Category Archives: Arts & Theatre

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Nnabueze combines art with waste management

EARTH DAY 2023

Chido Nwakanma uses Earth Day today to reflect on Amuche Nnabueze, the artist that combines art and waste management

As the global community marks Earth Day, my mind goes to a woman with a passionate commitment to the sustainability of the environment. Amuche Ngwu Nnabueze deploys her art to her concern for the sustainability of the domain. She pursued this concern to earn a PhD in Fine and Applied Arts at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka.

Dr Amuche Nnabueze is a fine artist who now also teaches the subject at her alma mater.
Her work seeks to improve solid waste disposal, handling and management in Nigeria, starting from Nsukka. It is also to curtail indiscriminate waste disposal using creative processes in South-Eastern Nigeria. Ultimately, she applies the creative arts and crafts approach to reducing indiscriminate waste handling.

Dr Amuche Nnabueze has been concerned with environmental issues for 20 years. I met her in Port Harcourt, where she worked with GTZ as a graphic artist. She then moved to UNN, still serving as a Graphic Artist with administrative responsibilities in an academic environment. After her PhD, she converted to the academic faculty. She is a designer and web developer.
Her passion, however, is in the environment. That passion birthed Sculpted Basket Project, the initiative through which she documents her work and reaches out to society.

Sculpted Basket

Art meets the environmental movement in Sculpted Basket. Amuche teaches and designs crafts projects aimed at remediating the environment. She uses “artistic and creative processes to create and raise awareness about the adverse effects of indiscriminate waste disposal.

“I reach out to educational and municipal policymakers one-on-one and the masses through social media. I teach waste separation starting from the point of generation (PoG) using locally made baskets.”

She also “upcycle and teach upcycle of non-decomposing solid wastes like paper, plastics, clothes, and plastic bottles to school children and young people where they learn how to use these waste materials instead of throwing them out indiscriminately.

“Through these activities, I create networking opportunities between solid waste generators, users, waste workers and managers to understand the process from different perspectives.”

Mrs Nnabueze imagines art beyond the visual appeal. She is now a noted campaigner and member of the global sustainable environment movement and was in Glasgow, Scotland, 2021, for the convention on sustainability.

She teaches sculpture, cultural and creative arts. She is a member of Parents For Future Nigeria and is actively involved in expanding PFF in Nigeria and as an organiser in Parents For Future Global.

She also pioneered the Sculpted Basket Project (SBP), which uses art to educate people about environmental concepts and sustainable lifestyles.
She recalls, “During my undergraduate years, I consistently studied the impact human activities made on the urban area against the quiet and green rural areas. I initiated the Sculpted Basket Project in 2007 after gaining an MFA from Nsukka Art School, working on the project “Utilising Urban Wastes As Media For Sculpture”. My major project was revamping a quadrangle located in the faculty from a waste green site to a sit-out garden using non-decomposing throw-aways. In 2007, the Sculpted Basket Project conducted a basket-making workshop where we raised awareness.”

Sculpted Basket? Hear Dr Nnabueze: “Ikunye mmiri na nkata, “pouring water in a basket”, is an adage in Igbo which refers to making a futile effort. The concept of the Sculpted Basket Project is to use that challenge to achieve something tangible. To patch up baskets so that they can contain water is a literary interpretation of what it set out to do. The enormity of work needed to achieve a fair society in our impoverished environment is a driving force here. My visual concept of baskets contains a problem-solving unit capable of creating multiple impacts in a society with multiple problems.”

Amuche Nnabueze, MFA, converted her passion into a doctoral dissertation. Her work was on “The Utilisation of Urban Solid Wastes for artistic purposes as a tool in environmental management in Nsukka Urban Area”.

What public problem does she seek to solve? Improper waste disposal and management. “There are parastatals of the state government tasked with waste management, yet there is a huge solid waste management problem. Only about 40% of the generated solid wastes in cities find their way to designated places for collection. Only 40% are properly collected due to poor or lack of requisite equipment and staff to meet the ever-growing demand on the municipal facility, and users dump them on open dumpsites. These wastes are uncollected and may stay longer before they start rotting and constituting health and environmental problems. Sometimes the heap may be left to grow into busy street roads.

However, we can reduce these problems if these wastes are properly handled from the generation point by separating wastes and handling them according to type.”

