Saturday 3 March 2012

Putting Myself in the Picture… young artists on tour of U.K., U.S.

By Tajudeen Sowole
 IN line with its mission of grooming future artists and art enthusiasts, a group known as Peekok YouthARTS Initiatives (PYI) is partnering ArtLink Creative Connections based in the US for an international art project involving eight young artists selected from three schools in Nigeria.
  With Putting Myself in the Picture as theme, the exhibition, according to the PYI coordinator, Oluwanbe Amodu, will be staged in the United Kingdom as well as the U.S.
  Last year, five Nigerian students who participated in visual art and poetry contests were given award in the U.K., courtesy of Peekok YouthARTS. 

 Receiving her award, winner of the Global Canvas Poetry Competition 2011, Hikmat Ajose-Adeogun of AOCOED Intl School flanked by Loius Barnett and David Shepherd of Natural History Museum, London, U.K.

  For the 2012 tour, the Nigerian representatives are: Omokanye Oluwatamilore Mary-Ann, Ejiro Ideh, Victor-Kukoyi Obaloluwa, Onome Andrea Isioroh and Ogweh  Awele of Kingdom Heritage Model School Ogba;  Laura Evbuoman and Onyekachukwu Chuka, Bethview International School, Gowon Estate Iyana Ipaja; Ojerele Babajide, a regular participant in the Peekok YouthARTS, from Nickdel School, Surulere, Lagos.
  The exhibition and award presentation is scheduled to hold on March 15 as Children's Global Canvas at the Natural History Museum, London, and May 17, 2012 at the Maritime Aquarium Norwalk Connecticut U.S.
  Amodu, however appeals for “sponsorship so as to enable these children experience international art exhibition with their peers abroad.”
  Lack of support, he recalled, prevented one of last year’s awardees, Babajide from making the trip. And as the young artist is also included in the 2012 edition after winning 4 international awards in the U.K. and U.S. since 2010, Amodu however hoped that “this year we would get him sponsorship from the cooperate bodies and also the concern individuals.”
  The coordinator noted that the theme “allows children to creatively express the most interesting parts of their cultural experiences and share with partners in the United States.”
 A total of 21 countries, he disclosed, would be participating. This includes Gambia, Kenya, Senegal and Uganda as well as others from Europe and Asia.
  Explaining the benefits of the competition, Amodu stated that the participating students will not only examine and enjoy the art from overseas, they will also gain new insights into the other participants’ cultures. This is in addition to sharing experiences with one another “by posting thoughtful written responses and photos,” he noted.
  He noted that there was dearth of art classes in schools across the country and appealed to governments on enhancing the art in schools. He argued that art education could help in reducing the alarming rate of unemployment in Nigeria. 
  Perhaps, charity begins from home, hence “we are also appealing to private school owners and parents to support their children who are interested in art or any creative work.”   
 On the general activities of Peekok, he explained that “we teach and encourage the children to participate in international art and poetry competitions.
1) What is the project all about?
  Peekok YouthARTS is an innovation for after school training and art education programme for children and youths under the age of 25.
Aims and Objectives include creating, implementing and enhancing artistic exposure, self-discovery and youth commitment to art education in every part of the country.

 “We also develop artistic skills among individuals for self expression, thereby enhancing a sense of accomplishment, self esteem and self worth.
  “To improve positive social attitudes and develop thinking skills, reduce juvenile delinquency through provision of a year round and after school art educative programmes, provide individuals with high quality of job training and with meaningful employment.”  
  The initiative started in December 2007 by a group of young professional artists who met at the Top-12 Youthwork projects seminar organized by British Council Nigeria and Youngstars Foundation Int’l, Jos, Plateau State. They deliberated on how to take part in Youth Development Work. PYI started its operations in Jos, Plateau State but now operates fully in FCT Abuja, Lagos, Oyo, Osun, and Delta States through the cooperation and networking of professional artists.
  "Our targets are pupils in primary schools and students in the Junior and Senior Secondary Schools in Nigeria. Many of these pupils and students are blessed with artistic skills and talents, but they lack the opportunities that would help them to flourish."
  Among the foundation members are Tunji Akinloye, Olawale Ayinde Oguntoye and Oriyomi Joseph Oluwafemi.

 Sole Administrator of AOCOED, Mrs Elizabeth Ajayi (left), Ajose-Adeogun, Gandonu Peters, Shepherd, Third Prize Winner, Art Adedotun Abdulkadir, Second Prize, Art Mesawaku Sewanu, Korie Chukwuemeka (First Prize, Art) and Olawale Chukwuma (Third Prize, Art)

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