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Tobenna Okwuosa's "From Historical Facts to Poetic Truths" at the African Culture and Design Festival.

Mathew B. Oyedele

Three books by Nigerian writers - The Man Died by Wole Soyinka, There Was a Country: A Personal History of Biafra by Chinua Achebe and Labyrinths by Christopher Okigbo inspired the recent works of Tobenna Okwuosa that were exhibited at the African Culture and Design Festival, in November 2017. These books offer a profound archive for the artist to delve into the past and create an oeuvre that confronts the viewer with guilt-ridden contents. 2017 was the 50th anniversary of the declaration of Biafra, and 50 years after the death of Christopher Okigbo on war front, fighting for Biafra. Okwuosa’s exhibits show the historical facts of the Biafran War and the poetic truths of Christopher Okigbo. The Biafran War is a vital and sensitive aspect of Nigerian history that should be known to all Nigerians so that we may, to borrow an expression, transform yesterday’s action into tomorrow’s wisdom. The provocation of conversations in the collection begins with, The Man Died, a mix…
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Chibuike Uzoma: Troubling the Water with “No Victor, No Vanquished” in Lagos Photo Festival

By Chinezim Moghalu “No Victor, No Vanquished”, part of the ongoing 9th edition of Lagos Photo Festival exhibition, is a body of work by Chibuike Uzoma, which forms part of his ongoing project titled “Museum of Burnt Things”. It is an ambitious and laborious project that reconciles photography with painting in a close-up intertwined sequence. This is the second part of a three part project, which is showing at the yearly festival in Lagos, presently.

The work takes a departure from the term “no victor, no vanquished”, an assertion by Major Yakubu Gowon, who was the head of state during the devastating and violent Nigerian-Biafra civil war that began after seven years of Nigeria’s independence from the British and lasted for three years (1967-1970). This was a statement he made at the end of the war which indicated that there was no victor nor vanquished during such war that was fought between Nigeria’s attacking military forces and embattled southeastern Nigerians, who were agitating fo…


Ake, the film adaptation of Wole Soyinka’s classic childhood memoir Ake, The Years of Childhood is now available on Amazon and other global platforms. Set during World War II years, the story combines a beautiful child-view narrative with resonances from the war as heard and imagined in Soyinka’s hometown in Ake, Abeokuta. It climaxes with the Egba women’s riot of 1945, led by Mrs Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti, mother of the deceased musician Fela Anikulapo-Kuti.

Shot at various locations in Abeokuta, Ibadan, Lagos and East Grinstead, UK, the film has been screened in Lagos and at film festivals in Cannes, France and the United States. The French subtitles were contributed by Alliance Francaise in Nigeria.  
Directed by Dapo Adeniyi and produced by Back Page Productions, the cast of nearly 1000 features some of Nigeria’s foremost professionals in the film and theatre industries including Taiwo Ajayi-Lycett (OON), Yinka Davies, Yeni-Anikulapo-Kuti, Jimi Solanke, Lanike Onimisi-Bennet, Festus Ad…

They Lead, we bleed.

By: Mbata Lawrence
I plead for my dear country Nigeria;
For our green is fading and our white stained with blood.
The giant eagle has refused to fly; its wings have seized to flap.
Their plead to lead have become more than a nightmare. I wish for Moses to lead that we may have roses rather than thorns that causes this bleed.
They took turns to loot;
Blowing their trumpets, they saw us their puppets.
We've been served blemish as dish;
Little wonder we stool at the digest of this. Our mother land has become a murder ground,
Where we mope and wear faces that frown.
Every town is wailing and all I see are hearts failing.
My Nigeria is fading, with hope I wish for peace to awaken. Drunk in hatred they kill more than a hundred;
That's the headline each day I mope at the mirror.
I go to sleep today to wake up tomorrow;
I close my eyes to pray for Nigeria.

My pottery is an extension of my sculpture- Ato Arinze.

By: Mathew B. Oyedele

Ato Arinze was recently a guest on Artsdiscourse with Mathew B. Oyedele - an online platform for the discourse and critique of the arts - where he shares his content, technique, and experiences.  
He opens up on his technique of production and how his method of copper finishing typically evident in his recent body of works came to be. He makes his pots with coiling methods. And recently, he likes to bend, compress and sometimes punch his vessels to delineate the unstable situations in the country. As a young artist, Ato would always go to the National Museum in Lagos to meditate before the Igbo-Ukwu bronze pots. This would later inspire his copper finishing method.
The artist did not fail to recognize his short stint with the iconic Abayomi Barber at the University of Lagos in 1993 as a stepping stone and blessing in his artistic career. He confides that the barber art school exposed him to detailed rendition of forms and dexterous execution which remains visibl…


By: Mathew B. Oyedele

A couple of days ago, Ato Arinze and Djakou Kassi Nathalie opened their joint exhibition at the Quintessence Gallery, Ikoyi, Lagos and the exhibition runs till 24th of June. The works that are presented in this show offers a marked contrast and deviation from the functionality label that is consciously or unconsciously tagged on ceramics.
Ato and Nathalie's works are strongly different in content and style. Born in Cameroun, Nathalie lived and taught in Cameroun before coming to Nigeria some years ago. Ato schooled in the southwestern and southeastern parts of Nigeria respectively.The fact that they both grew up in different environments have major influences on their works.
For Ato, the Nigerian landscape offers an array of opportunity to define and conceptualize his art. He alludes to socio-political situations with simple shapes and sound contents. Nathalie's works neither questions nor comment on socio-political happenings - spontaneity and primacy …

Eyayu Genet: An Artist of National Consciousness

By: Mathew B. Oyedele

This writer cannot but start by narrating his first encounter with Eyayu Genet’s painting. It was an encounter of a colourful and intense communication.
On this day, I went through my notifications, my messages and back to my timeline. While scrolling through my timeline, a frame of colours hit my retina with a forceful iridescence that made me pause for minutes; I had stumbled on a painting. I later saved the painting for subsequent examination and appreciation.
Reading into its iconography was strenuous but the formal analysis of the painting wouldn’t let you give up on it. The dominant form in the painting occupies the right side of the frame and the only vivid image I could see is an image of a head of a cow whose horns reaches to the sky. There is a house at the left-foreground of the painting that stands apart from the rest of the images and the interplay of warm and cool colours offer a perspective visage into the painting.
“In that painting, I am talking…