Post-Glasgow, Amuche continues to pursue one of the goals of her PhD project to improve the primary school Cultural and Creative Arts curriculum to incorporate teaching about recycling and environmental management. She will reach out directly to schools and the local and state governments.

“The Sculpted Basket Project will need to network between schools to create reliable data ranging from location to Creative Arts schedule in their timetables. It needs to develop teaching aids. A mobile creative workstation (a mobile studio) will be essential since most schools are not adequately equipped for teaching and learning arts. This mobile workstation will need a desktop publishing capacity and worktables with various tools. Outcomes from this phase will continue to contribute to establishing an arts and crafts centre from which the Sculpted Basket Project can engage other felt needs in society”.

Editor’s Note

You can check Dr Amuche Nnabueze’s craft and journey on these sites.
www.tearfund.org/tilz/footsteps_75/local_environemnt_local_crafts; www.sculptedbaskets.blogspot.com; Globalcrit.tumblr.com; www.unn.edu.ng; www.ccalagos.org; or artspeakafrica.blogspot.com; globalcrtiticlinic.wordpress.com; and books.google.com.ng/books/ What we want is Free, Second edition: Critical Exchanges in Recent Art edited by Ted Purves, Shane Aslan Selzer

Iké Udé’s Nollywood Portraits opens at Washington Smithsonian

Iké Udé's Nollywood Portraits

Iké Udé’s Nollywood Portraits opens at Smithsonian Washington DC

Iké Udés Nollywood Portraits
Iké Udés Nollywood Portraits
Iké Udés Nollywood Portraits

Tomorrow 2 February 2022, Iké Udé: Nollywood Portraits, an exhibition by a Nigerian-American artist, featuring Nollywood stars opens at the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art in Washington DC.

Udé, who uses his art practice to explore issues of race, gender, identity, and African/Black diasporic representation, has developed a reputation for portraiture and is recognized as a Master of Self Portraiture along with Andy Warhol, Rembrandt, and Van Gogh.

A US-based artist, he returned to Nigeria in 2014 after three decades away with the goal of creating classic, elegant portraits of Nollywood personalities and taking them to the highest art and cultural institutions in the world.

Seeking to elevate Nigerian film industry icons on the world stage at a time when there were no global streaming services distributing Nollywood films was indeed prescient.

Today, Nigerian cultural exports are gaining more prominence on the global stage as Afrobeats takes the world by storm and Nollywood films are more accessible to a worldwide audience. Iké Udé could not have chosen a better time to make a bold statement about the power of African identity and beauty, countering the centuries of marginalization by Eurocentric cultural arbiters.

To learn more about the exhibition, visit https://africa.si.edu/exhibitions/current-exhibitions/ike-ude-nollywood-portraits/

Iké Udé’s Nollywood Portraits opens at Smithsonian Washington DC

The Son of the House deserves a sequel

Chido Nwakanma in a positive review of The Son of the House highlights its unending appeal and calls for a sequel. The Book won the 2020 NLNG Literature Prize.

BOOK REVIEW

  • Book: The Son of the House
  • Author: Cheluchi Onyemelukwe-Onuobia
  • Publisher: Penguin, 2019
  • Reviewer: Chido Nwakanma

At the end of this novel, the cliffhanger of many interesting turns elicited from me a desire for more. It is just as well that The Son Of The House is so riveting and dramatic that it will make the screen. Fittingly so, our Nollywood loves sequels, and films come as Part One to Three.

The sort of sequel for this book would be a first-person narrative about the son. Afam Obiechina was the backdrop in this enthralling novel that I consider Part One. I fantasise we should subsequently hear Afam’s account of his growing up and his life up to this point. It would be akin to the story of Obi Okonkwo in No Longer At Ease, a self-contained sequel to the eponymous Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe.

I go ahead of myself, though, as Cheluchi Onyemelukwe-Onuobia triggers the imagination. Her book raises many questions.

The principal one for the interested reader is what is it about this work that has gripped the world and made it a first-class offering like its writer earned in school?

The short answer is that The Son of the House offers a deft exploration of sensitive universal issues that tug at the hearts of citizens and societies. They include the innocence of teen romance versus betrayal, class distinctions, childlessness and loss of a child.

