By Japhet Davidson
IN continuation of the trend set from the beginning of the Festival 13 years ago to ensure the highest level of integrity and excellence in the judging process by appointing the very best of practitioners, scholars and curators in contemporary art in Nigeria with occasional inclusion of foreign experts into the jury panel, so that only the indisputable best of our young artists emerge from the exercise every year, the Board of Trustees of the youth empowerment NGO Life In My City Art Festival (LIMCAF) 2019 has approved the recommendations of the Central Organising Committee for the appointment of the Members of the National Jury Panel 2019 with Mr. Nsikak Essien as Chairman.
Nsikak Essien is one of the best known full time studio artists of his generation. He was a founding member of the famous AKA Circle of Exhibiting Artists which included other stalwarts such as El Anatsui, Bona Ezeudu, Obiora Anidi and the late great Okpu Eze among others. He studied art at the Insititute of Management and Technology Enugu, graduating with Distinction in Painting as Best Overall Graduate and winner of the Fasuyi Best National Art Graduate in Painting in 1979.
After an eleven year stint as lecturer in his alma mater from 1980 to 1991, Essien opted for fulltime studio work, from which he has continued to enchant the world of art lovers with acclaimed productions shown in solo and group exhibitions including permanent ones in many very highly visible venues.
A statement issued at the end of the meeting by Dr. Ayo Adewunmi, Art Director of the Festival noted that the appointment of Essien is in continuation of the trend set from the beginning of the Festival 13 years ago.
The statement noted that in the last three years a deliberate policy directed by the Board of Trustees had also resulted in the inclusion of younger talents from the pool of past overall winners who have distinguished themselves and advanced their careers notably further, to join the regional and the national jury panels. The aim is to ensure continuity and help build leadership in the Nigeria art landscape both in academia as well as among studio practitioners and in the art industry generally. Adewunmi added that LIMCAF’s in this regard is to continue to contribute significantly to the robust growth of the art industry in Nigeria.
Other members of the National Jury 2019 include: Mr. Sam Ovraiti, a consumer artist and a notable Nigerian artist from the Auchi colourist school,Erasmus Onyishi, an experimentalist and one of the ten artists presented by El Anatsui in the controversial “New Energies” exhibition in 2001, Klaranze Okhide, a Nigerian Visual Artist and Educator and Dr Lasisi Lamidi, of Sculpture from Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria.
These distinguished members of the Jury Panel will be joined later by a nominee of the French Cultural Institue . He also gratefully acknowledged the role and support of our other sponsors and donors including especially MTN and First Bank Holdings.