P.M. NEWS Nigeria » Art http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com First with Nigeria News - Nigerian leading evening Newspaper - Tue, 15 Apr 2014 22:21:57 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.1 Onyeka Onwenu’s Son Painter Abe Impresses All http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/01/17/onyeka-onwenus-son-painter-abe-impresses-all/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/01/17/onyeka-onwenus-son-painter-abe-impresses-all/#comments Fri, 17 Jan 2014 13:54:45 +0000 http://pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=182720 Despite being a new comer on the Nigerian art scene, the art exhibition of young painter, Abraham Ogunlende, titled “Culture Shock”, left many art enthusiasts and lovers impressed with his creativity. With over 25 works created within three weeks in different formats and propagating diverse themes, “Culture Shock” made its much-awaited debut at the popular […]]]>

Despite being a new comer on the Nigerian art scene, the art exhibition of young painter, Abraham Ogunlende, titled “Culture Shock”, left many art enthusiasts and lovers impressed with his creativity.

•Painter Abe

•Painter Abe

With over 25 works created within three weeks in different formats and propagating diverse themes, “Culture Shock” made its much-awaited debut at the popular art centre, Terra Kulture, on Friday, 3 January alongside an up and coming artist, Dennis Osadebe.

The Lagosian who prefers to be called Painter Abe, is determined to follow in the footsteps of arts greats like Keith Haring and Mark Rothko who inspired him and is helped by Bantu, a Collective Of Young Nigerians in the fields of Music, Art, and the Visual Arts.

At the opening of the exhibition which ran for a week, Painter Abe said his decision to make meaning out of his fascination with colour, balance and chaos has helped create his unique approach, which he uses to define and represent both his culture and generation.

He said “Culture Shock” is an exhibition for the young at heart.

“Appealing yet reflective of what young people go through in their journey through life, the works are a departure from the acrylic paint, which dominate the landscape,” said Painter Abe, who is also son to music icon, Onyeka Onwenu.

Those who attended the exhibition include Nasreen Kareem, former Mrs Tanzania 2008, Chris Mba, a musician; Nneka; Chinelu Egbuna, lawyer; Mahmoud Ali-Balogun and Chude Jideonwo of the Future Awards.

Onyeka Onwenu was not left out as she described her son thus, “I see in him a single-mindedness and focus that is admirable and worthy of emulation. He is my son but I am learning from him. Abraham Ogunlende is original and hugely talented. I see him growing and getting better at expression. He is passionate and driven. I wish him God’s speed. I am proud of him. He has done this on his own, as he likes to do most times.”

— Funsho Arogundade

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US lottery jackpot swells to near-record $636 million http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2013/12/18/us-lottery-jackpot-swells-to-near-record-636-million/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2013/12/18/us-lottery-jackpot-swells-to-near-record-636-million/#comments Tue, 17 Dec 2013 23:16:26 +0000 http://pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=180163 Frantic Americans snapped up $1 lottery tickets on Tuesday as the Mega Millions jackpot swelled to $636 million, making it the second-richest lottery draw in US history. Brisk sales were reported in the 43 states where Mega Millions is played — and if no winner emerges by this weekend, the jackpot could potentially balloon to […]]]>

Frantic Americans snapped up $1 lottery tickets on Tuesday as the Mega Millions jackpot swelled to $636 million, making it the second-richest lottery draw in US history.

Brisk sales were reported in the 43 states where Mega Millions is played — and if no winner emerges by this weekend, the jackpot could potentially balloon to a staggering $1 billion on Christmas Eve.

“The jackpot has been rolling since it was last hit in Maryland for $190 million on October 1,” said the Multi-State Lottery Association in a statement.

Drawings were scheduled for 11:00 pm Tuesday (0400 GMT Wednesday) and again on Friday at the same time.

The record jackpot of $656 million in March 2012 was split between ticket holders in Illinois, Kansas and Maryland, but this draw is the first since a rule change in October.

Previously, players picked five numbers from one to 56 plus a number from one to 46.

Now it’s five numbers from one to 75 plus a number from one to 15 — shifting the odds of winning from one in 176 million to one in 259 million.

By comparison, the odds of being struck by lightning in the United States in one’s lifetime is one in 10,000, according to the National Weather Service.

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Students Making Best Of Bad Situation http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2013/11/01/students-making-best-of-bad-situation/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2013/11/01/students-making-best-of-bad-situation/#comments Fri, 01 Nov 2013 14:24:39 +0000 http://pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=176389 University undergraduates find ways of coping with an unending strike  Sporting a white hijab and a headscarf, Obabiyi Aishah Ajibola was over the moon, as she knelt down, shed tears of joy and recited the Koran with glee. The 21-year-old undergraduate of the University of Lagos had just been announced winner of the World Muslim […]]]>

University undergraduates find ways of coping with an unending strike 

Sporting a white hijab and a headscarf, Obabiyi Aishah Ajibola was over the moon, as she knelt down, shed tears of joy and recited the Koran with glee. The 21-year-old undergraduate of the University of Lagos had just been announced winner of the World Muslim beauty pageant at a shopping mall in Jakarta, Indonesia, on 18 September. Ajibola, who attributed her stroke of luck to “Almighty Allah”, was impassioned, not just because of her new high profile and the 25 million rupiah ($2,200) prize money she had just received, but mainly because she was able to participate in that beauty pageant. That Nigerian universities were closed as a result of the strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASSU, made that possible.

• Aishah: Winner, Miss Muslim World

• Aishah: Winner, Miss Muslim World

Olawale Ayodele Ojo, a 25-year-old 400 level Agronomy student at Ladoke Akintola University, Ogbomoso, Oyo State, and winner of season six of MTN Project Fame, hinged his success on God’s grace. He said it was because ASUU was on strike that he was able to participate in the music reality show. “I came up to register when ASUU was on strike…I believe that is how God wants it to be. The strike is a blessing in disguise for me,” he said.

•Olawale: Winner, season six, MTN Project Fame

•Olawale: Winner, season six, MTN Project Fame

Though the strike is a blessing in disguise to Ajibola and Ojo, it is not so to millions of Nigerian students who are either groaning at home, forced to take up paid employment or indulge in frivolous activities they would have, otherwise, brushed aside with panache were the universities in session. Perpetual Udoh, a 400 level Computer Science student at the University of Port Harcourt, told TheNEWS that she now vends newspapers and magazines from which she gets commission. Udoh has also enrolled in a computer training school where she is learning Java programming.

