Sunday, 3 February 2008

My Kind of Opening, Ndidi Dike at CCA,Lagos

The opening of Ndidi Dike's exhibition Waka-into-Bondage:The Last 3/4 Mile was another special event for CCA,Lagos and really embodies the spirit of our goals and vision. To provide the platform for artists to move out of their comfort zones, explore the experimental aspect of their work and present the result to the widest audience possible. Whilst we encourage work that is socially engaged, aesthetic considerations are not subsumed.

Ndidi Dike in front of Economic Fabric, 2008

Ndidi Dike talking about the exhibition
The whole project was an important collaborative and learning experience for everyone involved and it generated a lot of discussion around slavery. On my part the shocking discovery was that not many Nigerians know about slavery and very few young people are taught about the history of slavery because it seems that history is not included in the secondary education curriculum and where it does feature, slavery hardly features. This only highlights the extent to which the military, the politicians and but even more seriously the educationalists have destroyed the fabric of the knowledge base of our society. UNFORGIVEABLE.

Dr Wura Ogunyemi, Author of What's in a Name.
But all hope is not lost. Another highlight of the exhibition was the unexpected presence of Dr Wura Ogunyemi. About two days before the opening, my mother received a book gift from her friend titled, What's in a Name. My mum thought what a coincidence that I was organising an exhibition on the same subject and she thought it would be a good idea to have some copies at the opening. We managed to contact Dr Ogunyemi who promised to send some copies but as she was a bit frail would not be able to attend the opening.

So you can imagine my surprise and joy when i saw her appear with her daughter climbing slowly up the stairs to our 2nd floor gallery. (Yeah they still haven't installed the lift. Thats Nigeria for you) I immediately took her round the exhibition and she was so so happy and as I talked she filled in the gaps. It was really nice. Then I took her to our library and she was so excited. She only brought 15 copies but they sold out within the hour and I have received orders for 40 copies from Terra Kulture and over 20 more copies for disappointed guests who couldn't buy on the day.

What's in a Name;A Story of Slavery

What's in a Name is a unique perspective on the slave trade, recounting not only the sufferings of the captured millions, but also how West Africa was reshaped politically and socially by those who managed to return.

The book is a good starting reference point for anybody embarking on a study of the slave trade but also for those seeking an appreciation of the human cost to all those involved from the traders to their hapless victims. The book is only 36 pages and should be read by every school age and even adult Nigerian.

CCA,Lagos is currently liasing with art teachers in the secondary schools in the area such as Reagan Memorial, Methodist Girls High School, Queens' College, Our Lady of Apostle (these are some of the earlies schools set up in Lagos by Missionaries and are within 10min of CCA,Lagos). We hope to welcome the students to the exhibitions.
Published in 2007 by Heritage House Press, UK
Tel:00 44 (0)113 286 0819
ISBN: 978-1-905912-07-0

Art Patrons Eng.Shyllon and Chief Gbadamosi talking to
Director of Cultural Centre, Terra Kulture, Bolanle Austen-Pete

Ndidi Dike with CCA,Lagos curator Bisi Silva.

Artists discussion the work, 1 Way, 2008
The turnout to the exhibition was good with people coming in manageable flows which did not overcrowd the space. Also there were 2 other important exhibitions going on at the same time in Lagos which I hope to get to during the week.

Artists Peju Alatise and Uche Edochie catching up.

DoF Member Uche Iroha greeting Aanena Jemitola.

Gallery Manager Rotimi Agbebi with artist Peju Alatise,
Position Magazine Publisher Dapo Adeniyi and artist Victor Ekpuk,

Photographer Sunmi Smart-Cole chatting with artist Chinwe Uwatse.

DoF member Amaize Ojeikere. CCALagos trustee Valerie Nwogbe talking art collector Femi Akinsanya.

Musemag Publisher Ita and cultural consultant Shade Bembatoum-Young. Folake Ojeikere and Ndidi Dike.

Guests at the opening

Folake Ojeikere of Pictureworks and Bisi Silva
As we were getting ready to close I received a call that students from one of Nigeria's premier art institiutions were on their way to the exhibition. Within 30mins approximately 35 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th year Fine Arts student arrived at the gallery. On seeing elder artist, Mr Kolade Oshinowo they started chanting the departments anthem as a form of respect and acknowledgement of an elder in the room.

The were taken round the exhibition by gallery manager Rotimi, there was a short impromptu question and answer session followed by picture taking. It was truly a befitting finale, interacting with the future generation of contemporary Nigerian artists - to a really fulfilling evening.

ABU, Zaria Fine Art Students with CCALagos Staff, Mr Kolade Oshinowo
and Moses of Quintessence Gallery.

Rotimi Agbebi taking the students round the exhibition


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10 February 2010 at 07:41  
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