By Dennis Agbo
THE dire need for further integration amongst Nigerian people and her diversities was once more brought to the fore when visual artists, art administrators, curators, enthusiasts, teachers and every other lover and practitioner of art converged for the 2019 Grand finale of Life In My City Art Festival, LIMCAF, last Saturday Night in Enugu.
LIMCAF which started 13 years ago in Enugu, is an exhibition of visual arts that also carries in the festival, other forms of arts such as Dance, Drama, Music and sociological expressions. The intermediality arouses consciousness of art and a platform for young artists’ excellence.
In the audience were Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State, HRH, the Obi of Onitsha, Igwe Nnaemeka Achebe; Doyen of art, Bruce Onobrakpeya; Art Teacher, Prof Ola Olaide; former Chief Judge of Anambra State, Justice Peter Umeadi (rtd); Elder Kalu Uke; Mr. Dennis Okoro of MTN Foundation; founder of LIMCAF, Chief Robert Oji; Mr. Kelvin Ejiofor; Nsikak Essien; among many others.
The Gala and Award Night was spiced with dramatic and melodious folklore songs and dances by the Enugu chamber choir as well as the Akaraka Dance Troupe that performed a mixture of different dances, including the Ohafia war dance, the Atilogwu cultural dance and other dance dramas.
Chairman of the LIMCAF Board, Elder Kalu Uke said the festival positions art in social development, noting that “it’s also in evidence that that Life In My City Art Festival based in Enugu is becoming a relevant thread in the effort being made to unite and strengthen the social fabric of our fragile nation.”
Uke disclosed that the 13th edition was special in some ways such that the festival held in November instead of its traditional month of October because of the closure of Enugu airport and received 550 entries from young visual artists across the country. He said that the embrace made the board restructure the 2019 competition into nine primary exhibition centers in Zaria, Ondo, Lagos, Abuja, Ibadan, Benin, Uyo, Port Harcourt and Enugu.
The Art Director disclosed that courtesy of LIMCAF Patron, Professor El Anatsui, in addition to the prizes for the first six winners of the year, the six young artists, owners of the winning works, will join the 2018 top winners on an all expense paid visit to Dak’Art Biennale, in Dakar Senegal
“This is an unprecedented happening in the annals of art promotion in Nigeria. There were four of them in 2018; there will be 12 of them going to Dakar in 2020, all on the platform of Life In My City Art Festival, all sponsored by Professor El Anatsui,” Uke disclosed.
The winners of the 2019 contest include Victor Olaoye, who won the top prize for his charcoal medium painting, ‘Angel among gods’, and a cash prize of N500,000 and an all expenses paid trip to the Dak’Art Biennale in Dakar Senegal in June 2020.
The second prize went to Toritseju Favour Clark, who won N250, 000 and a scholarship to attend Bruce Onobrakpeya’s Harmattan Workshope in February 2020; while the third prize went to Samson Ejiofor, who won two scholarships and a cash prize of N150, 000. Bruce Onobrakpeya stated that the basis for the festival was to nurture the artist child, adding that the advantage was that the artists challenge themselves without guidance.