However, her course mate, Loveth Uke, who now distributes newspapers and magazines, blames the federal government for the situation they are in. “The government should reconsider its tough stand on the strike and meet ASUU request because from the argument of the lecturers, they are not fighting for their welfare alone,” she said. Uke, who believes that the industrial action has not only disrupted individual plans of students, advised her female colleagues to avail themselves of this opportunity to learn skills such as hair dressing, tailoring, cake baking, hall decorations etc.

•Loveth Uke: Distributes newspapers and magazines

•Loveth Uke: Distributes newspapers and magazines

Badmos Abiodun Temidayo, a 19-year-old 200 level student of Botany, University of Ibadan, however, did not wait to get a paid employment. He has started utilising the painting skills he had acquired before gaining admission into the university. Since July, he has painted over 30 flats and got paid for it. “They are not paying me like a professional but I manage the little they are giving me because I am using it to feed myself, while I save some. I know if I continue this way, I would save enough to help myself up to Master degree level because I don’t want my mother, who is retiring in two years’ time, to use her gratuity and pension to send me to school,” Temidayo, who also organises an extra-mural programme for students preparing for the Joint Matriculation examination, said.

Jumoke Olugbile, a 200 level student of Biochemistry at Onabisi Onabanjo University Ago-Iwoye, is currently an apprentice at a hairdressing salon in Abadina, University of Ibadan. Though her three-month apprenticeship will end this month, she told the magazine that she would continue as long as the strike lasts. “We were writing our first semester examination when the strike started. I had written two papers. When I realised that the strike would not be called off on time, I told my parents that I wanted to learn hairdressing. Not only did they agree, they also supported me,” she explained, while appealing to the federal government and the lecturers to shift ground for the sake of the students.

While Amina Idris, a student of Kogi State University, Ayingba, deals in second, hand cloths, Mulikat Shuaibu is into make-up business to keep her self busy. She is a student of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria.

Unfortunately, Blessing Oguru of Nnamdi, Azikwe University was not engaged.

•Blessing Oguru: Not engaged now, because employers said she would soon leave

•Blessing Oguru: Not engaged now, because employers said she would soon leave

However, Momoh Ibrahim, a 200-level student of Economics at the University of Jos, does not have the luxury of either a paid employment or a vocation. Bored with sleeping and watching television at home, he is, at present, assisting his elder brother, an independent petroleum marketer, with selling petroleum products in Kaduna. Though Ibrahim claimed he had made some profits from helping his brother to lift Premium Motor Spirit from Kaduna Refining Petro-Chemical Company, KRPC, he was unhappy that ASUU had not called off the strike even when the federal government offered to release some money.

While Ibrahim  and Olatunji Kehinde of Ekiti State Univerisity are sad over the lingering industrial action, Deborah Atinuke Olorunlogbon, a 400 level student of Business Administration at the Ahmadu Bello University Zaria, wants the strike to persist so that she can continue investing the loan she got from her banker elder sister to embark on recharge card sales. Olorunlogbon, who started the business two months ago at the very busy Barnawa shopping complex area in Zaria, now has two other business sites. “The strike is a blessing in disguise. Even if they call it off today, I have established a business that will survive if I am not around, “ she averred.

•Olatunji Kehinde: Sad over the lingering strike

•Olatunji Kehinde: Sad over the lingering strike

Should ASUU call off the strike whether the federal government meets their demand or not, Chuks Okoye (not real surname), a 300 level student of Educational Administration at the University of Lagos, is planning to run a programme in Basic Presentation at the Federal Radio Corporation Of Nigeria, Ikoyi, Lagos. He told TheNEWS that the lecturers should not soft-pedal until their demands are met. “Honestly, they should carry on with strike until the government bends and does what is right. If they give up now, everything will be wasted. And all the stress and delay we have gone through would be in vain. And the federal government, as usual, would think that they can blindfold individuals and do whatever they want and get away with it as usual. So they should continue until they get what they want,” Okoye said. Though Chiamaka Okoro (not real surname), a 300 level student of Integrated Sccience at the University of Lagos is not happy over her continued stay at home, she wants ASSU to continue with the industrial action until their demands are met.

Now, the federal government and ASUU are at daggers drawn. Though the contending parties have met over ten times to resolve the imbroglio, they have not been able to resolve their differences. The federal government believes that the N100 billion and the N30 billion it offered the universities for infrastructure and allowance respectively are enough, while the lecturers’ union is insisting that government must fulfil the terms of the 2009 agreement it had with ASUU.

However, the Minister of Labour and Productivity, Mr. Chukwumeka Wogu, while briefing the Bamanga Tukur-led Committee as he was rendering his achievements as minister in July, said the agreement he met was impossible to implement. Scandalised by the lingering industrial action, the federal government believes ASUU has been politicised and is being used by the opposition to destabilise President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration.

But ASUU president, Dr. Nasir Faggae, insists that the union is acting in the interest of the university system and the country in general. Faggae said at a press conference in Lagos recently that the government team, led by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Anyim Pius Anyim and Governor Gabriel Suswan of Benuel State, at their last meeting spoke with a tone of finality that government would not implement the massive injection of fund to revitalise the public universities as stated in the 2009 agreement, which is the crux of the strike action. “Rather, it (government) is only making dubious statement of supporting some universities with the sum of N100 billion. Government has also declared that it will not pay university academics their Earned Allowances which accumulated from 2009 to 2013,” Faggae said, adding that the government, rather, was talking about providing N30 billion to assist various governing councils of Federal universities to defray the arrears of N92 billion owed to all categories of staff in the university system. “It was a sinister ‘take it or leave it’ threat of ‘grab-the-crumbs or starve-to-death,” the union leader said.

• Dr. Fagge: ASUU president

• Dr. Fagge: ASUU president

In a recent interview with a national daily, Faggae said students were tired of the incessant industrial actions by the university lecturers due to the Federal Government’s failure to implement the agreement it had with ASUU since 2009 and that the union had decided to heed the advice of the students. “Our students have come out to say they don’t want us to call off the strike until the Federal Government answers us, because they don’t want us to call off now and later we go back to strike again. So, we are heeding the advice of our students,” he said.

The President, National Association of Nigerian Students, NANS, Mr. Yinka Gbadebo, joined the fray recently when he accused the university lecturers of being unfair to the students and urged them to go back to the classrooms while negotiation continues, adding that ASSU must first redress the issue of immoral behaviour that is associated with them before talking about infrastructure development. “We know of lecturers today who, before students can pass their courses, will ask for what we call ‘sorting’, that is, students should pay them. If ASUU wants the nation’s education system to become what it is painting before the public, there must be self-cleansing among its members. It is a common knowledge that ASUU members sleep with our girls before they pass them. Why are we not talking about that? We cannot be blaming government for everything because we also constitute government,” Gbadebo averred.