The longer is the pre-eminence of the male child in specific socio-cultural settings such as South-East Nigeria, the stage for the book, and the place of women in a patriarchal society.

The blurb of this version offers a good summary, with slight editing.
“Julie and Nwabulu, two abducted women, decide to tell each other their stories to ‘pass the time’ while awaiting their loved ones to ransom them. Both women find in telling their stories that their lives intersect at significant junctions. Nwabulu, the one-time housemaid and now a successful fashion designer, finds that Julie has answers to the one ache she has carried in her heart since her late teens. Julie, a septuagenarian who has lived a life of subterfuges, each one bigger than the last, finds that she must now confront her biggest lies”. The Son of the House runs on two tracks of the stories of these women. The writer takes the reader through a wide range of human emotions.

The Son of the House is set in Enugu and covers 1972 to 2011. The author captures with high fidelity the physical and social setting of the city on the hill and the former capital of Eastern Nigeria. Her account shows sensitivity to details.

One of the appeals of The Son of the House is how it treats sociological issues around cultural practices and beliefs without liberal condescension, heckling or sermonising. The author describes and allows the reader the latitude to draw her inferences and judgements.

It brings to bear current realities such as kidnapping, youth unemployment, and politicians’ character. There are also the place and role of women in a patriarchal society. Julie schemed her way into the kidnap and pushed for the disclosures that caused her stroke. Unravelling what happened thereafter is where Afam’s story begins. Julie should be alive to connect the dots.

Cheluchi Onyemelukwe-Onuobia reminds me of the griots of old who weave compelling narratives that taught lessons and values. The authorial voice in this book is subtle. The language is polished, English yet very familiar and Nigerian.

The Son of The House deserves all the accolades for the writer. Awards and recognitions include the 2020 SprinNG Women Authors Prize, the 2019 Sharjah International Book Fair prize, Winner of the $100000 2021 Nigeria Prize for Literature. CBC Radio Canada listed it in the 35 Canadian books to check out in summer 2021. Channels Television Nigeria named it in The Top Nigerian Books of 2019. It earned a shortlist for the 2021 Giller Prize.

The Son of the House kept me company from 30 November through 5 December in Freetown, Sierra Leone, during the stress caused by an airline cancelling the Freetown-Lagos flight with neither reason nor compensation.

Grab a copy to read. I highly recommend it.

Lawyer wins N50m Literature Prize for debut novel

Prof. Cheluchi Onyemelukwe-Onuobia, academic and lawyer wins N50m Literature Prize for her debut novel, The Son of the House.

Penguin in January 2019 published the novel by Cheluchi, a professor of law at Nigeria’s Babcock University.

The NLNG-sponsored Prize, easily Africa’s richest literary award, delivers $100,000 (about N50 million) to the winner each year.

Ultimately, the advisory board considered Prose Fiction entries for this year’s Prize.

The son of the House beat two other entry finalists to grab a win, announced at the Weekend by the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) Company.

The three title novels that made it to the final stages are:

  • Abi Dare, The Girl with The Louding Voice
  • Obinna Udenwa, The Colours of Hatred, and
  • Cheluchi Onyemelukwe-Onuobia, The Son of The House

The Board Advisory Chair for the Prize, Prof. Akachi Adimora-Ezeigbo, anounced the three finalists at a virtual press conference on 27 August.

The Selection Process

A total 202 authors successfully submitted entries for the Prize.

However a board of judges subsequently pruned the entries to 11 best works from the pack.

The Best Eleven included the following:

Obianuju V. ChukwuorjiDelusion of Patriots
Samuel MonyeGive Us Each Day
Chukwudi EzeThe Return of Half- Something
Anaele IhuomaImminent River
Olukorede S. YishauIn The Name of Our Father
Tony NwakaMountain of Yesterday
Lucy Chiamaka OkwumaNeglected
Obinna UdenwaThe Colours of Hatred
Abi DareThe Girl with The Louding Voice
Law Ikay Ezeh Your Church My Shrine
Cheluchi Onyemelukwe-OnuobiaThe Son of The House

Toyin Jegede, professor of Literature in English at the University of Ibadan, chaired the 3-person panel that shortlisted the 11.

