Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Dont panic, it is a movie scene

Florence Ngwu
Many blogs posted this photo last week, claiming that another student was found dead in a hotel in Lagos after the gruesome murder of a girl, Cunthia Osokogu in a hotel last year.
This is photo is a girl named Florence Ngwu, a 300L student of University of Nigeria acting in a movie called Murder at Prime Suite Hotel which featured Florence Ngwu Joseph Benjamin and Chelsea Eze, among others.

It seems Jim Iyke has found his missing rib

Jim Iyke and Nadia Buari
Popular Nollywood star, Jim Iyke and Nadia Buari have been seen together recently. They were spotted at a fashion show in Ghana over the weekend. Good march!
Mrs. Folorunso Alakija

Alakija's children
According to a report by Society Now, one of the world's richest women, billionaire oil tycoon Mrs Folorunso Alakija recently acquired four brand new 2013 G-Wagons for her four sons. Each is said to have cost at least N22mllion, minus shipping.
The luxury SUVs, which were specially made for the Alakija boys, were brought into the country a few weeks back.
The founder of The Rose of Sharon Group and also the Executive Vice Chairman of her oil exploration and production company, is said to be worth about $600m (as of 2012) and makes about $1m daily from her oil business. She also has a real estate portfolio worth over $100 million.
She lives in Lagos with Modupe Alakija, her beloved husband of over 36 years, and their four sons, daughter-in-law and grandchild. 

Novelists, poets toast to Late Chinua Achebe in Lagos

Prof Chinua Achebe's books

Prof. Chinua Achebe
It was indeed a memorable evening when distinguished members of the literary world gathered to pay tributes and observe readings on the life and works of literary icon, poet, novelist and critic, Late Prof. Chinua Achebe.
Tagged: A Toast to an Extraordinary Life, Chinua Achebe, a Literary Maverick, a Humanitarian, National Treasure and Global Voice, the event took place on Thursday, July 18, 2013, at the Gallery at Freedom Park, Old Prison Ground, Broad Street, Lagos.
Powered by Moet & Chandon Champagne, the event was curated by Tolu Ogunlesi, who, during his opening speech said the day of the event was a symbolic one as it was Dr. Nelson Mandela’s birthday. “We are here to discuss what Achebe means to Nigerians and the world,” Ogunlesi said.
The event  which also featured reminisces of Achebe’s life and works kicked off around Other highlights of the event include music and tributes from writers, friends and family.
In his speech, Mr. Toyin Akinosho presented a book by James Collins, “Africa Writes Back,” which deals with the emergence of African Literature. The book was an expose of the important role Achebe played through his works and position to popularise African literature. He read some pages of the book which revealed how Things Fall Apart came to be and eulogised the novelists. Toyin also said that Achebe’s meeting with Ngugi wa Thong’o in United Kingdom propelled Ngugi to write a novel called Weep Not Child.
Poet Uzor Maxim Uzoatu
Also speaking, renowned poet, Mr. Uzor Maxim Uzoatu told the audience about his encounter with Late Achebe including when he went to interview him and his observation when he travelled to pay his last respect to the great author.
According to him, inside the bus he boarded to Ogidi, Late Achebe’s hometown, some commuters did not know who was being buried. Seeing people from all walks of life converged in Achebe’s compound, they argued among themselves that a popular Nollywood actor or a footballer might have died. “Eventually, I disembarked at a park near Achebe’s house. Incidentally, Achebe told me that there was a time people asked him whether he was a footballer,” Uzoatu said.
He described Achebe as “a simple person who proved that we have a right to tell our own story. He was an organised person. If you meet him and told him about an idea you conceived about writing a book, he would advise you to go and write it instead of talking about it.
“In United Kingdom and the United States of America, they only want to read what they like and believe that only books from their countries make sense. So, Achebe challenged that belief and showed the need for us to tell our own stories. Some of us lack courage to defend our rights unlike Achebe. There was a time he travelled to Zimbabwe and sat in a bus, and people wondered why a black could sit in front. When they told him that blacks are not supposed to sit there, he told them: “No, in my country I sit where I like.”
“Achebe used proverbs and idioms in his books which are common to people but he applied them in his works to spice the books and make them interesting for readers. “
Other speakers included Deji Toye, Eghosa Imasuen and Ralph Eghator, among others.
An anonymous speaker sent the audience reeling with laughter when he said Achebe was a romantic person who in his novel wrote, “If you are talking to a lady and begins to shake her legs, it means she wants to have sex.”
Guests at an Evening of tributes and reading for Chinua Achebe
Someone also shared how principled the late father of African literature was and recalled how he rejected 50 cent’s offer of $1 million for him to use his book title, Things Fall Apart in his movie. He also described him as a freedom fighter that used his pen as a weapon and also took his nativity and made it superlative.
The social critic and foremost novel writer died on March 21, 2013, at the age of 82 years at a hospital in Boston, Massachusetts, United States of America. The author of the widely read novel, Things Fall Apart, until his death, was the David and Mariana Fisher University Professor of Africana Studies and Literary Arts at Brown University, an American Ivy-league institution located in Providence, Rhode Island. He was buried on May 23, 3013, in his hometown, Ogidi, Anambra State.
Some of his novels include: No Longer at Ease, Arrow of God, A Man of The People, There Was a Country and a number of short stories, children's books and essay collections.
Everyone that attended the event went home with a determination to strive and be successful in their vocations like Achebe whose works would stay forever and impact the lives of many unborn generations.
Nigerian writer, poet, playwright, winner of Nobel Prize in Literature, 1986, Wole Soyinka, was the special guest of honour at the event.
Other personalities that graced the occasion include Kemi Adetiba, Steve Ayorinde, Wana Udobang, OfiliSpeaks, Ebi Atawodi, Bisi Silva, Segun Adefila, Temi Dollface, Ayeni Adekunle and Chris
From_L-R_Toyin_Akinosho,_Ebi_Atawodi,_Tolu_Ogunlesi  , Ann Ogunsulire, Jahman Anikulapo

