|A sculpture tittled Eclipse (wood,121.5cm x 152cm, 2020), by Iyke Okenyi.|
Over 25 sculptors in Nigeria beat the lockdown in Lagos and Kaduna States to celebrate International Sculpture Day 2020. Held across the world on every last Saturday of April, the International Sculpture Day was first celebrated in 2015.
As early as February, a Lagos-based professional group of artists, Sculptors Association of Nigeria (ScAN) announced its programmes for the year, which included conference and art exhibition. While the conference was held before the lockdown, the exhibition, titled Now Sculpture, scheduled to hold in April at National Museum, Onikan, Lagos has been postponed. The artists, had clarified that the online exhibition will not feature works previously submitted for the postponed and main national show.
Olu Amoda, Bola Adalumo, Idowu Sonaya, Prof Edewor Nelson, Dr Uwa Usen, Yinka Fabayo, Dr Kenny Badaru, Dr Okay Ikenegbu, Dr Ken Kolie, Muraina Akeem. Eric Okah, Akande Pedro, Dr Adeola Balogun, Oladimeji Oluwagbemiga, Nsikan Ekwere and Ebong Ekwere, among others exhibited on the virtual platform.
"The creative spirit of man operates beyond the realm of physical (3d) dimensions of human space; and so cannot be subject to physical restriction of a pandemic lockdown," stated Secretary Genreal of ScAN, Dr. Shola Kukoyi. "Though ScAN members are in full compliance with government directive of lockdown, we have not relented in practice." He assured that ScAN members' "creative spirit has continued unabated, in fact; with a renewed vigor."
Titled Sculpture: Beyond Lockdown, the virtual exhibition, which featured recent and old works of members, according to the group, "remains opened online till ceasation of the lockdown."
For art lecturers of Ahmadu Bello University in (ABU), Zaria, Kaduna State, the International Sculpture Day 2020 was marked in symbolic online display. "The International Sculpture Day, an initiative of the International Sculpture Center, held at Ahmadu Bello University in Zaria in a virtual form with the Sculpture Lecturers posting e-posters to create awareness around the immediate community," stated Prof Tonie Okpe.
Listed among participants are Prof Okpe, Dr. Ken Okoli, Dr. Muyideen Adio Jaji, Dr. Wesley Emmanuel Okachi, Dr. Lamidi Lasisi and Dr. Kevin Damden.
Earlier, on April 15, artists from few countries celebrated World Art Day, which first emerged in 2012. And for the first time, UNESCO got involved with the 2020 celebration. From 2-4 p.m, a virtual event themed ResiliArt, which featured debate over the challenges faced by artists was launched by UNESCO. Audrey Azoulay, UNESCO Director-General who launched ResiliArt stated: "Our Organization would thus like to pay tribute to the solidarity shown by artists and institutions at a time when art is suffering the full force of the effects of a global health, economic and social crisis."
Unlike the World Art Day, which, for the first time last year got the recognition of UNESCO, the International Sculpture Day is yet to be so listed among the global cultural body's events. The first International Sculpture Day was celebrated in many countries across the world, including Germany, U.S, England, China, Australia, Spain and Mexico. The next year, according to records had 20 nations held different events to celebrate the International Sculpture Day. Nigeria, Australia, Denmark, Poland, Canada, France, Burkina, among others were listed among countries that celebrated the second edition.
Among the diverse events were artists talks, open studios, demonstrations, competition, workshops, public art tours, open museums, brown bag lunches, sculpture scavenger hunts, book signings, foundry pours and pop up exhibitions.