•Deborah Olorunlogbon: Engages in recharge card sales

•Deborah Olorunlogbon: Engages in recharge card sales

Reacting to Gbadebo’s call on ASUU to sheathe its sword, Kenneth Obinna (not real surname), a 300 level student of Economics at the University of Lagos, seemed to speak the minds of majority of the students when he said in unequivocal terms: “I heard the President of NANS, Mr. Yinka Gbadebo, said ASUU should put a stop to the strike. The lecturers are in their right senses, and they are justified. Though we are suffering now at home, we believe they are fighting for the betterment of education in this country. And for the first time, let’s stand our ground. Let’s say to the federal government, ‘NO, we can’t take this any longer’.”

When two elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers. Now that the two parties are still at loggerheads, and the students are in support of their lecturers, where the impasse will lead remains to be seen.

–Nehru Odeh, additional reporting by Okafor Ofiebor, Femi Adi and Gbenro Adesina.

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Miss Black Barbie Storms Nigeria http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2013/10/18/miss-black-barbie-storms-nigeria/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2013/10/18/miss-black-barbie-storms-nigeria/#comments Fri, 18 Oct 2013 14:03:26 +0000 http://pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=175010 Miss Black Barbie, Germany-based music sensation, is expected in Nigeria by January to take Nigerians on dance tutorials. The Cameroon-born entertainer said “I will be in Nigeria by January to perform, produce new songs with people like Flavour, Wizkid and Olamide. “I will also teach Nigeria and Africa some new things especially how to dance. […]]]>

Miss Black Barbie, Germany-based music sensation, is expected in Nigeria by January to take Nigerians on dance tutorials.

The Cameroon-born entertainer said “I will be in Nigeria by January to perform, produce new songs with people like Flavour, Wizkid and Olamide.

“I will also teach Nigeria and Africa some new things especially how to dance. I know they will want more, my African manager and director is handling the arrangements”.

Miss Black Barbie has also been scheduled to star in a movie and to perform on many stages and events like the Lovers All Day Dance beach party holding February 2014 at one of the Lagos beaches.

Her African Manager, Sam Chuks Uba described Miss Black Barbie as an “energetic hot dancer and performer; she is the desire of any audience and TV viewers and she has great songs too. The beautiful thing is that she loves Nigeria and will bring something new, and she ready to learn from people here too.”

–Edwin Usoboh

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Soyinka, others mourn Awoonor http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2013/09/27/soyinka-others-mourn-awoonor/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2013/09/27/soyinka-others-mourn-awoonor/#comments Fri, 27 Sep 2013 22:10:30 +0000 http://pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=173184 Nigerian Nobel literature laureate Wole Soyinka and other writers on Friday paid tribute to renowned Ghanaian poet and statesman Kofi Awoonor, among the 67 killed in last weekend’s Kenyan mall attack. Awoonor, 78, was killed and his son was wounded in the Westgate mall in Nairobi by the Al-Qaeda-linked Shebab on September 21. He was […]]]>

Nigerian Nobel literature laureate Wole Soyinka and other writers on Friday paid tribute to renowned Ghanaian poet and statesman Kofi Awoonor, among the 67 killed in last weekend’s Kenyan mall attack.

Awoonor, 78, was killed and his son was wounded in the Westgate mall in Nairobi by the Al-Qaeda-linked Shebab on September 21. He was in Kenya for a literary festival at the time of his death.

“We denounce these enemies of humanity,” Soyinka said, accompanied by several writers and authors at a press conference in Freedom Park in central Lagos, Nigeria’s largest city.

Prof Wole Soyinka (4L) with other writers

Prof Wole Soyinka (4L) with other writers


Soyinka, who became Africa’s first winner of the Nobel prize for literature in 1986, called for renewed efforts to end such violence.

“It is not the first time that Nairobi has been assaulted,” he said, recalling previous deadly attacks in the Kenyan capital by those he called “cowards who turned their guns on unarmed people.”

Soyinka speaking  at the Awoonor ceremony

Soyinka speaking at the Awoonor ceremony

Other writers read poems in honour of Awoonor and said his death was a major blow to African literature.

John Pepper Clark, a Nigerian poet, recalled Awoonor’s contributions to diplomacy and politics in his home country, adding that his legacy would live on.

Awoonor was a renowned writer, most notably for his poetry inspired by the oral tradition of his Ewe people.

He was also Ghana’s representative to the United Nations from 1990 to 1994 as well as president of the Council of State, an advisory body to the president, a post he left earlier this year.

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Nigerian Entertainment Tit-Bits http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2013/09/27/nigerian-entertainment-tit-bits-26/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2013/09/27/nigerian-entertainment-tit-bits-26/#comments Fri, 27 Sep 2013 14:16:29 +0000 http://pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=173105 Obesere, Others For MAAN Day Fuji music stars will on 3 October storm Nigerian Army Officers Mess, Sabo-Yaba in honour of the Music Advertisers Association of Nigeria (MAAN) Mainland zone. The event is part of activities lined up to make this year’s Mainland zone MAAN Day celebration memorable. Top fuji music acts on parade will […]]]>

Obesere, Others For MAAN Day

Fuji music stars will on 3 October storm Nigerian Army Officers Mess, Sabo-Yaba in honour of the Music Advertisers Association of Nigeria (MAAN) Mainland zone.

•Abass Obesere

•Abass Obesere

The event is part of activities lined up to make this year’s Mainland zone MAAN Day celebration memorable.

Top fuji music acts on parade will include Sir Kareem Olomide, Abass Akande Obesere, Remi Aluko, Saka Orobo and all Mainland-based fuji musicians.

Guests expected to grace the occasion are Alhaji Waheed Oyadiran, Alhaji Aweda Alasco, Alhaji Rasak Ibitoye and Ademola among others.

–Kayode Aponmade 

 

 I Am Different –Anydos

If there is one act that is waiting to explode in the Nigerian music industry, it is Annastasia Onyinyechukwuka Oraegbunem, simply known as Anydos. The young and creative artiste is gradually carving a niche for herself as one female singer with potentials to be great. Her latest single, It’s You, is a testimony.

Anydos

Anydos

It’s You is an inspirational song which lyrical content motivates the spirit. It is currently enjoying airplay nationwide with its video hitting different stations very soon. The video, shot in Lagos, was directed by Bob Vic.

With her electrifying way of creating a stage presence, Anydos says she is different from other female musicians on the Nigerian music scene.

