36 —VANGUARD, MONDAY, FEBRUARY 12, 2018 08070524223 ‘It is one masterpiece of my father that has eluded my sight’ – Oliver Enwonwu ‘The Bonhams Auction House, London is in touch with the Ademiluyi family in Nigeria’ – Princess Ronke Ademiluyi By Chris Onuoha The buyer was obsessed with the beauty of the girl in the painting. This drove his desire to possess and keep the painting. He did not acquire the work as an art piece for decoration but for the inner connection and alluring beauty represented in the painting. He did not comprehend the socio-cultural message and political significance of the work. He was just lost in the power of its appeal. Diamond anniversary of Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart resonates in Africa BY OSA AMADI Tutu: the risen phoenix goes for auction •‘Tutu’ painted by Ben Enwonwu (1974) This was the underlying feeling trailing the painting that has positioned itself as the newest sensation in the art auction market after the last auction of Picasso’s Femme Accroupie (Jacqueline) and Leonardo Da Vinci’s Jesus portrait trended. Tutu is a painting of an African princess that has accomplished mythical status after decades of disappearance. It resurrected from obscurity in a quiet home in the city of North London, UK, with a noble entrant into higher recognition. The work discovered by Giles Peppiatt, the director of modern African art at the Bonhams Auction House, will go for auction on February 28, in London for an estimated offer of between £200,000 and £300,000. The painting is a masterpiece done by Professor Ben Enwonwu in 1974 of an Ife princess, Adetutu Ademiluyi, known as Tutu which turned out to be a national icon in Nigeria, with poster reproductions hanging on walls in •Chinua Achebe Chinua Achebe (16 November 1930 – 21 March 2013) is as tall and huge as an Iroko tree on the global literary scene. Similarly, his classic novel, Things Fall Apart (1958), is one of, if not the most successful piece of literary works that sprouted from the mind of an African. The year 2018 marks the 60th anniversary of Achebe’s masterpiece, Things Fall Apart, and the world, led by the Christie and Chinua Achebe Foundation in collaboration with Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA) is sparing nothing in celebrating Chinua Achebe and Things Fall Apart with a colloquium and other literary activities in Nigeria and 10 other African countries: Ghana, Ivory Coast, South Africa, Sierra Leone, Uganda, Kenya, Liberia, Tanzania, Togo and Cameroon, scheduled to have their activities between February and December 2018. homes in the country. Tutu is the granddaughter of the 48th Ooni of Ife, Oba Ademiluyi (Ajagun). The artist, apparently in love with the sight of the princess while on painting expedition after the Biafra/ Nigeria civil war, painted three versions of Tutu. The image became a symbol of national reconciliation. But all three original works were lost and became the subject of much speculation. Nigerian international novelist, Ben Okri while reviewing the work said it amounted to the “the most significant discovery in contemporary African art in over 50 years. He (Enwonwu) wasn’t just painting the girl, he was painting the whole tradition – a symbol of hope and regeneration to Nigeria, a symbol of phoenix rising.” He argued that its worth is more than financial. “It is the only authentic Tutu, the equivalent of some rare archaeological find. It is a cause for celebration, a potentially transforming moment in the world of art,” Okri said. Oliver Enwonwu, son of the late Prof. Ben Enwonwu in a chat with Vanguard’s Arts and Reviews disclosed that it is a welcome development for the Nigerian contemporary art image. “It’s something I am very happy about. Many of his works, their whereabouts I know, but this one, ‘Tutu’ is one major masterpiece of my father that has eluded my sight. This particular version going up for auction is not even the most world acclaimed Tutu done in 1973 in different positions with his signature beneath, that has been The theme of this year’s celebration is “Things Fall Apart: 60 years on,” and the colloquium is proposed to be a five-city transnational event in Nigeria and the other countries with a number of activities ranging from symposia to children’s carnival, writing competition, stage presentations of Things Fall Apart and a grand finale with a night of tributes. In Nigeria, those activities will hold in Lagos, Ibadan, Abuja, Sokoto with the grand finale at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, while the appropriate centers in the other countries will be confirmed later. Apart from foreign writers and scholars, notable Africa-based writers and scholars will also be in- reproduced through print. Oliver, who is the current president of Society of Nigerian Artists (SNA) laments that government hasn’t done enough to save our heritage in the country. “I see this more as a call to the Federal Government of Nigeria to have a viable national gallery of art in the country where such masterpieces can be secured and preserved. Government should have a repository of our artworks. We don’t have to travel abroad to see and appreciate our masterpieces in foreign museums. We should have a