Osun-Osogbo Festival 2013 holds in August

Osun Osogbo Festival. Photo from Create Space

Preparations for this year’s Osun Osogbo festival have reached an advanced stage. The annual festival, recognized by The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), according information made available to Daily Newswatch, will commence on August 12 with the clearing of traditional paths to the Osun Grove, followed by the departure of the maid Arugba-Osun from the shrine with a calabash on August 23.
According to the Chief Executive Officer of Infogem Ltd, official marketers of the festival, Chief Ayo Olumoko, members of the Performing Musicians Association (PMAN) are set for the rite of cleansing and blessing that the festival symbolises.
While speaking with journalists in Lagos recently, the Ataoja of Osogbo, Oba Jimoh Oyetunji, revealed that Osun Osogbo festival is a leading cultural festival which tourists could learn a lot from. He gave a brief history of the origin of the festival, assured visitors that this year’s event would be interesting. He also expressed gratitude to Osun State Government and many business organsations for their enormous contribution towards the success of the yearly event.
In his speech, the Special Adviser to Governor Rauf Aregbesola on Tourism and Culture, Mr. Ladi Soyede, said the state is ready to welcome visitors from the entire world in this year’s festival and assured them a hitch-free outing.
He revealed that a film titled Osunfunke, sponsored by the government and produced by first female talking drummer, Ara, would be premiered during the festival.
A lot of activities lined up for this year’s celebration among others include: cultural display, musical shows and other interesting shows.
Among top musicians slated to thrill tourists with their songs include apala music star, Musiliu Haruna-Isola during the Atupa Oloju Merindinlogun (lighting of the 16-eyed lamp) event. Other special features in this year’s event include the introduction of art exhibition, musical concert, football competition, golfers’ cocktail night and health talks.
This event’s official sponsors include MTN, Nigeria Breweries and Grand Oak.