Anydos is also a writer, model and a member of Actors Guild of Nigeria (AGN). She started singing in 2009 but officially released her first single in July this year.

–Edwin Usoboh

 

 F Tune Drops New Single

Following the May release of Invade Your Space, United Kingdom-based Nigerian-born rising star Fortune Akaleme, better known as F Tune, has finally taken a giant step by returning home last week to begin a new music career with the release of his first set of materials.

•F-Tune

•F-Tune

The new works have F Tune collaborate with EME’s Shaydee, in The Center (Remix) and The Center. The new work was produced by Fliptyce, who has previously worked with P-Square, Dammy Krane and Yemi Alade among others.

“It feels so good coming back home and I am enjoying the acceptance. The media and everyone have been so good. I have been away for so long, and it just feels good coming back to see the state of the Nigerian music scene,” said F Tune presently signed to KZ Mogaji Entertainment.

 

Mary J.Blige Rocks Lagos Tonight

Tonight, the Convention Centre of the Eko Hotel & Suites would be playing host to American Soul diva, Mary J. Blige, in an all-female concert tagged Sisters With Soul.

•Mary J.Blige

•Mary J.Blige

The show, produced by Kilimanjaro Entertainment and sponsored by Etisalat, will see MJB, the award-winning singer, rocking same stage with some of Nigeria’s talented female voices.

On the bill are Seyi Shay, Niyola, Jodie, Zaina, Emma Nyra, Ms jaie, Nikki Laoye, Eva Alordiah, Lola Rae and DJ Cuppy, who would be behind the wheel of steel.

MJB, 42, has been on the scene since 1992 with numerous hit albums and has a huge fans base among Nigerians.

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Of Theater And Our Duke Of Errors http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2013/08/28/of-theater-and-our-duke-of-errors/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2013/08/28/of-theater-and-our-duke-of-errors/#comments Wed, 28 Aug 2013 10:35:33 +0000 http://pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=170698 By Segun Ojewuyi This week the department of Theater at the University of Ibadan celebrates 50 years of Theater in the African academy. The celebrations mark fifty years of formal Theater training in Africa, the University of Ibadan being the first of such in the whole of the continent.  In those years, graduates of the […]]]>

By Segun Ojewuyi

Edem Duke, Minister of Arts and Culture

Edem Duke, Minister of Arts and Culture

This week the department of Theater at the University of Ibadan celebrates 50 years of Theater in the African academy. The celebrations mark fifty years of formal Theater training in Africa, the University of Ibadan being the first of such in the whole of the continent.  In those years, graduates of the department have provided high value leaderships in Theater, music, Advertising, Film, Radio and Television, Print Journalism, Politics, Business, Civil service, international Diplomacy, Academics and even institutional religion.  They have served both country and the world with vision and distinction, wielding major global influence.  Earlier in the year, Professor Wole Soyinka – Africa’s first Noble Prize winner in Literature and an early head of the University of Ibadan School of Drama had opened the celebrations with a public lecture. Now as the events of the week kicked off, Professor Abiola Irele – a one time actor on the Ibadan stage, who then went on to become a Professor of Comparative Literature at Harvard University, headlined the events with a Key note address.  As an alumnus of the UI department, I have often bragged the pedigree of my alma maters – University of Ibadan (my African Ivy league in Theater) and Yale University (my American Ivy League in Drama).  The combined depth and quality of Ibadan’s training continue to ring loud and strong on the global stages we have found ourselves!  Yet on this same week, we are reminded of one of the most unnerving ironies of being Nigerians.  This great irony rests on the fact that our country is one where the potential for greatness is humongous but greatly dimmed by our government’s propensity for mediocrity, cronyism, corruption, violence and greed.  Amidst the pomp of what is tagged the ‘Homecoming’ at Ibadan this week, one hopes that there are new  and pragmatic strategies for resolving the combative challenges that our art, our professional calling and our cultural accounts, demand of us!

Nigerian Theater suffers from what I call “Neo-malice’.  Malice is the expressed and actualized desire for evil, where evil is not religion specific, but a cultural and political affliction.   Theater as we must emphasize, is defiant of normative constructs.  Instead of patterns of order, which other fields observes, theater distinguishes itself by its core fascination with explorations of entropy and disorder.  African performance, says Kenyan writer and activist Ngugi Wa Thiong’o, was the first to be assaulted by the cultural forces of colonialism, to give space for the construction of a colonized being.  That was the first ‘malice’.  Initially our immediate post-colonial response in Nigeria led the rest of African Theater with an added urgency.  Wole Soyinka, Hubert Ogunde, Femi Osofisan, Ola Rotimi, Zulu Sofola, Bode Osanyin, Ben Tomoloju and many first runners of Nigerian Theater proved this, not only through their plays, but also to the extent of their activist roles as our collective social conscience. As dreamers we seek to create utopias.  But their fervor, the commitment of the sixties, seventies and eighties has dimmed, our dreams atrophied as our apologetic generation stumbles along in stupor!  Our lungs, our dreams are clogged with gluttonous portions of self-centeredness, sycophancy and cowardice.  We are now so afraid to speak the truth to ourselves, much so to anyone we deem to be in some form of power.  So we are doubly colonized and we perpetuate this evil upon our art, our profession.

Wa Thiong’o concludes his observation on a darker note, identifying the origins of the neo-malice in African, and more specifically Nigerian Theater.  “The same colonized being”, he says, has “mutated into a neo-colonial dictator, who sees theater as a threat, and he often sends theater practitioners into prisons (Ogunde, Soyinka), exile (Soyinka/Sowande et al), impoverishment or even death in some cases (Ken Saro Wiwa).  These colonized beings mutating into dictators and politicians have progressively brought our Theater academies and Theater practitioners to their begging knees, dazed and comatose!  But Theater thrives.  It cannot be killed either as text or practice.  Theater constructs our human encounters between knowing and unknowing participants, generating a spatial and experiential energy that is simultaneously catalytic and cathartic.  It is not dissimilar to the basic run of life – inhaling and exhaling.  We must breathe to stay alive, as our society must “theater” to live.

Why is it that our appointed government officials and the artistic community they are called to serve, never meet for open, frank and deliberative collaborations?  Why?  In a sector of human engagement, where creativity and innovative thinking are the marks of the stakeholders, why is idiocy often foisted upon the artist of the theater and upon the nation by uncivilized civil servants and miscast ministers, who hop from one poorly conceived ‘rebranding’ project to another!  Carnivals, that self-inflicted minstrelsy from our Caribbean cousins, have suddenly become the obsessions of money gobbling administrations; their new tool for the cannibalization of our traditional festivals, dances, masquerades and of our rich pantheon.  They seem content with turning the performance of theater and the transmission of our culture into these shallow and inconsequential expressions of irrational spectacles.  We on our part have dispersed into related fields and sometimes do no even want to be known as Theater artists!

