Monday, 4th of February 2019, marked the birthday of the Nigeria-based Ghanaian artist, El Anatsui. In appreciation of the enormous contributions and impact of this internationally renowned giant of the visual arts, series of remarkable events took place in several parts of the globe to honour emeritus Prof. El Anatsui, Africa’s most celebrated visual artist of the 21st Century, particularly in Nigeria and in his homeland, Ghana.
One of such remarkable events was a special group arts exhibition, tagged: Igwebuike, exhibition of Sculpture in honour of El-Anatsui (Odogwu at 75).
The exhibition which took place on 2nd February, 2019 was attended by Enugu Sports Club officials, academic staff of the sculpture unit, Department of Fine and Applied Art, University of Nigeria, Nsukka and well-wishers who accompanied El Anatsui was held at the National Arts Gallery, 1 Temple Avenue, GRA, Enugu.
At the opening of the exhibition which was flagged off by Prof. Obiora Anidi, Anatsui promised to participate in the subsequent edition of the art event that has now become an annual ritual.
Some of the leading artists in the UNN Sculpture sub-section whose works featured at the exhibition were, Dr. Chijioke Onuora, Dr Ekene Anikpe, Dr. Eva Obodo, Mr. Uche Onyishi, Dr. Chike Akabuike and several others.
The occasion was also graced by some of the founding members of AKA Group of artists, the likes of Bona Eze Udu, Chris Afuba, Tayo Adenaike e.t.c
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The climax of the El Anatsui week was on his birthday, 4th February, and the event was a birthday party exclusively for the elders of the Senior Staff Club at UNN. It was indeed an all-elders birthday bash in honour of one of theirs.
The occasion was garnished with elderly speeches, dance, jokes and birthday songs, with grand remarks from Emeritus Professor Onyegegbu, Professor Dave Onyejekwe, Professor Nnadozie Inyama, Professor Okoro Ijeoma, Professor Nnaemeka Ikpeze and the new club President, Professor Ejikeme.
The occasion became even more colorful when most of the elders joined Anatsui to cut his birthday cake and as an all-elders version of the familiar happy birthday song was intoned by Professor Nnadozie Inyama, with all the elders singing along with him as they wished Prof. Anatsui many more years ahead.