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Joke Silva, Taiwo Ajai-­Lycett​, others advocate for gender equality

From left: Modupe Thani, Etisalat Head Events and Sponsorship, Henshaw, Omonor, Fafunwa, Silva, Akintola and Lolo Eremie, Head of Events, Cool FM.
The stage is set for ‘Hear Word! – Naija Woman Talk True,' a play based on a collection of true life stories which aims at dressing and highlighting the challenges of Nigerian women through theatrical performance.

The play directed by Ifeoma Fafunwa premiers on Saturday, May 2, at MUSON Centre, Onikun, Lagos, by 2: pm. It is produced by iOpenEye production.
This theatre production kicks off with a special performance at the University of Lagos on April 29. The production will subsequently run at the MUSON Centre every Friday and Saturday in May, alongside satellite performances in public spaces around Lagos.

 Joke Silva during press session which recently held at Goethe Institute in Lagos, Nigeria, said: “One of my pieces in the play is about the pressure parents, especially mothers put on their children. We think it is our tradition as mothers and we are pressurising our children into this mindset of incompleteness unless we (women) are married and have children.

“This is not right because we don’t do the same to a man. The pressure we put on the man is slightly different. We put the wrong kind of pressure on our men. We allow our men to get away with things they shouldn’t get away with it. We allow them as the British will call it ‘sole their wild oath’ and bring their wild oath into what union they are in and we also pressurise the men in a wrong way. These are some of the things we examine in Hear Word!’ she said.

Bimbo Akintola described Hear Word as the best platform to address the issues of violence against women such as rape and murder “Things I hate about our people is that they sweep some issues under the carpet, we don’t want o talk about it and if you are that person that wants to talk about it, they tag you with names. And if you are not married they call you a prostitute,” she stressed angrily. 

Omonor, Deborah Ohiri, Lala Akindoju, Zara Udofia, Rita Edward, Ufuoma McDermott, Joke Silva, Taiwo Ajai-­Lycett, Kate Henshaw, Bimbo Akintola and Elvina Ibru and Odenike are some of the cast in this play. Hear Word is supported by Etisalat, Vlisco, African Magic, Fayrouz, Cool FM and MUSON.  

Transcending Boundaries in London

Lunar Watch, Oil on Canvas; by Abiodun Olaku
The Guild of Professional Fine Artists of Nigeria (GFA) has revealed that 34 of its members will present 34 works in an art exhibition of paintings, installation and sculptures, entitled “Transcending Boundaries” in London. The exhibition will open on April 19 and run until May 17. 

Artists such as Abiodun Olaku, Edosa Ogiugo, Bunmi Babatunde, Fidelis Odogwu, George Edozie and among others will be participating in this big show. The exhibition will commence with champagne reception by 6pm-9pm at Asia House, 63 New Canvendish Street, London.  While the exhibition continues on April 24-May 11  at Lacey Contemporary Gallery, London; La Petite Maison, 54 Broods Mews, London.

“Ten years and still counting, the Guild of Professional Fine Artists of Nigeria, (GFA), has established a ventilating presence with arguably the finest full-time
professionals from the shores of Nigeria.
The asphyxiating economy notwithstanding, the denials of our rightful benefits from an anonymous government notwithstanding, we believe we owe our in-exhaustive motivation and bottomless well of creativity to the transitional spirituality of our calling as well as posterity. 

"On board this time, are highly motivated and vibrant new guild members whose amazing talents and focus are in harmonious tandem with the founding principles, rich philosophies and succinct vision of the founding fathers of the Guild.

The formidable arrival of the Guild on the European art scene some four years ago, through the partnership with Aabru Art, with Mrs Anshu Bahanda in the saddle is not only a game changer, but a paradigm shift from the long hitherto straightjacket fixation of what Contemporary ‘African Art’ is, or what it should be. The bouts of contentions with beholders who wonder about our pedigree when we proudly state that we are “home-grown” and “home based”, has only strengthened our professional resolve to up the ante.

Though the Visual Creative Industry is nascent back home, the variegated content and quality are globally competitive, we are confident to say.

We are delighted and give Glory to God for the Guild’s second participation in the serial exhibition of ‘Transcending Boundaries’ while we are modestly confident that this exhibition would build on the success of the previous one which received very positive critical acclaim.

A State of Mind

Seventeen fascinating abstract paintings by Nengi Omuka in her ongoing solo art exhibition portray what she called “A State of Mind,” inspiration by a “madwoman I saw in Ibadan.”

Omuka’s empathy for the number of mentally ill women roaming the streets is interpreted in most of the works on display at Omenka Gallery, Ikoyi, Lagos. “I am very concerned about the amount of madwomen we see on the streets. That is where the state of a mind thing came from. The first madwoman I saw in Ibadan dressed very beautifully in ankara and she still had her hair dishevelled, so the hair was kind of showing her state of mind and it concerned me that a woman has gone into this state and I wondered about where she came from and what made her got into this state.”

Omuka said: ‘I am basically drawing attention subconsciously, it’s not like I can go to the street and protest but what I can do is paint. This is something that concerns me; this is a personal thing and I am doing a whole lot of painting series on mentally ill women.”

She presents this in a piece she titled: “Who be You?” she composed her impression with total care through colours and shades. You could deduce from Omuka’s works that she loves green a lot.  Many among the seventeen works have a touch of green while about three are produced with various shades of green, one such as Green Scape. “I situate bodies in spacing; sometimes I separate the body from the space. For example, Together Forever has no spacing but it has a space, the red background serves as the space. This piece is a scape, it could be water and it could be anything.”
Her abstract works are neatly done and can be mistaken for a print. The exhibition opened on Saturday, March 21 and closed on April 8.

This Rivers State artist who lives in the United Kingdom hinted that she “gets a lot of questions from people about my works because they are abstract and not immediately understandable.”  When asked what genre is her art, she said, “I feel surrealism, expressionism, realism, impressionism, all these isms were from something very past and are from the West. I don’t want to weigh myself with theirs; my works are Nengism (laughs); that is what they are, it doesn’t belong to any genre.”

Art to her “is not just about things that are happening outside; sometimes it could be something that happened within you. That is what my paintings are.”
28 years Omuku is also a sculptor. She has been painting and sculpturing for eight years and bagged a Bachelor degree from the Slade School of Fine Art, University College London (UCL). She is being represented in Nigeria by Omenka Gallery.