Sunday 23 June 2024

How Prince William, Musawa others celebrated Olagoke's British honour

Lanre Olagoke MBE with his wife, Simone, displaying his award inside Windsor castle, shortly after the ceremony led by Prince William.

THE Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE) award to Nigerian-British artist, Lanre Olagoke started at Windsor Castle, U.K. Conferring the MBE on Olagoke, representative of the British monarchy, Prince William described Olagoke's activism in art as long service to humanity.

 Prince William said Olagoke has achieved "great things" in "long service" as well as "considerable achievements." The prince noted that the youths that went through Olagoke's Art-Alive Trust activities have made "selfless commitment to their communities." 

 Few days after the award ceremony, the Minister of Arts, Culture and Creative Economy, Hannatu Musa Musawa, noted that the MBE honour to Olagoke exposed the artist as a visionary professional. The Minister who joined other Nigerians in the UK at a post-award gathering organised in honour of Olagoke also assured that the Federal Government of Nigeria would be willing to support in extending the gains of his honour to the Nigerian creative environment. Former Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo; Bisi Ilaka, former aide to Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde; and renowned  illustrator and artist, Bob Murdock, among others attended the post-award party. 

 In January, the British government announced Olagoke among over 1,000 recipients from diverse to receive the king's honour. “The New Year Honours List recognises the exceptional achievements of people across the country and those who have shown the highest commitment to selflessness and compassion,” British Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak announced the recipients. “To all honourees, you are the pride of this country and an inspiration to us all.”

 Speaking to an excited audience of Nigerians at an elite Club in London, Olagoke said he will formally present his MBE to Nigeria, through the President, Bola Ahmed Tinubu-led Federal Government. Olagoke is the fourth Nigerian artist, after Aina Onabolu (1882-1963)Ben Enwonwu (1917-1994), and Yinka Shonibare that got the MBE honour. Olagoke has been honoured was for his Art-Alive Arts Trust (AAAT). 

 "It is my honor to celebrate the remarkable achievements of an extraordinary artist, visionary, and founder of Art-Alive UK, Sir Lanre Olagoke, MBE," Musawa enthused. "We not only appreciate his incredible art but also commend a man whose contributions to the world of art and community have earned him the prestigious recognition of being conferred by King Charles."

Represented at the event by her Deputy Personal Assistant, Amira Ibrahim, the minister noted that Olagoke is a name that resonates with passion, creativity, and a commitment to making the world a better place through art. She recalled that Olagoke's journey has been one of relentless dedication, transforming the artistic landscape and touching countless lives along the way. She explained that the  MBE honour represents a testament to Olagoke's significant impact and the high regard in which he is held. 

"Art-Alive had done quite a few activities outside the UK, including one in Lagos, empowering less privileged youths with creative knowledge," the artist explained. "With the support and encouragement coming from the Minister, Hanatu Musawa, I am further energised to do more, working with the Federal Government of Nigeria."

Musawa who is expected to lead the FG's creative agency in welcoming Olagoke back in Nigeria, later in the year agreed that Olagoke's honour goes beyond his personality."His recognition by King Charles is not just a personal accolade but a celebration of the power of art to make a difference," Musawa explained. "It highlights the importance of nurturing creativity and supporting artists who strive to bring positive change to society." 

 Olagoke founded Art-Alive Arts Trust, as a charity in the UK, in 1997, as a platform to help young people in various settings from primary schools to prisons access the arts. Olagoke's AAAT has been engaging participants in various art workshops within and outside the UK.

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