August 11, (THEWILL) – This article describes the origin of art tourism destinations, through Life In My City Art Festival (LIMCAF). The contribution of its other existing activities for growing art across states, in this piece, Janefrances Chibuzor Writes.
The long-awaited 15th edition of the Life In My City Art Festival (LIMCAF), has extended beyond empowering young artists; and promoting pan-Nigeria art that offers young people an avenue in showcasing their artworks. But, the exhibition has created a notable national and international art tourist destination in Enugu, where it started.
This was revealed by Director of Art, LIMCAF, Dr Ayo Adewunmi, during the recent exhibition, held in Thought Pyramid Art Centre, Lagos.
However, the event aimed at contributing through a fresh grassroots perspective to the growth of art and art tourism in Nigeria.
The exhibition, which featured about 34 artworks across diverse mediums with different titles, sizes, and years, will be held across other key regions including Abuja, Ibadan, Osun, Port Harcourt, Auchi, Oyo and Enugu.
Explaining further, Dr Adewunmi noted the five-day exhibition, which began on Wednesday, August 3, 2022, through Sunday, August 7, 2022, has involved young people in a national interactive visual art fiesta in various centres within the country.
With its theme, ‘Paradox Of Muted Echoes’, their participation in the exhibition enabled them to meaningfully express themselves on the state of their immediate environment through art.”
Explaining the intent of the 2022 theme, he said, “The theme for this year suggests that things may not always be the way they are perceived. It also seems to suggest that sometimes, silence being a vital part of sound; may be a potent device, to enable us to hear from within, but it still prevents a paradox.”
Describing the selection process for LIMCAF 2022, he said “the selection process was in three stages. Stage one is an online selection by the National jury of works that are suitable for regional Exhibition. Stage two is the physical exhibition of selected entries in the regions. At this stage, the local jury will sight the physical works and select the best artworks that will be part of the top 100 for the grand finale Exhibition in Enugu, while stage three is the grand finale exhibition of the top 100 artworks in Enugu, at this stage, the national jury will assemble in Enugu to review, rank top 100, as well as decide various awards.
“For over 15 years, LIMCAF has created and sustained a platform which has empowered more than 1,500 young artists, promoted art pan-Nigeria through the annual competition that offers young people an avenue to showcase and commercialise their products. Won handsome prizes and interacted with the larger art community on a national and international basis.”
The event will climax with a grand finale exhibition, which will be held between 23–29 October, 2022; and an award night scheduled for October 29, at the International Conference Centre, Institute of Management and Technology, Enugu.
In his opening remark, the Executive Director of LIMCAF, Chief Kelvin Ejiofor, noted that the day between the opening day and Sunday, August 7, is set aside for exhibition. According to him, there are eight regions for this year.
“This year we have to shrink the number of regions. He, therefore, likened the shortage of entries to the Academic Staff Union of Universities strike and declared that such circumstances would make it very impossible for young people to compete.
In buttressing these claims, he said “so we normally have entries up to 400, 500, 700 and thereabouts, but this year, we have 270 entries, the lowest in a long time”, he noted.
He commended MTN Nigeria Foundation for their support while appealing for sponsorship and support from other corporate bodies.
“Everybody appreciates art, but not everybody is able to manifest the appreciation. They would not know they are appreciating art because art is life.”
Also speaking at the event, Special Guest of Honour, Dr Kunle Filani, said, “The promotion of young artists is very critical to the critic environment.
“The art festival each year has quite a number of young artists competing and is able to identify areas a number of them have transcended from local level to international level.
Speaking further, he stated that apart from using the platform of LIMCAF to showcase their skill performance and other art-related activities. They should know art is about critical thinking, translated through visions of reason in art. Beyond the final product of the art itself, the process of it can give you space in participating in many things about art.
Meanwhile, he advised them to focus on the vision, even as creativity is paramount.
In attendance at the LIMCAF exhibition were the likes of Mr Kelvin Ejiofor, Dr Kunle Filani, Mr Ovie Owatsola, Dr Ayo Adewunmi, Mr Dennis Okoro, among other art stakeholders. Exhibitors. During the exhibition, artists were encouraged to do brief presentations about their paints by telling the audience the paints’ title, medium, size, year, and what actually informed their title. To this, submissions were varied, with artists employing mixed materials, ceramics, acrylic, and other mediums to create their works.
In addition, Manager, Thought Pyramid Art Centre, Mr Ovie Omatsola, said, “we have this mentality to be part of pioneering art stakeholders in Nigeria. Apart from just selling arts and promoting arts, we also concentrate on artists’ welfare by supporting and nurturing them and that formed the next of kin idea. And next of kin in the creating aspect, we are talking about the young artists that will take over from old masters.
“We are very happy to be part of the LIMCAF and the partnership has been going on since 2015. We want to be more functional in the society where we are operating, and that is why we went further to support and encourage artists, especially the young ones.”
Earlier, Dr Adewunmi, while reframing this year’s speech, noted that there would be a competition, where organisers would create a thriving platform for the young artists to showcase their works and talents.
According to him, the programme was not about awards, but opportunities that would enable them to work with the team.
For a visual artist, Okechukwu Martha, “I have been painting since 2016, after graduating from school. And I want to be selected as one of the 15 top artists that will be in Enugu for the grand finale.”