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LIMCAF transforms coal city to art city

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…. as Ifedilichukwu Chibuike wins the overall prize of N500,000

By Japhet Alakam

IT was a night of celebration of creativity, excellence, originality or what one can describe as the birth of a new dawn for art in the coal city, as the art community again witnessed the presentation of prizes to the winners of 2018 edition of Life in My City Art Festival, LIMCAF one of the most consistent art competitions in the country for Nigerian youths, held last Saturday in the Enugu State capital, Enugu .

*Enigma, the winning work by Ifedilichukwu Chibuike

The venue was the International Conference Centre, IMT Enugu, and as expected it was another gathering of art patrons, collectors, lovers including the state governor and host, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi; Special Guest of honour, Engineer Prince Yemisi Shyllon; the Obi of Onitsha, Igwe Alfred Nnaemeka Achebe; HRH Lawrence Agubuzu, Chairman, Enugu council of traditional rulers, Denis Okoro of MTN Foundation, Mr Nnamdi Amala of Firstbank Plc and a host of others.

Indeed it was a night that art works spoke, as the entrance to the hall both down and up were filled with various art works courtesy of the last 50 works submitted for the 2018 grand finale.

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Apart from the works, it was also a night of great performance as the African vocals demonstrated to the people what they were made of with wonderful rendition of songs that received applause from the audience.

For the guests who came from far and wide for the final, it was commendation galore from all angles for the organisrs of LIMCAF for the improvement and sustenance of the festival. In fact, one of them, an art enthusiat and one who has followed the LIMCAF project  and other art fairs for years after a tour of the best 50 works displayed said, “This is awesome, great creative exercise, the organisers should continue with this great initiative as it enables the upcoming artists to put in their best”.

For the finalists, it was the longest period of waiting as their faces were filled with expectations, their heart beats went up and down intermitently through out the night as they prayed to be the overall winner.

Then came the most expected hour, 25 out of the 50 contestants who made it to the finals were called out  and the elimination stage began. One by one the number began to reduce and at the end, it was only one man  left standing, the man of the night, young Ifedilichukwu Chibuike, a Fine and Applied Art graduate of IMT from Enugu zone who had participated in many editions without success that smiled home as the Overall Winner of the 2018 edition of the festival with a prize money of half a million naira and a trip to Dak’Art Biennale.

Ifedilichukwu‘s work titled Enigma, made with copper wire, wool, long play record and white knub and 4/5 feet, which according to the artist best describes the impunity in the nation was picked by the panel of judges headed by Prof. Frank Ogiomoh as the best entry for the year.

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Chibuike was followed by the three category prize winners of N250.000 each and  trip to Dak’Art Biennale. And the winners were Popoola Nurudeen from Lagos zone,with his entry Ireti  won the Best painting/Mixed media. Best Sculpture/Installation/Ceramics went to Sale Godday Okwosi from Ibadan zone, with his entry Recyle, while Badru Taofek from Ibadan zone, with the entry 16:59 won Best Textile Art.

Many artists were also rewarded with prizes endowed by some goodhearted Nigerians and organisations. The Justice Anthony Aniagolu Prize for Originality was won by Okewu Jonathan with his work,  Dancing in Bullets and in Brokeness, Dr. Pius Okigbo Prize for Technical Proficiency was won by David Babatunde with a work  Ise Aro).

*From right, Obi of Onitsha, Igwe Nnaemeka Achebe, Prince Yemisi Shyloon, Mr Ken Ike Okere and Ifedilichukwu Chibuike, overall winner during the presentation of the cheque

Also, the Lawrence Agada Prize for the Most Promising Young Artist was won by Edward Samuel with  The Gaze; the VinMartin Ilo Prize for the Outstanding work from Enugu was won by Ejiofor Samson Maduabuchi with  The Sound of Ikoro.

The Mfon Usoro Prize for Outstanding work from Uyo/Calabar Zone, was won by Usoro Otobong with the work entitled  Twilight of Morality; Thought Pyramid Prize for the Outstanding work from Abuja was won by Adeshina Adeolu with  Focus ; Thought Pyramid Prize for the Outstanding work from Auchi/Benin/Delta was won by Owoyemi Taiwo Sola with  Make Hay Before Twilight.

Others include Alliance Francaise Network Prize won by Badru Taofek, Rele Gallery Award won by Okewu Jonathan and Online- Viewers Choice Award won by Moses Oyeleye, with the work, Abused.

Besides, 12 consolation prizes and certificate of participation were given to other artists who didn’t win the major and endowed prizes, ensuring that all the 25 finalists went home with something for their efforts in reaching the last 50.

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Earlier in his speech, the special quest of honour, who also doubled as the Chairman , Prince Yemisi Shyllon commended the organisers, the sponsors and others who contributed to the success for their good work. “This is something we should be doing which we are doing. And some of us decide to do that,I commend them. Museums have been described  as where demons are kept and people fear it because we don’t have events like this.

Continuing, he stated that art is a veritable component of  toursim and toursim contributes greatly to the country’s GDP.  He however pointed out that the country’s art is growing through private initiatives, “we have art fairs in Lagos, Enugu will be the next destination. In the nearest future Nigeria will be able to host two art fairs like others” he added.

He also commended the Agbogidi, Igwe Achebe for what he is doing in the art, noting that if we have many like him, the story of art will be something else, urging all to continue to support art.

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On his part, Agbogidi, Igwe Nnaemeka Achebe who confessed that he is part of the festival stated that LIMCAF, which is the longest running art festival in Nigeria started on a modest ground and has been growing. The works have been improving every year. He however urged the government to do the needful by supporting art.

“The private efforts we will not relent but the government must do what other governments are doing and support art”, he added.

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