functional museum to retain works of art like this.” Princess Ronke Ademiluyi, the global ambassador of Queen Moremi legacy and member of Ademiluyi dynasty also spoke to Vanguard’s Arts and Reviews saying that the entire Ademiluyi royal family is happy and overwhelmed with this latest development. “It is really amazing to have one of our own being celebrated globally like this. This is beyond the Ademiluyi family. It is a national honour and pride for the entire African race. The Bonhams Auction House in London is in contact with the Ademiluyi family in Nigeria to have a thorough history behind Princess Adetutu. To them, it is a great history to have such a huge mas- vited to present papers and talks. A five-man Africa Organizsing Committee to be headed by Dr Wale Okediran, former National President, Association of Nigerian Authors will oversee the organisation of the event in Nigeria and other African countries, while Local Organising Committees in the five centers in Nigeria and other African countries will also be appointed. A literary competition among secondary school students in the five centers will be organised with provision of copies of Things Fall Apart for the students to read for one month before the day of the literary competition which will involve quiz, reading comprehension and one-act dramatic enactment of any part of the book by participating schools. The colloquium has been slated in Nigeria from February to August terpiece from Africa going for auction. The world press is agog over the auction and to Bonhams, it’s amazing because the artist in question, Prof. Ben Enwonwu, is a foremost African artist who modernised art and has taken it to global recognition. In addition to that, Tutu is a granddaughter of a powerful and influential king. To them, it is a combination of royalty and rich history.” Princess Adetutu was actually the granddaughter of Ooni Ademiluyi(Ajagun), the 48th Ooni of Ile Ife Kingdom. Ademiluyi family is a huge dynasty, but she is one of his grandchildren. She may probably be in her seventies by now, married out and bearing a different surname. All these we are researching to find out,” concludes Princess Ronke Ademiluyi. •Ooni Ademiluyi(Ajagun), the 48th Ooni of Ile Ife 2018 while other African countries will fix their own celebration between January and December 2018. In Nigeria, collaborations will be done with the Association of Nigerian Authors at the national level and through its local branches where the events are billed to hold as well as tertiary institutions such as University of Lagos, University of Ibadan, University of Abuja, Othman Dan Fodio University, Sokoto and the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. For the international conference, the Christie and Chinua Achebe Foundation invite abstracts for 15 – 20 minute presentations to celebrate the 60th anniversary of Things Fall Apart. This will be a platform for students, writers, scholars, literary critics and other interested parties to engage, rethink and propose possible new directions for African literature after 60 years of Things Fall Apart.
VANGUARD, MONDAY, FEBRUARY 12, 2018 —37 ‘Give all you have to what you do and love ve it with all your heart’ t’ — Ikeogu eogu Oke •Time is too precious to waste doing something you do not love even if it brings you fortune Being an acceptance speech for the 2017 Nigeria Prize for Literature By Ikeogu Oke Let me proceed by thanking all of you for honouring the invitation to attend this event, and the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas Limited without whose commitment to the growth of Nigerian Literature we might not have gathered here. I am grateful to the panel of adjudicators for the 2017 Nigeria Prize for Literature for pronouncing my entry, The Heresiad, as the winner, vindicating my expectation. I believed the entry rule which stated that the adjudication would be based on merit. Merit is a value to which I am strongly attracted and cherish highly but which, alas, Chinua Achebe described as “quite often a dirty word” in our country. And I believe its entrenchment in the affairs of our nation, beyond such adjudication of literary prizes, can have far-reaching transformational effects. In a world in which we do not always get what we deserve, and fortune does not always favour the most qualified or hardworking, I think we should all feel humble and appreciative for any success we achieve. This, besides happy, is how I feel as the recipient of this honour. To the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas Limited, the members of the Advisory Board of the Nigeria Prize for Literature, and the The return of Yabatech annual art exhibition •This edition for veteran artist, Kolade Oshinowo @ 70 •Kolade Oshinowo’s painting By John Chukwuma Ajakah THE School of Art, Design and Printing Technology, Yaba College of Technology will from Friday, February 23 to March 22, 2018 host a series of art exhibition shows. In a press briefing last Thursday at the Yusuf Grillo Art Gallery, the planned venue of the exhibition, the Exhibition Committee headed by Mr. Pius Egiolamhen unveiled the programme of events for the art show. Egiolamhen revealed that the exhibition was organised to honour Kolade