Gov. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State has called on young people to use their talents constructively to promote Nigerian values and improve social cohesion.
Ugwuanyi made the call at the grand finale of 2019 Life in My City Art Festival (LIMCAF) held on Sunday at the Institute of Management and Technology (IMT), Enugu.
Reports have it that the MTN Foundation sponsored the LIMCAF exhibition and Award ceremony.
Ugwuanyi said while thanking the organisers, that the event had become a platform for young Nigerians to share their creativity and for attracting visitors from across the country and beyond.
He said that the event had put the state on the national tourism map and also a means of creating wealth and generating revenue for the people.
“I congratulate all the contestants and winners.
”I also thank the organisers of LIMCAF 2019 and the sponsor, MTN Foundation, for putting us on the national tourism map and for giving Enugu an enabling platform to showcase our hospitality.
“I enjoin everybody to continue supporting young talents so that as we grow our arts and showcase our talents, we will continue to foster unity and national integration,” he said.
Mr Dennis Okoro, Director at the MTN Foundation, said it supported the event because of its desire to reawaken love for Nigeria through arts and culture.
Okoro said that the MTN Foundation supported the festival as part of its Arts and Culture Courses, through which it had sponsored some art, poetry and theatre productions.
He said the Foundation had sponsored plays like Fela and the Kalakuta Queens, Agbarho, Jungle Story 2, Emotan and initiatives like the Nigerian Universities Theatre Arts Festival and the Lagos International Poetry Festival.
“Our support for this national event stems from a desire to see a reawakening of Nigerian arts and culture as a fulcrum for national cohesion.
”Of course, a world without art is a world devoid of colour,” he said.
The Obi of Onitsha, Igwe Alfred Achebe, said the theme of the event, ‘The Other Side ‘ tallied with the works on display which were a vivid rendition of today’s relevant issues.
Achebe, who was also LIMCAF patron, said the event was coming on a day that would have been the 115th birthday of Nigeria’s first president, Nnamdi Azikiwe.
He enjoined the participating artists to emulate the footsteps of the country’s visual legends, Bruce Onobrakpeya and Yusuf Grillo.
Bruce Onobrakpeya, a celebrated Nigerian printmaker, painter and sculptor, said that LIMCAF was unprecedented in the development of modern contemporary art in Nigeria.
According to him, the festival brings home to everybody, especially to the parents of practitioners, the social and economic value of art.
The Executive Director, LIMCAF, Mr Kevin Ejiofor, described the finale as “an accurate representation of the ability of our young artists to imagine our society in new, bold and provocative ways.”
NAN reports that the 2019 edition, saw young artists thrilled seasoned art collectors, celebrities, and art lovers with paintings, mixed media creations and sculptures, which spoke to the theme, “The Other Side”.
NAN also reports that the festival was billed as the largest gathering of young artists, patrons, scholars, gallery owners and other stakeholders in the visual arts in Nigeria.
It reports that the festival was the culmination of a process that saw a record 507 entries from 24 States and eight zonal exhibitions.
No fewer than 100 artists participated in the finale that included exhibitions in Abuja, Benin, Ibadan, Lagos, Ondo, Port Harcourt, Uyo and Zaria.
Victor Olaoye, whose exhibit was a charcoal medium painting titled ‘Angel among gods’, won the 2019 LIMCAF.
Olaoye smiled home with a cash prize of N500,000 and would have the honour of representing Nigeria at the Dakar Biennale, Senegal, in June 2020.