By Chris Onuoha
The Ben Enwonwu Foundation (BEF) in partnership Alliance Française (AF) Lagos has unveiled the Artist-In-Residence creative project called “Lagos Creative Project 2020”
In a press conference held on Thursday at Alliance Française, the organisers BEF and AF, while declaring open, call for entries exclusively for contemporary visual artists, stated that the project which kick-starts in the third quarter of the year; July to September, and October to December at Alliance Française/Mike Adenuga Center in Lagos is a two section project that will focus on experimentation and new possibilities in painting and sculpture being the two mediums the Late Prof Ben Enwonwu excelled in. They further explained that the residency will also welcome works in all areas of visual arts and it is open to artists of African and French descent.
The Executive Director, Ben Enwonwu Foundation, Oliver Enwonwu, explained that the programme which has been declared open, ends on March 20th for submission. The submitted entries from interested artists will be adjudged by five renowned art experts that include Charles Courdent, Director of Alliance Française (AF) Lagos; Tamzin Lovell-Miller, founder and chief executive officer of Artfundi; Azu Nwagbogu, founder and director of the African Artists’ Foundation (AAF); Touria El Glaoui, founder, the 1-54 art fair and Bruce Onobrakpeya, Nigerian painter, sculptor and printmaker. Two qualified artists will be selected per section for the residency project.
“The programme encourages applications that engage Lagos as a megacity by exploring themes that preoccupied Enwonwu mind throughout his career. These thoughts include identity, the body, gender equality, spirituality and religion, peace and conflict resolution and environmental sustainability,” says Enwonwu. He further stated that during their stay, residents will immerse themselves in the increasingly vibrant Lagos art scene, through introductions to local artists, events, academic institutions among others. “They will also be expected to engage with the public through open studios, workshops, artist talks and focused discussions,” he added.
Also speaking at the briefing, Charles Courdent, Director, Alliance Française stated that; “The project seeks to foster cross cultural ties and exchange between the African countries and France by providing a platform for them to broaden their practice, nurture new forms and ideas, establish networks and develop collaboration projects.”
He further explained that AF collaboration with Oliver Enwonwu who has been appointed as the Vice President, Alliance Française, Lagos will further foster work relationship between BEF and AF for art and artistic visibility in Nigeria and Africa in general. According to him, this particular maiden edition focuses on Nigerian artists alone and the subsequent ones to come will include other African countries as participants. The artists will also enjoy robust opportunities to interact with international artists, visits to France museums and galleries and others.