Six artists from among over 400 illustrators, Storyboard Artists, and Animators across the country who entered for the Merrybet Sketchathon World Cup Art Storytelling Contest during the just concluded world cup tourney emerged winners of the contest and have been awarded fabulous cash prizes barely a fortnight after the world cup ended.

The online art contest which kicked off on June 14 with a call for entry through various media, closed entries on July 10 with a record of over 400 illustrators, storyboard artists, and animators from across the country contesting in a two prong tasks, #EaglesWinning11 and #WorldWinning11, of creating stunning and inspiring illustrations, storyboard and animation about the FIFA World Cup tourney in Russia for cash prizes worth N2 million.

Nearly, all 400 artists met the deadline and six artists were adjudged winners of the six categories namely Best Animation in #EaglesWinning11; Best Storyboard in #EaglesWinning11; Best Illustration in #EaglesWinning11; Best Animation in #WorldWinning11; Best Storyboard in WorldWinninh11; and lastly Best Illustration in #WorldWinning11.

At the prize presentation ceremony which took place recently at the Merrybet corporate office in Lagos, Lagos-based Contestant, Olugbenga Awoyemi got the prize of Best Animation in #EaglesWinning11 worth N500,000.00 while his counterpart in the #WorldWinning11 category, also resident in Lagos, Duru Azubuike walked away with a prize of N500,000.00.

For Best Storyboard, Kwara State based Contestant, Dayo Richard and Port Harcourt based Wisdom Friday both received N300,000.00 each in the #EaglesWinning11 and #WorldWinning11 categories respectively. Omolade Anigioro and Segun Ijilola both based in Lagos received N200,000.00 each as prize for the Best Illustration in both categories respectively.

According to Awoyemi, telling stories through art is freedom for him to express himself. “I love to tell stories through the medium of art, especially through animation because it gives me freedom to express myself and tell whatever story I can imagine. My vision as an animator is to create contents that will satisfy Disneyworld and get nods from quarters like Pixar animation and Dreamworks”. He enthused.

Speaking about his work, Duru Azubuike said that he was inspired by the 33-year old forward player in the Portugal team, Cristiano Ronaldo. “I worked on the #WorldWinning11 competition. I was able to show the emotions, expression, atmosphere, tension and determination. Cristiano Ronaldo being the man of the match in clash between Portugal and Spain is a player who inspired a lot of people by his last goal, thereby telling you that it’s never too late and one should never give up in life.”

The winners hailed the contest describing the Merrybet Sketchathon World Cup Art Contest as a novel initiative in marrying sports and art to generate incisive branded content, encouraging young artists and forming a community of artists where both amateurs and professionals can interact and collaborate.

In response, the CEO, Merrybet Gold Ltd, Mr. Opeoluwa Fashakin thanked the artists for honoring the call for entry and participating in the contest. “Artists are humans and football fans as well who share in the energy and emotions of soccer but while we all generally tell our stories verbally; this contest gives them the platform to spark up their creative prowess and spur them to tell their stories through their talents and the art they are very much passionate about.

In a way, the initiative is a corporate social responsibility we took on to encourage young artists, engage them in productive ways and generally give them the platform to enjoy their art in the context of the world cup tourney.”

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