The Arts

May 21, 2024

King Charles bestows MBE awards on Olagoke

King Charles bestows MBE awards on Olagoke

By Osa Mbonu-Amadi

Official government delegations and individual Nigerians have been invited to witness the conferment of Member of the Order of the British Empire, MBE, on artist, Lanre Olagoke.


King Charles III will bestow the MBE awards on the recipients at the Windsor Castle on May 22, 2024. Early this year. One thousand two hundred recipients from diverse professions were listed to receive the king’s honour in an announcement by the British government:


“The New Year Honours List recognises the exceptional achievements of people across the country and those who have shown the highest commitment to selflessness and compassion,” British Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, said in his announcement of the awardees. “To all honourees, you are the pride of this country and an inspiration to us all.”


Interestingly, the award ceremony will be King Charles’ first major public event after recovering from what has been described as undisclosed cancer treatment. Sources have disclosed that official delegation from Nigeria and quite a number of Nigerians, mostly from the diaspora, have been invited to the event in honour of their own, Olagoke, who has been listed among the awardees.


Official representations at the award ceremony are Nigerian Ambassador to the UK, Dr Cyprian Terseer Heen; Minister of Arts, Culture and Creative Economy, Hanatu Musa Musawa; representatives of Ogun State Government; and Chairman, Nigerians In Diaspora Commission, Hon Abike Dabiri-Erewa, among other invitees. The MBE for Olagoke is being given for his Art-Alive Arts Trust in “services to charity and young people”


Congratulating Olagoke ahead of the award ceremony, Dr. Heen noted that Art-Alive Art Trust of the artist has been a strong platform for young people of creative talents. “Your mission in creating the Art-Alive Art Trust, which has served children, adolescent and young vulnerable adults people find a platform to actualise their full potential and find their place in society through arts and creativity deserves accolades.” Heen enthused: “This award serves as a source of inspiration to us all.”


Also, Ogun State Government, which is expected to be represented has sent a congratulatory letter to Olagoke, an indigene of Abeokuta, the state capital. “This well-deserved honour did not come as a surprise; it’s another feather to a cap already decorated with notable achievements and accomplishments,” Gov Dapo Abiodun wrote in a letter shortly after the British Government announced the list of the new MBE awards. “Undoubtedly, the Art-Alive Arts Trust under your leadership has been taken to enviable height, profoundly influencing countless lives positively in the society.”


Excited Olagoke expressed gratitude to all Nigerians, home and the diaspora, who have sent congratulatory messages and shown interest in attending the ceremony. Olagoke disclosed that more of appreciating people’s support will come after the award ceremony. “I hope to host a party to appreciate friends and supporters at one of the most exclusive Private Art-Member Club in the UK, with pedigree of membership such as Frank Bowling OBE and Late Professor Ben Enwonwu, among others.”


Beyond the glitters of the awards, Olagoke has assured that he will be stepping up his art activism, with more focus on Nigeria. Based in the UK, Olagoke’s Art-Alive Arts Trust has also extended its activities to Nigeria in the past. “I will be coming to Nigeria to continue the activities of AAAT beyond what we did in the past,” Olagoke assured. “We did quite some works, inspiring the less-privileged with creative activities in Lagos, which will be boosted by the MBE awards as we go forward.”


Olagoke founded Art-Alive Arts Trust as a charity in the UK in 1997, as a platform to help young people in various settings from primary schools to prisons access the arts. Olagoke’s AAAT has been engaging participants in various art workshops within and outside the UK.