Others were Prof. Tanimu Abubakar (Arts Department, Ahmadu Bello University), and Dr. Solomon Azumurana (Department of English, University of Lagos).

About the Book

The Son of the House is the story of two kidnapped women who spend their time in captivity swapping stories that connected their childhood challenges to contemporary pains of women in an African cultural setting. Thus, the novel explores subsisting African cultural themes around polygamy and patriarchy and their gender impact.

The Son was consequently greeted with critical acclaim at its publication, and has now chalked up three significant awards.

A reviewer in GoodReads said the following of the book’s technique and ending:

“I wasn’t ready for the book to end when it did. It leaves the reader on a semi-cliffhanger, although not an unsatisfying one. Rather than feeling cheated as I often do when things don’t feel fully concluded, I instead felt free to imagine the next chapters of the story (and) how I’d like to see them.”

The Son of the House has been shortlisted for Canada’s prestigious Scotiabank Giller Prize for 2021.

However, it already chalked up three big wins including the NLNG Prize and the 2020 SprinNG Women Authors Prize.

In addition, it also won Best International Fiction Book Award at the Sharjah International Book Fair its first publication year (2019).

About the NLNG Prize

Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) announced the Prize in 2004 as the NLNG Prize for Literature.

Today, advisory board members who administer the Prize come from the Nigeria Academy of Letters and Association of Nigerian Authors.

At its inception, the prize winner took home $20,000. The amount was progressively raised to $30,000 (2006), $50,000 (2008) and $100,000 in 2011.

The Prize was not awarded in three years (2004, 2009, 2015) because award judges considered entries sub-standard.

The Prize rotates yearly amongst four literary categories: prose fiction, poetry, drama, and children’s literature.

Lawyer wins N50m Literature Prize

Anambra Endows Achebe Prize for Nigeria Writing

Anambra State endows N1million annual Chinua Achebe Prize for Nigerian writing, Govermment spokesperson, C. Don Adinuba, has said.

Named the Chinua Achebe Prize for Nigerian Writing, it is to be awarded to the best novel published by a Nigerian writer in each calendar year.

This was announced on the eve of the 40th anniversary of Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA) which Achebe co-founded in 1981.

The Prize is to be administered by ANA, Adinuba said in Awka today while speaking to journalists.

The spokesperson said the prize is distinctive from the existing ANA Fiction Prize, ANA Poetry Prize, and ANA Drama Prize.

It will draw entries from distinguished publishers in Nigeria, Africa and the world, he said.

This provides opportunity for the Nigerian Diaspora that rates quite high on the literary front to identify strongly with the home front.

Chinua Achebe blazed a trail in world literature when he published the classic Things Fall Apart on June 17, 1958 at barely 27 years of age.

Anambra endows Achebe Prize
Gov. Willie Obiano of Anambra State

The novel has since been translated to well over 60 languages and ignited a boom in African writing.

The other novels of Achebe are No Longer At Ease, Arrow of God, A Man of the People, and Anthills of the Savannah.

ANA President, Prof. Camilus Uka, of Imo State University commended Governor Obiano for the honour to Achebe.

“It is reassuring that there are top government officials like Chief Obiano who appreciate ideas, letters and culture.”

Professor Uka said that the governor’s gesture has galvanised ANA to consider holding a meeting in Awka to mark the association’s 40th anniversary as it has already done in some Nigerian cities.

Enugu City Arts Scene

Enugu, the coal City has a very healthy and burgeoning arts scene. As a result, the Coal City has always been the watering hole for the art connoisseur.

With five universities and a polytechnic famous for its arts school, all located in the heart of the city. This is why quite a lot of artists and artistes retire to Enugu to enjoy its serene ambience. It is therefore inevitable that the Coal City will become, and has become an important destination for art enthusiasts.


Enugu Arts Calendar

There are two major art attractions that will delight the visitor. One happens bi-weekly – the performances at the Enugu Literary Society (ELS).

Enugu Literary Society

Slam Master, Ike Okere, the poet who was head of Enugu Zonal Station of Radio Nigeria, does his best to promote the Enugu Literary Society (ELS).


The other is a year-long artfest that is taken round the country, evaluating and creating a shortlist of spectacular artworks by budding artists. The Life in My City Arts Festival (LIMCAF) ship eventually berths at IMT Enugu where the finalists slug it out for the diadem.

