that “during the briefing, I was just talking out of pride for the art.”
First prize work of the AAF and NB Plc-organised national art competition 2011, by Uche Uzorka and Chike Obeago

  Babson Babajide, Jude Aogwih, Chris Echeta, Taiye Idahor, Samuel Palmtree Ifeanyichukwu, Chidinma Nnoron, Temitayo Ogunbiyi, Folashade Ogunlade and Erasmus Onyishi are among the 12 finalists “selected from a total 300 entries” for what the organisers described as the process of making art.”
  When the competition was announced, the director of AAF, Azu Nwagbogu stated that the fourth edition would place emphasis on the processes of art creation rather than on the end product. That process of making art, the organisers said, was a 14-day workshop in Abraka.
 AAF stated that with its renewed focus on artistic processes, “we will pursue rigorously for a three-year period starting this year, with the theme Process to Product. Artistic genres to be covered including painting, sculpture, photography, mixed media, installation and video art or a combination of all these mediums.”

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