The Arts

October 30, 2023

Exhibitions, books and more at LABAF 2023

Exhibitions, books and more at LABAF 2023

By Prisca Sam-Duru

Lovers of books, art, and culture will be enjoying an array of inspiring events at the 25th edition of the annual Lagos Book & Art Festival, LABAF. Holding from Monday November 13 to 19, 2023 at Freedom Park, Campbell Street Lagos, and virtually, the festival has ‘THE RESET: History and the Darkling Plain’, as the theme for this year’s festival.

The theme is designed to reflect on the various critical points in the history of Nigeria and by extension the histories of the rest of Africa and the world. The theme, derived from Ken Saro Wiwa’s Civil War Memoir, ‘On A Darkling Plain’, will be explored through written texts and performances in drama, music, poetry, the visual arts, etc.The essence according to the organisers  is to mine those lessons in the political and cultural history of the nation to plot a progressive direction for its future, as Nigerians settle into, and navigate the constructs of a new political dispensation.     

Though a literary feast of ideas and life in outlook, LABAF which commenced in 1999, the year of the nation’s return to civil rule, has over the years, metamorphosed into a Campaign for literacy devoted to heightening the interest of the populace to be active participants in the knowledge economy that currently rules transactions in global political, economic and cultural affairs.

The festival is focused on three thematic elements: education, enlightenment, and empowerment.

Lined up in this edition are Conversations around ideas relevant to the theme of the festival, readings, reviews and sessions on writing and publishing, exhibitions of books and visual arts, workshops and mentoring sessions for young people, performances in poetry, drama, music, dance, etc.

There is also Arthouse celebrations of eminent artists and culture workers who have registered their names and footprints in the cause of nation-building. The idea is to set them up as role models for both old and young people so as to inspire hope, motivate them to aspire to greater accomplishments in their chosen careers or vocation.

Specifically for young people, the festival also stages, Green Festival – devoted to students in Junior and Senior Secondary schools. This is in partnership with Children And The Environment, CATE, as well as CORA Youth Creative Club which annually congregates youths and young adults from different parts of the country for mentoring and training in their natural talents and acquired skills. This is in partnership with Events By Nature.

In the visual arts section, LABAF 2023 will showcase six visual arts exhibition projects -ceramics, paintings, installations, cartoons, and performance arts such as

Timeless Memories: Elastic Effects 2023 – The Man Who Didn’t Die in the Face of Tyranny — Conceptual/Installation by Oludamola Adebowale; Boarding 2023 — conceptual art by Dili Humphrey Onuzulike (Junkman); NOTICE, We are here? Ceramic exhibition by the Visions in Clay Community of ceramic artists; Drawing Attention – Exhibition by the Cartoonists Association of Nigeria, CARTAN; I Am a Fish From the Sea – Performance art by Jelili Atiku; and Performance art by Yussuf Durodola & Friends.

Also, Nnamdi Azikiwe’s Memoir, ‘My Oddyssey’, is up for conversation at LABAF 2023.

This year’s edition will also feature the festival’s annual Visual Arts Dialogue. It explores the relationship between artists, their collectors and patrons. The session will have a keynote address to be delivered by the iconic artist, Dr. Kolade Oshinowo. While the session will be chaired by renowned art collector and founder of DIDI Museum, Dr. Newton Jibunoh, it will be curated by the Provost of Federal College of Education (Technical), Akoka, Yaba, Lagos, Dr. Ademola Azeez.