My experience while building Dana air crash cenotaph - Idowu Sonaya

Cenotaph built as memorial for Dana plane crash victims.
Idowu Sonaya
He is a renowned sculptor, painter and graphic artist based in
Lagos. Idowu Sonaya, the treasurer of the Society of Nigerian Artists, Lagos State Chapter, recently led a team of sculptors that built the cenotaph at the site where Dana aircraft crashed last year. He speaks to ADA DIKE on how important that cenotaph meant to him.
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*Can you tell us about yourself?
I was born in Lagos State, but my family came from Odogbolu in Ogun State. I attended my primary and early part of my secondary school in Ibadan, Oyo State before my uncle took me to Ogun State where I completed my secondary school in Ago-Iwoye Secondary School, Ogun State.
From there, I proceeded to Lagos in 1987 and later enrolled for a part time programme to study General Arts in Yaba College of Technology. I also did my Higher National Diploma in Yaba College of Technology. There, I attended an interview and someone among my interviewers told me that I would do well as a sculptor than a painter. From that moment, I took to sculpting.
I discovered that there is no medium I cannot do well, but sculpting was something a bit far from me, even though I did it in general art. I started making use of clay, wood, cement, fibre glass and different mediums that I needed to explore. I was one of the best students then. I graduated in 1999. During my youth service period, I served at a school in Niger State, where I taught students Fine Arts and English Language.
When I returned to Lagos, I taught in a secondary school, Ekum College, Amukoko, Lagos, before I went fully into sculpting. Even while I was in school, I have been sculpting and having exhibitions. I stopped teaching in 2007 and have since been practising Fine Arts fully.
*Some people regard sculpting as a cumbersome work. How do you cope with it?
Some artists prefer to do sculpting, some prefer to do painting, some prefer to do art and craft like tie-dye and so on. Personally, I enjoy doing what I do because I like it. At times, I do work for free, but what actually motivates me is because I enjoy doing it.
Yes, it is cumbersome, that is why it is called artwork. If it is not laborious, nobody will call it artwork. There is no shortcut to anything meaningful. You must work hard, that is why I dedicated myself to it. It is what I am called to do. I don’t have any other work, so I don’t know whether it is difficult. I like the outcome of my works, though the beginning may not be smooth. Rome was not built in a day. You have to go through a particular process for you to achieve an excellent result.
*How do you source for your clients?
I write a lot of proposals to government agencies, ministries, corporate organisations and individuals. Sometimes, government and individuals meet me and propose what they want without me proposing to them. We then share ideas and arrive at a point, but most of my proposals have been applauded.
For example, I have executed many works that people appreciated. I developed the concept and they were executed. After several proposals I wrote to Lagos State, I was commissioned to build a sculpture of Late Alhaja Abibat Mogaji, mother of Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu, which is yet to be commissioned.
I also proposed to build the gate at the National Library, Lagos, and I was given the privilege to handle it. I also proposed to build the sculptural gate at the Rowe Park, Onike, Lagos and I was given the privilege to execute the project.
Concerning the cenotaph of the Dana plane that crashed last year at Iju, Lagos, it was a proposal from the Ministry of Works, Lagos State and I was asked to execute it. I did it within a short period of time - less than two weeks.
I called a few number of people to assist me. You cannot do everything alone even if you developed the concept. Some people will help you to mix clay and some will help you to apply other materials.
Idowu Sonaya
*What did you use to build the cenotaph?
The medium I used was fibre glass- mixture of a chemical known as resin with a fibrous material known as mat and other chemicals that were mixed together to make sure that you have the fibre glass in place. There are some other additions like the plaster of paris (POP) and so on.
*Did Lagos State government draft the concept or did you suggest how it would look like?
Actually, the Ministry of Works invited me and gave me a script of how they wanted it to look like because there was a mapped out plan already. I only saw the plan and they told me that, that was how they wanted it to look like and I worked with it. What we only did was to find the actual model of the plane.  But the only thing we avoided was to put the name of the airline on the cenotaph because it is a sculpture that would help remind people of the memory of the tragic event. We pray that things like that will not happen again.
*Being a contract that fetched you money, it is possible that you were concerned about the money you charged. What was going on your mind while building it?
It is not every work that I do that brings money. If it were for the monetary gain, I wouldn’t do it at all. I lost a niece with her children in the crash, so, that made me to feel very sad about the mishap. When I heard that Lagos State wanted to do a memorial of one year of the crash, I was happy about that because that also helps to keep her in our memory for generations to come.
