By Olusegun Adeniyi
On October 27, 2018, I left Nigeria to attend the InSEA SEMINAR hosted by the Society for Arts Education in Namibia (SAEN) at Walvis Bay, Erongo Region, Namibia. It was aimed at promoting InSEA in African countries and to foster dialogue and sharing of praxis and research about education through art. The theme was: Building Social Cohesion through Arts Education. By and large, the conference was a great success as it has opened up opportunities for the art teachers, reignited passion and reawakened art education. And this international experience is invaluable for teachers and their students.
I ventured into art education two decades ago with the intention of making a difference, raise the standard of art education and advance the learning field of Art in Nigeria. Attending the InSEA Seminar has earned me a rare opportunity to be part of the group to improve on the access to quality art education and increase African participation in InSEA.
The InSEA conference in Namibia also birthed the InSEA Sub-Sahara Africa group. In the future, the InSEA Sub-Sahara Africa group championed by Dr. Christiana Afrikaner will be creating meaningful and stimulating art projects to improve creativity, art appreciation and awareness in the learning field of art in Sub-Sahara Africa region.
At the conference, for the second time, I submitted my students’ textile paintings from Caleb British International School, Lagos Nigeria to the InSEA Vice-President, Prof. Samia ElShaik for the Arts for Peace in Africa project. I also submitted students’ works of the following Art teachers from Nigeria: Mr. Aregbesola Akinola, Molipa High School (Junior), Ijebu Ode; Mr. Olusoji Sunday, Macjob Grammar School, Abeokuta; and Mrs. Koya, AGGS, Abeokuta.
Connecting Africa project: Promoting Education for Peace through Art is a collaborative project between NEPAD and InSEA aimed at advocating for Peace in Africa through art. The idea is to ask the art students to produce textile artwork based on the theme, Promoting Education for Peace through Art on A3 fabric/cloth using artistic techniques such as printing, dying, weaving, embroidery, appliqué and painting. The submitted pieces were later developed into patchworks. The first set of the patchwork was executed at the 3rd African and Middle East InSEA (International Society of Education through Art) Regional Congress/Amesea 2nd International Conference held at the October 6 University Campus, Cairo, Egypt in April, 2018.
Another contribution from Nigeria to the Arts for Peace in Africa project is the Africa Peace project collage globe created from Adire textiles made by my art students at Caleb British International School, Nigeria (Tie and Dye; resist technique method of designing fabric. Adi, meaning ‘to tie’ and re, which means to dye’ using a variety of resist-dye techniques that reflect the culture, language and art tradition of the Yoruba people from Nigeria). In Africa, clothing influences us and defines our identity, tribal and cultural orientation, and helps to uphold our cultural values.
Textile is an integral part of our culture and the fabric is a flexible material consisting of a network of natural or artificial fibers (yarn or thread). What makes up the whole is an extension of different yarns. The message there for all of us is, if we can see other people as an extension of us despite their cultural differences and races, this continent will be a better place for all of us. The Africa Peace project collage globe is about promoting peace and preserving the African cultural heritage through ART.