Edem Duke, the Minister of Culture is called to speak on the issue of whether the national theater is being sold or not.  The question is simply to find out what our government’s clear agenda for the development of Theater in Nigeria will be, going forward.  It is not as if the government and its officials are permanently and completely bereft of ideas.  It just seems that the moments of visionary clarity are far in between the preponderance of mediocrity and blatant corruption.

Duke is in error when he assumes he and his private sector friends know best.  He is in error when he believes he alone can survive the political rings being woven around him, without taking his constituency along.  His attempt at some intentional conflation of the current problems will not suffice.  In one breath he agrees with us when he says the culture community does not have any other iconic infrastructural asset other than the National theatre.  Yet in a fit of neo-malice, he declares that “the National theatre would translate into a leisure and entertainment centre, the first leisure and entertainment duty-free zone in West Africa”.  What is a leisure and entertainment center?  How is this so-called “leisure and entertainment center” different than a casino?  How is this leisure and entertainment center the same as a national theater, like the National Theater of Great Britain in London or the Kennedy Center in Washington Dc?  There is a good reason American mogul Donald Trump builds Casinos – leisure and entertainment centers – instead of Theaters.  There is a reason American pornography business lord Flynt builds strip clubs and bars, never theaters.  It is disingenuous to lump theater in the same wool.  We get it but does he?

I want to believe Duke does get it and he is indeed working hard to ensure the revitalization of Theater in Nigeria.  What we want therefore, what we know will work best for him, is to call for an open forum with Theater artists in Lagos, Abuja or both, where he can explain the details of his plans and answer the questions the artists have.  Just a simple and sincere collaborative gesture, an expression of mutual respect, not condescension, will do.  He just might be surprised to know the number of Theater artists who are on his side and who will defend his agenda, if they are truly in the best interest of the sector. Fifty years on after Ibadan, thirty-six years after the World Black Arts festival FESTAC, two decades and more after the establishment of the National Troupe of Nigeria, wasting our hard earned national legacy of Theater has to stop.

Finally, our Academics and Theater artists for most part can no longer remain safely segregated, each on their own side of the continually widening gap between theory and practice, between reflection and creation.  The Homecoming at Ibadan should be the rebirth of Theater in Nigeria.

Segun Ojewuyi, is a professor at the Southern Illinois University, USA

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CNN’s Inside Africa Explores Nigeria’s Cultural Diversity http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2013/06/07/cnns-inside-africa-explores-nigerias-cultural-diversity/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2013/06/07/cnns-inside-africa-explores-nigerias-cultural-diversity/#comments Fri, 07 Jun 2013 13:10:18 +0000 http://pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=164655 Inside Africa, CNN’s weekly programme that explores the diversity of different cultures, countries and regions will be showcasing and exploring one of Africa’s most populous nations, one of the most diverse countries in the world, and home to more than five hundred different ethnic groups, each with its own language, Nigeria.

On this week’s episode which airs this Friday at 5:30pm, with repeat broadcasts on Saturday: 11:30am; and Sunday: 04:30pm, Vladimir Duthiers explores these cultures and traditions and what makes them unique, and also what brings them together as one nation.

Stories mostly heard of Nigeria are usually that of poverty, religious violence, corruption, but that’s just scratching the surface as this country produced Fela Kuti and Afrobeat, the literary giants Wole Soyinka and the late Chinua Achebe, that put African cinema on the map with Nollywood, from the Savannah and the Sahel in the Muslim North, to the creeks and the forest in the Christian South- this is a microcosm of Africa.

According to Professor Adisa Ogunfolakan, Director of the Museum of Natural History, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife, Nigeria, “when we talk of the Nigerian history, after 1914 that Nigeria was merged together, the North and the South colony was merged together, but before then each unique tribe had their own history.”

Now united under one flag, Nigeria has three major ethnic groups, the Igbos, the Hausa-Fulanis and the Yorubas.

Vladimir Duthiers speaks with a member from each of these groups for a better understanding of their cultures.

From the Hausa-Fulanis of the North, the Yorubas of the South West to the Igbos of the South East, Nigeria is no doubt rich in culture and history.

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Nigerian Entertainment Tit-Bits http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2013/05/03/nigerian-entertainment-tit-bits-10/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2013/05/03/nigerian-entertainment-tit-bits-10/#comments Fri, 03 May 2013 12:47:01 +0000 http://pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=162096 ‘The Happiest Day Of  My Life’ Actress Bisi Ibidapo-Obe has revealed that the day her daughter, Destiny was born was the happiest day in her life. Despite the controversy that surrounded the birth of the child, Bisi said it gave her joy beyond measure. The alleged father of the baby, Dino Melaye, denied the paternity […]]]>

‘The Happiest Day Of  My Life’

Bisi-Ibidapo-Obe

Bisi-Ibidapo-Obe

Actress Bisi Ibidapo-Obe has revealed that the day her daughter, Destiny was born was the happiest day in her life.

Despite the controversy that surrounded the birth of the child, Bisi said it gave her joy beyond measure. The alleged father of the baby, Dino Melaye, denied the paternity of the child.

Bisi, popularly known as Omologbalogba, said “the day my daughter, Destiny was born, was and is still the happiest day of my life. I experienced love, greater than anything I had ever felt before, and I don’t think it can ever be replaced”.

The actress and Melaye met between March and April last year. It was a brief relationship that allegedly resulted in pregnancy, a claim Melaye described as an “Africa Magic’s story and an expression of fiction.”

In an interview, the actress admitted that though her relationship with Melaye was very brief and they had not planned to have a baby but fate and circumstances proved her wrong.

Explaining how she met the ex-lawmaker, Bisi said “I actually met Dino through Lola Alao and honestly speaking, I was in need of help and Lola Alao promised she would introduce me to someone who could help me. The person turned out to be Dino.

“I visited him in Abuja and  he was actually forthcoming and helpful. I was not the only one involved then but he took particular interest in me. We got to know each other and at a point I was scared because he was all over me. Over time, he showed me he meant well and we became good friends.

“Somehow, one thing led to the other and we started dating. He appeared nice, loving and showed me a lot of affection. He was quite frequent in my Lagos house. I remember when he came to Lagos for the birthday of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, I went to pick him from the airport to my house.