The Obi of Onitsha and the redoubtable Mr. Kevin Ejiofor have for over a decade now been promoting the Life in My City Arts Festival which climaxes with a command performance in the Coal City.

There are many other art and literary societies doing different things in enugu. One has to pay attention to the announcements that always come on radio and through the social media regarding these events.

Movies

There are two famous cinemas in Enugu – Diamond and Viva Cinemas. Incidentally both of them are located in the two biggest malls in Enugu. One is at independence Layout and the other the is at the famous Polo Park which is housing Shoprite.

Books

dispossessed wins ANA Poetry Award

dispossessed by James eze wins ANA poetry prize

dispossessed,’ a first collection of poems written by James Eze wins the 2020 Association of Nigerian Authors, ANA, Poetry Prize…. MORE

Enugu City Arts Scene

Eze wins ANA Prize for Poetry with ‘dispossessed’

‘dispossessed,’ a first collection of poems written by James Eze wins the 2020 Association of Nigerian Authors, ANA, Poetry Prize.

Eze’s collection was announced as joint winner with “Orere: Songs of a Thousand Tides” authored by Abiodun Bello.

ANA awarded the prize at its 39th International Convention which ended Sunday 6 December in Ilorin, Kwara State.

Eze immediately took to Facebook to say why he feels fulfilled at winning the coveted prize.

“ANA Prizes are Nigeria’s longest running literary prizes and probably the most respected because they represent the opinion of writers on art and craft of their fellow writers.”

The collection is critically acclaimed by critics and fellow writers, he said.

Eze held down jobs in media and banking and is now serving as spokesperson to Governor Willie Obiano of Anambra State.

The book is on sale at leading online retailers in US, Canada, UK, Australia, and Germany.

Similarly, ‘dispossessed’ is also available in online stores in South Korea, Ireland, South Africa, India and Russia.

Anambra lauds Eze for ANA win

Eze with his Award plaque on Sunday.

State Government spokesman, Chief C. Don Adinuba, quickly congratulated Eze on behalf of the government.

Adinuba said Governor and cabinet members thrilled by the win have personally called to congratulate the author.

On publication, the poet was invited to read portions from the collection to a meeting of the Anambra State Executive Council, he revealed.

This, he said, therefore makes it “perhaps the first time poems were read at any cabinet in Nigeria’s recent history.”

Adinuba described dispossessed as “a revelation structured in the lower case style of the great American avant-garde poet,  ee cummings.

The poet, he said, draws inspiration from immortal poets Christopher Okigbo, Pablo Neruda, TS Eliot, Ezra Pound and W.B. Yeats.

“It is little wonder that James Eze beat all comers to win the ANA Prize for poetry,” Adinuba enthused.

Watch out: Enugu Metro interviews the award winning poet. Coming shortly.

Poet James Eze scores a bullseye with his first collection of poems titled ‘dispossessed’ which wins the 2020 ANA Prize for Poetry.

Enugu’s brilliant artist Nsikak Essien dies, aged 63

One of Enugu’s better-known and best regarded artists, Nsikak Essien, dies at the age of 63, it has been announced.

News of his death on 29 July 2020 was broken by friends via Facebook and is generating an outpouring of heartfelt eulogies.

The eulogies focus on his times in Enugu training budding artists and his extraordinarily gifts as a paintng expert.

…extraordinarily gifted

Essien came to Enugu in 1975 to study at the famous Art Department of the Institute of Management and Technology (IMT).

In 1979, he graduated as overall best of the School and also secured the 1979 Fasuyi Best National Art Graduate Prize in Painting as well.

Expectedly, IMT retained him to do his national service and subsequently employed him as a member of faculty to train upcoming artists

After holding the job for 11 years, Essien left for Lagos to engage in full-time studio practice “experimenting with various media that finally themed in iconic explorations of religion, family, and love.”

 “Those were times when the quality of an artist’s works testified to the plaudits he got,” said Ikeddy Isiguzo, a media veteran and an IMT alumnus, in a moving tribute to the artist.

“When our set arrived in IMT the same year he graduated, everyone knew him by reputation … The very ground he walked on might have as well sprouted master pieces. He was well regarded even by many of us who knew next to nothing about arts.”

