By Ayo Onikoyi
Dignitaries including the Executive Governor of Enugu State, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi and the Obi of Onitsha, His Royal Majesty, Igwe Alfred Nnaemeka Achebe called on young people to constructively use their talents to promote Nigerian values, social cohesion and national development.
Speaking at the exhibition and awards ceremony of the 2019 ‘Life in My City Art Festival (LIMCAF)’ sponsored by MTN Foundation, which took place at the International Conference Centre, IMT, Enugu on Saturday, 16 November, 2019, the leading traditional ruler, who is also the patron of LIMCAF, said the works on display at the festival were a vivid rendition of today’s relevant issues and encouraged the artists in attendance to emulate the footsteps of the country’s visual legends such as Bruce Onobrakpeya and Yusuf Grillo.
Governor Ugwuanyi on his part thanked the organisers of the festival for their patriotism and for growing the event to be an enabling platform for young Nigerians to share their creativity and by attracting visitors from within and outside the state and the country, firmly put the state on the national tourism map and a path to creating wealth and generating revenue for its people.
This year’s edition, which was supported by the MTN Foundation, saw young artists thrill seasoned art collectors, celebrities, art lovers with paintings, mixed media creations and sculptures which spoke to the theme, “The Other Side.:
The art festival, billed as the largest gathering of young artists, patrons, scholars, gallery owners and other stakeholders in the visual arts in Nigeria, was the culmination of a process that saw a record 507 entries from 24 states and eight zonal exhibitions, including showings in Abuja, Benin City, Ibadan, Lagos, Ondo, Port Harcourt, Uyo and Zaria. One hundred artists were chosen to show their creations at the finale.
Speaking at the festival, the Executive Director of the Life in My City Art Festival, Mr Kevin Ejiofor called the finale “an accurate representation of the ability of our young artists to imagine our society in new, bold and provocative ways.”
The MTN Foundation supported the festival as part of its Arts and Culture Causes, through which it has sponsored some of Nigeria’s most compelling art, poetry and theatre productions. For almost a decade, the Foundation has sponsored acclaimed plays including Fela and the Kalakuta Queens, Agbarho, Jungle Story 2, Emotan and initiatives such the Nigerian Universities Theatre Arts Festival and the Lagos International Poetry Festival to name a few.