“We were an item and it was known to a couple of our close friends in the industry.  It was while in Canada with my colleagues, Foluke Daramola and Moji Olaiya, that I  realised that I was pregnant. I could not believe it. It was painful because I could not participate in all the programmes lined up for us in Canada.  I can remember that it was Moji Olaiya that went to buy the pregnancy kit that later confirmed I was pregnant,” Bisi noted.

She claimed that Melaye was initially happy when she first shared the news with him, and actually promised to marry her, only for him to change his mind later, suggesting that the pregnancy should be aborted.

–Bayo Adetu

 

Glo X-Factor Audition Moves To Ghana

M.I

M.I

The three X Factor judges unveiled in Lagos last week have expressed excitement at being part of the history Glo is making in Africa with the singing talent reality TV show.

The judges, Nigeria’s musical legend, Onyeka Onwenu, rapper MI and Reggie Rockstone of Ghana, thanked Globacom for bringing them aboard the show and for offering a rare opportunity for African youths to explore their talents.

Onyeka said: “I am greatly excited to be part of this great show and I will definitely have fun while the competition lasts. I promise to be fair in my judgement, add humour to the game, be a good ambassador of Glo and display the greatest form of integrity which Globacom is known for.”

M.I commended Glo for making history as the first company to bring the show to Africa. “I am very happy about this. It is going to be the biggest ever reality show in Africa and that’s the truth. It’s more than just about Nigeria or West Africa. It’s about the whole of Africa. I’d be glad if another great artiste comes out from this pack to upstage people like us but such a person has a lot of work to do because he needs the X Factor to get to the top of the pack.”

Also speaking on his selection, Rockstone said he was excited because X Factor is designed to find new talents. “I am optimistic because there are a lot of talents here in West Africa. I have seen them and I am delighted I am one of the judges. The $150,000 prize money for me is very enticing and the opportunity to have new talents stimulated my interest in the show. I can only be scared about new comers, and the part I love is that I’ll double as judge and coach. That is awesome,” he declared.

Beat FM’s Tolu Oniru popularly called Toolz, who was unveiled as the presenter of X Factor, was equally full of excitement: “It’s the biggest ever reality show that Nigeria and Africa have ever seen. N24 million isn’t a child’s play; no other musical show has beaten that. And you know this year marks the 10th anniversary of Globacom and this programme, I believe, is part of the company’s modest way of thanking its numerous subscribers”.

Meanwhile, after hugely successful outings in Port Harcourt and Abuja, Nigeria, the auditions for the show will this weekend move to Ghana.

A statement by Globacom said the Ghana auditions would be held in Kumasi on Saturday, May 4, and Sunday, May 5, while the Accra audition would be held the following weekend, May 11 and 12.

After the Ghana auditions, the judges will return to Nigeria for the Lagos auditions scheduled for Saturday, May 25, and Sunday, May 26.

–Daniels Ekugo & Damilare Okunola

 

Art21 Berths In Nigeria

Caline-Chagoury

Caline-Chagoury

Art21, a modern art museum, has arrived in Lagos, southwest Nigeria. Series of activities focusing on Nigerian contemporary art are part of Art21’s drive to extend its reach to Africa.

Set to radically change the supposedly ‘lack of impact’ that has characterized Nigerian and African arts, the initiative is set to promote and position the contemporary African art globally.

Art21, the first of its kind in Lagos, officially opened to the public recently on the ground floor of Eko Hotels and Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos.

Caline Chagouri, the brain behind the initiative said “I am thrilled to be able to bring such a platform to a wonderful city that I have always treasured, and even more so to the incredibly talented people that are born in this great country. My art consulting firm focuses on creating artistic spaces, bringing artistes together, being part of the movement to create a real art market on the continent, and giving the world a taste of the Lagos I know.”

The first exhibition of Art21 is the work of Olu Amoda, a designer and teacher at Yaba College of Technology.

Olu’s work exemplifies what can be made out of ‘supposedly trash’ as he welds and assembles things such as discard nails and old locks into intricate sculptures. The main reason for choosing him as the first exhibitor is his creative ability at turning disused objects into master pieces of art.

“Nails are used in my work as metaphor. They have survived generations and remains one of the most ideal and enduring pieces of engineering. Small but lethal, a nail is able to defend itself, but yields to the will of the carpenter.”

“The intricate thing about my work is that I am interested in the former lives of the objects I use and in the new meanings they take on when they are brought together. What we call little things are merely the causes of great things: they are the beginning, the embryo and the point of departure, which generally speaking decides the whole future of an existence,” he said.

The idea of the space was birthed by Caline Chagoury, a photographer and art collector, who said that exactly a year ago, she started looking around for a space that could inspire artistes to do greater things.

“Art 21 (Art 21st Century) is conceived to provide a platform for renowned Nigerian and African artists to showcase their talent on a platform which makes no apology for radical, bold and experimentation with the aim of commanding audience from far and wide. It will provide a platform for renowned Nigerian and African artists to showcase their talent,” she enthused.

Art collectors like Omooba Yemisi Shyllon, Director of the Centre for Contemporary Art, CCA Lagos, Bisi Silva, founder of Nike Art Centre, Tam Fiofori and Ndidi Dike graced the launch of Art21.

–Daniels Ekugo

 

KOGA Discovers New Talent

K- Solo

K- Solo

Ten winners have emerged from Koga Entertainment’s talent Open House Talent Hunt, a competition aimed at discovering raw music acts.

The two-day event was aimed at discovering new singers and songwriters in many genres of music including rap, soul, R&B, jazz, reggae, fuji, gospel and soul.

Out of 30 artistes that participated in the show, 10 were selected for the final round, and they have struck a recording deal with producers who were also judges in the competition.

The remaining 20 participants were compensated with a recording session each at Koga studios. The producers that will work with the 10 winners are OJB Jezreel, Mr Daz, Puffy Tee, Don Adah, Black Jersey, Kraftmatics, Phat E, P. Edwards, Jokaynie and K-Solo.

Nomoreloss, the anchor of the event, said “Koga Entertainment hopes to bring these talents closer to their dreams with the show. We will produce a song for the top 10 finalists under these seasoned producers and sign two exceptional ones among them.”

–Bayo Adetu

 

Omo Olope Unveils LP

Female gospel music act, Princess Adejoke Bankole also known as Omo Olope has unveiled her latest album, My Comfort.

The album was recorded at Femopal studio. My Comfort will be distributed and marketed from the stable of Thunderbolt Music Company.

Tunde Oshelu, the CEO of the label enthused that the effort has the potentials of being a commercial success, considering its composition, percussions and arrangement.

At the album launch held at Tant One Event Centre, no fewer than ten gospel music stars performed. They include Mega 99, Tunde Samson, Eniola Lias Abiodun (Ayangbajumo), Segun Imisi, Dare Melody and Kayefi.