Essien’s last outing in Enugu was in November 2019 when he chaired the national jury that selected prize winners for the 11th Grand Finale of the annual Life in My City Arts Festival (LIMCAF).

The Festival encourages and promotes young Nigerian artists in the visual arts  to develop their professionalism.

As Enugu Metro reported then, “judges for (the 2019) competition have been carefully selected to ensure that decisions over winning artworks follows strict and rigorous professional standards, the organizers said. At the head of the judging panel is Mr. Nsikak Essien, a prodigy who trained at the famous IMT art school, from where he graduated as best student of the school in his set.

 Essien greatly impacted the lives of many artists in Enugu and Lagos and influenced the art scene in Nigeria with his masterpieces which adorn important landscapes in Enugu, Lagos, and Abuja among other places.

He has uploaded over three dozens of his works on his Facebook wall. Enugu Metro fans are encouraged to take a look andn leave a farewell comment there as well.

Nsikak Essien, Artist Extraordinaire and a Generous Spirit, Departs

By Ikeddy ISIGUZO

NSIKAK Essien, a Lagos-based multimedia artist, was a celebrated at the Institute of Management and Technology, IMT, Enugu, where he was the 1979 Best Graduating Student in Painting, with a Distinction, and the Overall Best Graduating Student. Those were times when the quality of an artist’s works testified to the plaudits he got.

Broad Street,” one of Essien’s paintings

His works assumed increased religious intensity with themes like “A road-to-Damascus”, “Agape” in which Essien preached that, “People should always discover God in their lives as He is the only one that can fix their lives and usher in the much desired peace and harmony”.

He also won the 1979 Fasuyi Best National Art Graduate Prize in Painting.

Essien earned every bit of the high marks that came his way. He was a legend that IMT would not let him go. He was in IMT for another 12 years.

When our set arrived in IMT the same year he graduated, everyone knew him by reputation. IMT had retained him for his NYSC programme. The very ground he walked on might have as well sprouted master pieces. He was well regarded even by many of us who knew next to nothing about arts.

Serious, and minding his business, he often surprised with a ringing laughter when he let it out, otherwise he was too quiet for an artist. Both his students and colleagues spoke well of his generous spirit.

The news of his death on Wednesday, 29 July 2020 was another shock in this era of deaths. Just 63, Essien had buried his life in impacting the lives of many artists and influencing the art scene with his works that were places, like the Aso Rock, the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

Before Abuja, his works adorned Dodan Barracks, the former seat of power in Lagos, and offices of some of Nigeria’s biggest organisations.

He spent 11 years lecturing in IMT before venturing into full-time studio practice experimenting with various media that finally themed in iconic explorations of religion, family, and love.

“Quite a few of my friends and I won’t be artists today without this guy. As giants go, there’s none greater, in the way he fired up our young minds, not by his words, but by the sheer grandeur of his God given ability,” Nnamdi Okonkwo, one of his students posted on Facebook. “To us then, and I still happen to feel the same way today, if God came down disguised as an artist, His name would be Nsikak. I believe there’s a special place for you above, Nsikak, earned not just by your legendary talent, but also by your generosity of spirit. Occupy it with the same mastery with which you wielded a pencil and paint brush! And thanks for the inspiration!,” Okonkwo’s tribute read.

His works assumed increased religious intensity with themes like “A road-to-Damascus”, “Agape” in which Essien preached that, “People should always discover God in their lives as He is the only one that can fix their lives and usher in the much desired peace and harmony”.

A 2016 two-week solo exhibition at the Nike Gallery, Lagos, with over 35 works, encapsulated Agape, and aligned with the previous year’s exhibition titled “Love Songs”. Most of those works aimed at getting human being to seek harmony in their relationships with each other and their Maker.

Essien was adept in his use of colours on different media. Once he began the provoking works on humanity and the Almighty, he ceased accepting commissioned works. His works on glass had rebuses of religion.

“My theme is Agape. The Bible says that God loves man, but, man has lost his relationship with God, and it, sometimes, looks as if God is punishing man. But no, our Father is a God of love. So, the exhibition was all about God’s love for man. We are not God’s invention. We are His creation, the work of His hands,” Essien had explained his 2016 exhibition.