Her death in that crash was a great loss to our family. It was really something that touched me as well. What actually spurred me was putting my niece into a memorial not the monetary gain involved. When you have something like a memorial or memorabilia in place after a tragic occurrence, you would console yourself.
*Among all the works you have done as an artist, which one is the most challenging one?
The most challenging work I have done so far was the Dana air crash cenotaph, because it was done within a very short period. Secondly, the installation was done in a very unfamiliar way. Because of its weight, it is supposed to be lifted with a crane. That very morning the memorial took place, they told us that we have to move it there. Crane could not enter that site that morning so that it won’t spoil the stones there. So, when we saw the challenges of mounting it, we summoned courage and ensured that the work was mounted that morning.
At a point, I had to order that it should be brought down because I did not want anyone to die while mounting it, but my team encouraged me so we mounted it.
* You did a beautiful painting of Nigerian singer, Asa. Are you her fan or did she ask to do that work for her?
I did that work on Asa because her music inspires me in a very different way. Her kind of music is unique, that is why she is being classified as my special brand of artiste. I wanted to do something but decided to do it about her when I saw her. So I picked up my water colour and started painting.
*Do you intend to sell it or give it Asa when you see her?
Why not? People have even shown interest in buying it. But I can present to her if I happen to have a meeting with her, because she has promoted Nigeria’s music industry in a special way.
*How do you intend to sustain the momentum you are getting in your career?
God alone can help me to sustain the momentum because I cannot do it alone. I will keep on doing my bit and allow God to do the rest. With God’s help, I will continue to be at the right place at the right and meet the right people and propose to them about what I do.
*What is your view about art generally in Nigeria?
Art in Nigeria has never been the way it is now, concerning the popularity and the kind of market we command today. We are getting there. It has improved over the years. Since five years ago, we have seen many developments concerning art business in Nigeria. People are really patronising us unlike before when people looked down on artists. We are happy that people are now identifying with us. We have auction every year unlike before when what we were doing were not so much pronounced. More artists are getting informed and more upcoming artists are being encouraged because it brings food on the table of many people. It is a serious business, not what someone will do alongside another profession.
But I implore the federal government to create policies that will make artworks exchangeable media for collateral just like landed property banks demand when somebody wants to collect loan. Artwork is a valuable property that can appreciate over years. Let government create an agency that can recognise and code artworks that can stand the test of time and can be exchanged as valuable items for those that want to borrow money.
*As a treasurer of the Society of Nigerian Artists, Lagos State Chapter, how do you intend to reach out to other artists who don’t belong to your society?
 I got to know about the Society of Nigerian Artists while I was in school and one can join once you are a graduate with minimum of Higher National Diploma. The policy then was that every graduate in a higher institution is an automatic member of the professional body, the Society of Nigerian Artists. So we are not leaving that out. Very soon, we will be having programmes with students in secondary schools and higher institutions to sensitise them about art as a profession. For the artists that have graduated and are not part of the body, we encourage them to join. We always try to carry everybody along.
*What is your advice for the upcoming artists?
They should believe in themselves. They should not be discouraged. They should work hard and pray hard so that they will excel. They will grow if they work hard because we have galleries, museums, government agencies and institutes they can use to project themselves to the crescendo.
*Who is your mentor?
My mentor, even though I have never said it before now, had been Professor Ben Enwonwu because, his achievements have been so outstanding. Although, I don’t have the same opportunity to study abroad, I believe that I can still make a difference wherever I am. I really appreciate his achievement and I believe God will help me to do a lot in the art world. Another person I want to give credit to is Mr. Olu Awada who inspired me so much through his work while we were in Yaba College of Technology. That made me not to be afraid of any work I have because somebody that has been doing it.
*Do you feel fulfilled as an artist?
Yes, I do because I have been able to let the world know who I am. If not the whole world, at least many Nigerians know me. I feel fulfilled because the joy of every artist is to be famous. Every other achievement is by the way. You are not the one doing it anyway, it is your work that speaks for you and advertises you to the world. My works have taken me to a lot of places and many events. It is also bringing money to my bank account. So, what else do I need from this profession? Apart from sculpture, I do graphic design, water colour painting and so on.
Idowu Sonaya