By Chioma Ndife
An art exhibition titled, ”Unexpected Changes”, has been held in Awka, Anambra State, to showcase the different unanticipated vicissitudes which rocked human existence and interaction across the globe during the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.
The 5-day art exhibition which was curated by the former Anambra State House of Assembly member that represented Aguata II Constituency, Hon. Ikem Uzoezie, commenced on Tuesday, December 14, and was concluded on Saturday, December 18.
Fides gathered that the exhibition which was organized by Art24 Gallery, Awka, presented a series of familiar oil on canvas paintings and other media, with themes and formal characteristics that were as culturally diverse as they were socially and politically significant.
The displayed works were executed by Valentine Okwei, Tony Enebeli, Nelson Okoh, Donald Onuoha, Segun Abraham, Oluwanbe Amodu, Frank Ohakwe, Edwin Iyobosa, Chris Abednego, Sor Sen and Ehiforia Akhile, among other ingenious young artists. It featured a talk show and poetry reading.
Speaking to Fides, the Curator, Hon Uzoezie, said that the essence of the exhibition was to denote the changes which had been introduced into human society by the pandemic. He said that people never thought that a time would come when they would live apart from each other and doing things more virtually.
He maintained that the exhibition was geared at re-awakening the spirit and artistry hidden in Anambra State and Igbo Land, as people, over time, had engaged themselves in partying without proper reflection of their purpose in life. He expressed optimism to partner with more artists for a bigger art fare exhibition.
He disclosed that some of the works on display had stayed for two to three decades and described himself as lover of nature due to the inner peace associated with it.
He praised the art works of Valentine Okwei, saying that he was inspired by what the artist had been able to achieve for himself, noting that Okwei’s style of work made him to encourage the young man’s creative innovation for more work to be produced. He said that the encouragement necessitated the exhibition.
He said Nigeria could enjoy much foreign patronage if more investment was made in the field of art and regretted that people still associated artifacts with dark powers, thus dissociating themselves with its promotion. He maintained that Africa had beautiful cultures and traditions that could be promoted and brought to limelight through art.
He described art as an infinite project as no specific monetary value attached to any art work could quantify the artist’s imitation and innovation, saying that no artist could let go of his piece of work without placing a value on it.
Contributing, the member representing Nnewi North in the Anambra State House of Assembly, Hon. Nnoso Smart Okafor, said art represented peace, and happiness and helped to heighten one’s imaginations. He said that the right investment in art by government and private institutions could go a long way in encouraging young artists to excel.
He observed that there had been a boom of art displays around various junctions and bus stops in Awka and said such displays were demeaning. He stated that sponsorship from either the government or private sector could bring the artists together for an art fare to enable them to grow. He said that art works had the capacity of benefitting Anambrians boosting their economy.
One of the artists with about 16 works on display, Valentine Okwei, said he was excited having his works exhibited and expressed optimism that the exhibition would enable him to learn more and attain higher heights. He said that hosting his exhibition was a dream come through and appreciated the encouragement which he had received from good spirited individuals.
He believed that young artists that took part in the exhibition would learn how to grow better and recalled that he became interested in art through the motivation he received from his mother through the exposure he had from her scratches, as well as purchase of his works by his father after his return from London in 1992.