Some of his works, among them the cover picture of this article, depicting Broad Street, Lagos, illustrate this article. One of them titled “Alert” shows the joy of a cart pusher on a particularly busy day that guarantees a lot of money.

Norwegian Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr Rolf Ree, who declared the 2016 exhibition open said, “Essien is a gifted artist who demonstrates uncanny insight, amazing creative imagination and the ability to bring his vision into manifestation. The results are both beautiful and compelling, as well as informed as they are by his gift.”

“I am happy to be here. Essien is one artist that has carved a niche for his works. It is a good show going by the works paraded here,’’ Ben Ikimi, art collector and builder said at the exhibition.

The Board of Trustees of the youth empowerment NGO, Life In My City Art Festival, LIMCAF, appointed Essien, one of the best known full-time studio artists of his generation, as its National Jury Panel Chairman in 2019. Members of the National Jury were Mr. Sam Ovraiti, a consumer artist and a notable Nigerian artist from the Auchi colourist school, Erasmus Onyishi, an experimentalist and one of the 10 artists El Anatsui presented in the controversial “New Energies” exhibition in 2001, Klaranze Okhide, a Nigerian Visual Artist and Educator and Dr Lasisi Lamidi, of Sculpture from Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria.

Essien was a founding member of the famous AKA Circle of Exhibiting Artists which included other stalwarts such as El Anatsui, Bona Ezeudu, Obiora Anidi and the late great Okpu Eze.

Often mistaken for Nsikak Essien, former Editor of National Concord, Essien the Editor posted this on Facebook on Thursday, “Artist Nsikak Essien was studying at IMT in Enugu at about the same time I was studying at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. He is one of the best fine artists in the country. As Editor some people mistook me for him and vice versa. A few even visited me in Concord newspapers office in Ikeja, expecting to see him.

“Just about six months ago someone phoned to inquire if I were the fine artist. Sadly, both of us had never met but we spoke on telephone about twice. The sad story is that he passed on some hours ago. As usual some friends think I am the one. I mourn the loss of my namesake. May his maker take back his soul. I am alive and well. My maker has not called me home yet. Rest in peace my namesake. Amen.”

The tributes are pouring in for a master painter, teacher, and a generous-spirited man. He leaves a void.

Adieu, Essien, the artist.

Living in Bondage II carries its sequel well

Movie critic Efosa Aiyevbomwan says that, all things considered, Living in Bondage II is a good sequel worth a trip to a theatre to watch

While not perfect, Living in Bondage is easily Nollywood’s best outing in years. The movie does a great job of straddling eras – essentially creating a stand-alone movie that still functions as a sequel.

I would say that Living in Bondage II carries its legacy well – it is after all a follow up to an iconic title, one that birthed an industry.

Unlike other recent Nollywood titles, ‘Breaking Free’ really does tell a story of wealth – the lack of it, the desire for it, the power and control of it. The seamless transitions between locations keys into this narrative also and this makes the story that much more believable.

Efosa Aiyevbomwan

Acting in the movie is stellar – save for some over-acting by David Jones David .

Ramsey Noah puts in a career best performance as the charismatic, sinister and malevolent antagonist.

Lead actor, Swanky JKA, embodies his character to absolute perfection and the returning cast, though given limited screen time, do great jobs.

I would say that Living in Bondage II carries its legacy well – it is after all a follow up to an iconic title, one that birthed an industry.

Wealth and its uses

Furthermore, unlike other recent Nollywood titles, ‘Breaking Free’ really does tell a story of wealth. The lack of it, the desire for it, the power and control of it. The seamless transitions between locations keys into this narrative also and this makes the story that much more believable.

The use of language is one of this movie’s best features. The seamless transition from English to Igbo (with great subtitling) makes this an even more enticing and realistic watch.

Film director, Ramsey Noah (2nd left), with iconic Nollywood actors Desmond Elliot, Genevieve and RMD

Production values are great and the one area where the movie seems to falter is its scare factor. The original Living in Bondage movie was so grim, gruffy and gloomy that you watched it with palpable fright. The sequel doesn’t quite convey these emotions even though it puts up a good fight.

To nitpick just a little, the movie would have done well to depict a brotherhood of people not restricted to a certain ethnic stock. It’d have been nice to show that greed and desperation knows no ethnic or lingusitic lines.

Other than that, this is a movie I fully recommend.