–Kayode Aponmade

 

‘Is This Love’ Debuts

Bukky Ajayi

Bukky Ajayi

Wale Adenuga Productions has hit the airwaves with Is This Love, another season of its Superstory series.

Is This Love tells the story of Prince Abioye and Ajoke as they struggle for survival and have their love for each other tested like never before. It is an epic African love story that aims to reveal the dangerous sides of human emotions.

It stars actors like Jide Kosoko, Bukky Ajayi, Yemi Solade, Joke Muyiwa, Dele Odule, Yemi Remi, Adeniyi Johnson, Marygold Adams, as well as some rising stars from the renowned PEFTI Film Institute.

—Bayo Adetu

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A Day For The Voice http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2013/04/24/a-day-for-the-voice/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2013/04/24/a-day-for-the-voice/#comments Wed, 24 Apr 2013 09:16:12 +0000 http://pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=161058 Through the effort of American Fulbright scholar, Nigeria, for the first time, joins other countries to commemorate the World Voice Day 2013 Ordinarily, the diverse choral groups, especially the commercial ones assembled in the hall are arch-competitors in Nigeria’s vibrant entertainment market. On Tuesday last week, however, as the groups massed inside the main auditorium […]]]>

Through the effort of American Fulbright scholar, Nigeria, for the first time, joins other countries to commemorate the World Voice Day 2013

Ordinarily, the diverse choral groups, especially the commercial ones assembled in the hall are arch-competitors in Nigeria’s vibrant entertainment market. On Tuesday last week, however, as the groups massed inside the main auditorium of the University of Lagos, the purpose was different. They were there to celebrate the United Nations-backed World Voice Day; the first of its kind in Nigeria. The evening was the climax of activities to mark the day.

•The World Voice Day Nigeria mass choir singing

•The World Voice Day Nigeria mass choir singing

Through the concerted effort of Aaron Carter-Cohn, voice scientist and Fulbright scholar attached to the Creative Arts Department of the University of Lagos and an interdisciplinary committee set up for the purpose of marking the day, Nigeria’s first attempt at celebrating the World Voice Day turned out to be a huge success.

It attracted singing groups from the host institution,  University of Lagos, Lagos State University, Ojoo, Adeniran Ogunsanya College of Education, Ijanikin, Lagos, Music Society of Nigeria, other professional and amateur singing groups, including school children from selected secondary schools in Lagos.

The programme aims at encouraging oral health, helping people to understand their vocal abilities and enhancing proper use of the abstract part of the human body and the therapeutic use of voice. Carter-Cohn, who said he had been following Nigerian literature since he was 14 years old, explained that he was nudged into organising the event because the music of Nigeria is very rich.

‘‘I have Nigeria choir in my own church in the United States. There are also lots of Redeemed Christian Church of God, RCCG churches growing there. So I started being exposed to music in different languages, about 500 of them from across the world. This kind of pushed me to study the way they spoke and the way they sang,” he told TheNEWS.

The Lagos City Choral group

The Lagos City Choral group

Professor Duro Oni, Deputy Vice Chancellor, who represented the Vice Chancellor of the University of Lagos, Prof. Rahamon Bello, expressed delight that his university and indeed Nigeria has joined other countries in the celebration of a creative endeavour and has excelled at it. “This is a great event across the world. It adds to the excellence achieved by our writers and musicians. The diversity of language in our continent is so rich and deserves to be our cultural pride. It is not just about singing, but also about vocal art in Nigeria,” he argued, adding that with the event, a solid foundation for many World Voice Days had been laid.

Also speaking at the event, the Consular-General of the United States of America in Lagos, Jeffrey J. Hawkins thanked the organisers, noting that to bring so many professionals and other talents in one place is quite an achievement. He said voice plays an important role in so many professions and expressed the hope that the data collected from researches in the study of Nigerian sounds, will be useful to Carter-Cohn when he returns home to teach American students, after his exchange programme in Nigeria.

Unilag Theatre Unit take the stage during the World Voice Day celebration held at the Unilag auditorium Tuesday last week

Unilag Theatre Unit take the stage during the World Voice Day celebration held at the Unilag auditorium Tuesday last week

Earlier, at a symposium tagged ‘Know Your Voice,’ participants were led to understand the intricate role that voice plays in their daily lives. This session drew experts from various institutions, including Babatunde Bamigboye, an ear, nose and throat, ENT specialist from the University of Lagos Teaching Hospital, Professor Anthony Mereni, musicologist, Pat Uwaje-King, a member of the popular singing sensation, Midnight Crew, Sir Emeka Nwokedi of the Music Society of Nigeria, Helen Paul, a comedienne, Lanre Aina of Google Nigeria and the researcher, Carter-Cohn.

—Nkrumah Bankong-Obi

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No plan to convert National Theatre to hotel, says minister http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2013/04/22/no-plan-to-convert-national-theatre-to-hotel-says-minister/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2013/04/22/no-plan-to-convert-national-theatre-to-hotel-says-minister/#comments Mon, 22 Apr 2013 05:04:13 +0000 http://pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=160775 Nigeria’s Minister for Arts, Culture and Tourism, Chief Edem Duke, has denied that the government planned to convert National Theatre, Lagos, to a five-Star hotel. Duke said in Lagos that there was no way an edifice, such as the National Theatre, could be converted to a hotel because it was not designed for that purpose. […]]]>

Nigeria’s Minister for Arts, Culture and Tourism, Chief Edem Duke, has denied that the government planned to convert National Theatre, Lagos, to a five-Star hotel. Duke said in Lagos that there was no way an edifice, such as the National Theatre, could be converted to a hotel because it was not designed for that purpose.

Some newspapers had reported that the government planned to convert the edifice to a hotel.

National Theatre

National Theatre

The monument, located in Iganmu, Lagos State, was constructed in 1976 in preparation for Nigeria’s hosting of the Black Festival of Arts and Culture in 1977. It has a 6,500-seater main hall with a collapsible stage, two 700 to 800 capacity cinema halls equipped with facilities for simultaneous translation in 13 languages. The management last year added two halls that could accommodate up to 1,000 people and stages for artistic performances.

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo ‘s plan to privatise the facility in 2001 sparked controversy among the Nigerian arts community.

Duke said that a committee was set up in September, last year, to look into the possibility of Public Private Partnership (PPP) in the management of the facility.

“The committee consists of representatives of the Federal Ministry of Housing, Infrastructural Regulations Committee and Surveyor General,” he said.

