Twelve finalists have emerged for this year’s National Art Competition.
Organised by African Artists Foundation (AAF) and Nigerian Breweries (NP) Plc, the finalists are Chidinma Nnorom Chinke, Mary Edoga Chioma, Alayande Ayanwale, Brigitte Sésu Tilley-Gyado, Karimah Ashadu and Taiye Idahor.
Others are Olanrewaju Tejuoso, Felicia Okpara Tochukwu, Erasmus Onyishi, Victoria Udondian, the duo of Chuka Ejorh and Olamide Udo-Udoma, as well as the duo of Halima Abubakar and Zemaye Okediji.
The finalists were engaged in a retreat, which began on July 29 till last Friday at Nimbus Art Gallery, Ikoyi, Lagos, where they had the opportunity to exchange ideas with one another and participate in workshops facilitated by leading artists, scholars, and practitioners in their fields. After the retreat, finalists are expected to spend four months to execute their final project.
The curator of African Artists Foundation, Joseph Gergel, said over 100 entries were received from the six geo-political zones from which 26 names were shortlisted, then 12 finalists emerged after screening from Prof El Anatsui led selection committee.
Furthermore, he said: “For us, the criteria were how the artist was able to interpret the theme, “Identity: Who Do You Think You Are” in a very original way. We encouraged the artists to think intellectually about what their message content is,” he said.
The theme explores how artists view the relationship between individual and collective identity in Nigeria today and examines the role of art as a vehicle for social change. The ongoing debate in Nigeria about the value and function of our national identity is persistent: do we identify ourselves with our state of origin, or do we accept the communities in which we reside, embracing them as our home? What are our anxieties about our perceived status in society and how has globalisation and social media boosted or influenced this status? These and other ideas addressing personal identity will be explored in the National Art Competition 2013 through the development of the 12 finalists’ projects.
The organisaers also said that the competition aims to promote the development of contemporary African art and raise awareness on social issues through the use of creative artistic expression.
Workshop facilitators and artist mentors at the retreat included Olu Amoda, Uche Okpa-Iroha, Jelili Atiku, Delphine Fawundu, Kelechi Amadi-Obi, Robin Hammond, Prince Yemisi Shyllon, Nick Hagen, Joseph Gergel, Orlando Reade, Roger Woodbridge and Richard Eko.
This year’s competition experienced unprecedented number of strong and conceptually impressive entries, which proposed a variety of artistic practices in response to the theme.