By Japhet Alakam
The Omenka gallery Ikoyi, witnessed unusual visitors as art lovers, collectors, artists and people with a heart of gold converged at the place for a group exhibition tagged Dear Nigeria, Dear Friends, an exhibition of recent works by some of the most established artists in Nigeria.
The artists include, Fidelis Odogwu, George Edozie, Alex Nwokolo, Gerry Nnubia, Francis Uduh and Abraham Uyovbisere. They are well known faces in the art scene and have exhibited widely as individuals and group, but in this exhibition, they are united in a course other than their usual love of art and making money and the sole aim is raising funds for the underprivileged Makoko community,
which can be seen as giving back to the society through their works.
The high profile exhibition which features 32 works in divers media opened on the 25th and will run till December 7 was put together by the Literacy Integration and Formal Education (LIFE) Foundation in collaboration with Alliance Française, to fund LIFE Foundation’s literacy projects in Makoko, the economically disadvantaged community on the lagoon beside Yaba, Lagos.
A look at the body of works on display reveal the mastery of the art by the artists who has exhibited widely. Some of the works include, Social club, The Source 1V, Water Fiesta, Torso by Fidelis Odogwu; Faith IV, Underwear, Urban housing by George Edozie; Tree of life Balogun market IV&V by Alex Nwokolo ; Wet Dreams, Argungun Fishing Festival Afro Jazz by Gerry Nnubia Gentleman, Humility by Francis Uduh and Downtown GRA1,11& 111, V, Downtown GRA Sunset by Abraham Uyovbisere.
A critical view of the works shows the spark of creativity that endears Nigerian art to the world. Individually, the works are strong and offer a glimpse, as well as a deeper understanding of the artists’ techniques and working methods. Though offering a broad range of styles and media, the artists are united in their support for the economically disadvantaged Makoko community.
According to founder and president of the LIFE Foundation, Elvira Salleras, “In the last two years, with the invaluable support of sponsors and volunteers, we have executed various projects in that community, including rebuilding a primary school, facilitating 2 medical missions, organising seasonal parties, equipping a school library and distributing books, teaching aids and 1,000 pairs of sandals to school children.”
Speaking on Nigeria’s rich cultural heritage and the reason for collaborating, Charles Courdent, director of Alliance Française Lagos remarks, “Music, dance, fashion, but also sculpture and painting are ubiquitous in Nigerian cultural universe… We sincerely thank LIFE for bringing this wonderful project alive: they do a fabulous work to give hope to children, by giving shining colours to a dark world!”
Literacy, Integration and Formal Education foundation was incorporated in 2006 with the main objective of promoting the welfare and best interests of orphans and vulnerable children, through formal education and social integration.