The Arts

October 12, 2020

Nigerbev: Opening new vistas in Art sponsorship

Nigerbev: Opening new vistas in Art sponsorship

By Osa Amadi

From the quality of his seed, the farmer can almost always know the quality of his crop. Similarly, it was possible for Art pundits to tell what a magnificent product Best Art Exhibition will grow to become, based on the quality of seed planted Sunday, October 4, 2020 by Nigerbev, producers of the Best range of alcoholic beverages – cream, whisky, gin and vodka.

The maiden edition of Best Art Exhibition sponsored by Nigerbev Limited in collaboration with Nike Art Gallery was marked by creative colours, quality attendance and glamour. It was also an occasion for the display of African culture through the artworks on display and the dresses wore by artists and guests.

Best Art Exhibition was conceived to also be a contest amongst visual artists.  Adewale Ojo, with his painting titled “Celebrations” won this maiden edition. Omoniyi Gabriel came second with “Pure Bliss”, while Onyinye Ezennaya’s “Suffering and Smiling” won the third prize.

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The jury, made up of Chief Dr (Mrs.) Nike Okundaye-Davies, Dr. Bolaji Ogunwo, Mr. Felix Aina, and Mr. Abiodun Badejo, had received 1442 works as entries from different artists. First shortlisting saw the selection of 162 works. In the second selection, a total of 80 works was chosen. It came down to 20 works in the third selection, and in the final stage, 10 artworks were selected.

The first prize went home with N500,000. The second prize won N250, 000, while the third prize got N100, 000.

Speaking at the event, the Managing Director, Nigerbev Limited, Heiko Arjes thanked all the artists who took time to submit wonderful artworks. He said the different works of art he saw in the past couple of months gave him a lot of joy: “It is not only a credit to you, but also a credit to Nigeria for churning out such wonderful people and wonderful citizens in the world.”

The MD said “It proves that we in Nigeria have no different skills, we have no different aspirations from people all over the world. It also shows what a wonderful talent there is in this country. And thanks to Chief Dr (Mrs.) Nike Okundaye-Davies and many other gallery owners. We thank them for supporting and encouraging this. It’s a wonderful thing.”

Heiko Arjes also thanked members of his organisation for working very hard for the success of the exhibition: “I also want to thank my team at Best for organising this. It has been a lot of work.”

The high point of the MD’s speech came when he said, “I now want to make a commitment on doing this on a yearly basis. This is the first year. Next year we would like to get a little bit more exposure overseas. I personally know some galleries in London. I know a couple of galleries in New York. And we would like to get them involved in this. And may be also have some of their top people get involved in the judging process.

“So, we will build on this. We wanted it to be a continuation of the celebration of Nigeria art. Congratulations to everybody who is part of this, especially all the finalists. I wish you good luck,” said Heiko Arjes.

The concept

Narrating how the idea of Best Art Exhibition was conceived, Head of Marketing, Nigerbev, Ololade Olu-Biala said it was a product of the company’s desire to engage their target audience and steer their minds away from the gloom that pervaded 2020 as a result of the coronavirus pandemic:

“For most of us, at the beginning of the year we had high hopes and quite sure we even went ahead to put down our goals for the year. Ten months into the year, we are all just grateful for being alive with most goals moved to the coming year. After all, only a living person can chase goals and be bothered about achieving them or not. The scenario just mentioned summarizes the current situation around the world with the Covid-19 pandemic. It’s been a period of gloom filled with a lot confusion and so many uncertainties and we wanted an activity with which to engage our target audience… chiefly as a way of easing their mood.

Why Art?

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Arts, especially in the context of Nigeria is always a medium of communication and expression. While always aesthetically pleasing, attention eliciting, something found to be a denominator for many artists and creatives is social consciousness and how that translates very often in the creation of thought-provoking pieces which will elicit a range of emotions among the collectors and art audiences. You’ll see from the pieces on display…. depiction of emotions, lived realities showing resilience, survival and expressions of social consciousness. Particularly in 2020 which has been a very challenging year for the world, expression through arts is one of the ways the creative community is able to communicate and document for posterity, the survival mode we all went into automatically.

This initiative birthed by Nigerbev Limited (producers of the Best range of Alcoholic beverages such as cream, whisky, gin and vodka) in partnership with the Prestigious Nike Art Gallery, put this competition together, to give the scores of talented artists across the country a platform to showcase their authentic pieces, and beyond winning prizes, to give them the chance for a wider audience to benefit from their creative geniuses alongside all the benefits that accrues.

“Well done and congratulations to all the Artists and those whose works made it to the top 10!!!” Olu-Biala said. “For us at Nigerbev Limited, we believe in self-expression and our objective for this campaign is to celebrate, promote and give support to the amazing artists and creatives that are not yet known in Nigeria. We are proud of this relationship that we have started and we hope to sustain it.”