He said the committee engaged VGL Consultants, a foreign consulting firm, to look into ways of turning around the surroundings of the theatre.

The minister said the theatre ground had empty space with smelly water, which should be rehabilitated and the land turned into a five-star hotel, a shopping mall, offices, leisure spots and car parks.

“This was designed 37 years ago, when the theatre was built but because of lack of funds, the plan did not come up. We issued a quit notice to National Gallery of Arts (NGA), National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC) and the National Troupe of Nigeria (NTN) so that the plan can be materialised,” Duke said.

He said the affected offices had their headquarters in Abuja, and that “the offices they occupy here are shanty houses and the land belong to National Theatre.’’

He decried the way the media reported the issue without getting the truth of what happened.

Meanwhile, the General Manager of the National Theatre, Mr Kabir Yusuf, said proper evaluation of the theatre would be conducted within three months.

Yusuf said that adverts would be placed in newspapers for interested firms to bid for the development.

“This will be done within three months, and then, a lot of proposals would follow. The main bowl of the National Theatre needs about N4 billion to put it back in shape but there is no fund to make it work.

“So, we have to source for funds, we can’t allow an edifice like that to die just like that. It is a symbol of culture,” he said.

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Nigeria: Inside Yemisi Shyllon’s World http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2013/01/28/nigeria-inside-yemisi-shyllons-world/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2013/01/28/nigeria-inside-yemisi-shyllons-world/#comments Mon, 28 Jan 2013 12:35:18 +0000 http://pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=152838 BY NKRUMAH BANKONG-OBI  Engineer Yemisi Adedoyin Shyllon’s art garden at his Lagos home reveals his massive love for visual art The creeping plants hugging the tall concrete walls give an impressive hint of what the inner walls hold. Iron doors complemented by binocular-shaped interior tunnels cast the compound in the image of a fortress. To […]]]>

BY NKRUMAH BANKONG-OBI 

Engineer Yemisi Adedoyin Shyllon’s art garden at his Lagos home reveals his massive love for visual art

The creeping plants hugging the tall concrete walls give an impressive hint of what the inner walls hold. Iron doors complemented by binocular-shaped interior tunnels cast the compound in the image of a fortress. To a first time visitor, the house in the serene area of Maryland, Lagos could pass for the residence of a military brass hat. With no dogs barking or howling, the hedges alone make a loud statement on the value of the treasures within.

Yemisi Shyllon's home is characterised by eye-catching pieces of art, including sculpture and metal works.

Yemisi Shyllon’s home is characterised by eye-catching pieces of art, including sculpture and metal works.

As the gate is flung open, one is greeted by artworks firmly cast on different sizes and shapes of plinths, depending on the weight. Apart from abstract works, there are metal works and sculptures that are capable of making the brain writhe.  The huge compound hosts other forms of sculpture some of which can make the straitlaced squirm. A particular carving of a maiden at her prime situated at the plexus of the compound, for example, is capable of provoking this emotion. The Eyo masquerade in its immaculate white paint speaks loudly of the meticulousness of the collector’s taste. Everywhere the eyes turn, a work of art is sure to be sighted. One of the captivating spectacles at the entrance is a hut, surrounded by trees. These cast elm-like shadows on that section of the compound, presenting the visitor a contrived rural setting.

Walkways perfectly paved with concrete and gravel lead to the central vault, where another horde of art pieces compete for space. Prominent on the edge of this path is a huge birdcage. This, with the multi-coloured, beautiful flowers, green plants and the birds roaming the compound, confers on the garden the sight of a painting exquisitely realised on canvas. This magnificent collection has been the subject around which “activities have been created” by its owner. As one approaches a rectangular structure, the beauty of the place crystallises even more. This was where this reporter met his host. As we walked towards this building, a firm and confident voice that could be mistaken for arrogance called out: “Are you the journalist from TheNEWS who wants to see me?”

I answered in affirmative.

“Have you been here before?”

“No sir,” I said.

“My name is Prince Yemisi Adedoyin Shyllon, I’m ready to answer your questions. Welcome to my home. But if you ask me questions bordering on religion, I will explode,” he warned.

The rendezvous point itself is artistically executed. Apart from the metal works and sculptures, frescos dot the ceiling, giving it the look of the Vatican’s Sistine Chapel.

Now a bit relaxed from savouring the works on display, we could now survey the other part of the compound. As it turned out, what is hidden is as breathtaking as what one sees at the outer compound. On the wall on the courtyard area, a huge crucifix hangs imposingly as if superintending over the images below. This enforces the garden’s status as an artistic world in contrast. This magazine was to later learn that among the over 6,500 artworks in the garden, privately held by Prince Shyllon, there are Christian collections, some in the mould of medieval religious creations. The garden itself is the largest individual collection in the country. There are exports from the oriental and occidental worlds, particularly from the Buddhist, Hinduism, Judaist and traditional religions of those climes. Shyllon told this medium that he had been to those places and, indeed, over 47 countries across the world, exploring and seeking philosophical, religious and general knowledge. The foreign works are, however, swallowed by the large congregation of African indigenous art, including structures of horse riders and myths of twins in Yoruba cosmology. There are also carvings or moulded representations of kings and warriors, apparently stalking enemies. Rural folktales are also captured, via palm-wine tappers and busts of local heroes, among others.

At the inner recess, a visitor encounters a well-kept standard-sized swimming pool. Rather than marble tiles, the water is surrounded with a range of pieces of arts and green plants, presenting a fabulous sight to behold. The living house presents a different kind of nourishment for the eyes. The blending of the sitting room’s gleaming lights with the artworks on display makes a perfect exhibition room. Apart from the virtual surrealist-Dadaist works, there are special pieces that reveal the man’s artistic philosophy, which can be described as Afro-centric, hence his defence of the continent’s indigenous patrimony. The Moremi mask, Ife and Benin carvings and a couple of romantic ensemble grace the walls. Beside the installations, an artificial water course runs through the sitting room, striking a rhythmic balance between nature and human creations.

The architecture, like the art in the compound, gives a resounding peep into the owner’s ideological leaning. In every available space in the expansive compound, something points to his love of the visual art. From the office, where the tables are littered with carvings and drawings, to the inner recess of the compound, Prince Shyllon’s world revolves around this genre. And recently, he has taken it beyond the collection of works of art, with the publication of Conversations With Lamidi Fakeye, a book on Nigeria’s foremost wood carver, which he co-authored with Ihuoma Pogoson. Shyllon is surely living his dream. He told the reporter: “Art is my life; I live art, I breathe, eat and drink art.”

.This article originally appeared in TheNEWS magazine of 04 February 2013

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