Oshinowo, a distinguished scholar, veteran artist and former Deputy Rector of the college. He said Oshinowo deserves to be celebrated as a renowned artist, erudite scholar and for his immense contributions to the development Ikeogu ( right ) and NLNG MD award-giving judges, I say, “An award-winning poet salutes you!” I thank my publisher, Kraft, our chef of delicious books, for indulging my insistence on perfection. I thank my fellow poets for a great contest, especially my fellow finalists whose calls to congratulate me of the art industry. The event was also meant to resuscitate the annual art exhibition which the school started in 1989. “We are conscious of the fact that contemporary art is moving towards the direction of science and it is an opportunity for the artists to collaborate with other schools in the college in areas of design and fabrication to meet the challenges of the 21st Century.” The art educators hope to use the exhibition with the theme: Tribute to Oshinowo @ 70 to ride on the momentum created by the festivities heralding the legend’s entry into septuagenarian age bracket, to sustain the drive for adequate awareness and appreciation of visual art. Secretary to the committee and curator, Mr Taiwo Shorunke, a graphic for winning was for me the hallmark of literary sportsmanship, a profoundly moving gesture. I thank my father, an unceasing fount of fond memories. He taught me the virtues of hard work, steadfastness, self-belief, selfdenial and sacrifice. Without his artist, remarked that the exhibition will provide art lecturers the ideal platform to showcase the innovations in their field. The artists scheduled to feature at the exhibition include Adeola Balogun, Adetayo Olubunmi, Lemon Abigail, Pius Egiolamhen, Ndubuisi Chinyere, Adeyemo Akeem, Kunle Adeyemi, Emmanuel Irokanulo, Raqib Bashorun, Shoyinka Grace, Mike Omoighe, Olu Amoda, Rukeme Noserime and Sorunke Taiwo. In his remark, the Dean of School of Arts, Dr Kunle Adeyemi called for synergy of innovative ideas among schools of the college, particularly School of Arts and Engineering, to foster comprehensive development. The curator of Quintessence Gallery, Ikoyi, and member of the Exhibition Committee, Mr Moses Ohiomokhare observed that there had been positive developments in the art industry in recent years especially with the collaborative efforts of the practitioners to situate Nigerian art among the best in the world. Prior to the press briefing, Oshinowo was hosted earlier in the day at the Life Drawing Gallery of the college where professional artists keenly contested in a Life Drawing Project of his portrait as he sat as a model for over an hour. lessons, I might not have devoted 27 years working on The Heresiad, running a compositional marathon and expecting no reward beyond the satisfaction, after crossing the finish line, that I had run a good race. I thank my family, especially my wife and children, for enduring the quirks of a restless poet. The first of the poems I have furnished as an epigraph to this speech has served me as a literary manifesto since I wrote it about 15 years ago, as a response to the concerns expressed by those who thought my career choice of poetry was a waste of time and tantamount to entering into a life-long pact with penury. Poetry is the only healthy narcotic on earth. I am happy to be addicted to it as shown by my refusal to be swayed by such concerns. I have invoked the poem here hopefully to arouse the contemplation of how one’s resolve to pursue one’s dreams in spite of such concerns, is the best decision that can lead to a fulfilled life. The second, a sonnet by George Santayana, is my polestar of inspirational poetry. I have invoked it here because I believe its cardinal themes of vision, faith, self-belief and resolutely acting on one’s dreams reinforced and anticipated similar themes in my own poem. That way, we can all see that if I were to say, as part of the use to which I wish to put this historic opportunity to speak to you, that vision, faith, self-belief and resolutely acting on one’s dreams are virtually all one needs to attain one’s purpose in life, and perhaps inspire those I can even say that I am proud of my heritage of an underprivileged background for teaching me the invaluable lessons of self-denial, of delayed gratification, and the transcendence of hard work, far better than I might have been taught had I come from a privileged background among us who still have the courage to dream dreams, especially the young, I would not be a solitary voice in some poetic wilderness. So you can see that some master, far wiser than I, had said it before me. And that the veracity of his words, even when subjected to logical scrutiny, is proof that the poet does not lie whether he speaks for faith or reason, or in any circumstance whatsoever. And that he perhaps deserves our attention more than we are currently inclined to give to him – in our own interest. And need I, as one of such other circumstances of proof that the poet does not lie, point out that the experience I relate in The Way I Want to Go, regarding my family and “good opinion,” took place only in my imagination, even though it hints at real behaviours? My family members will disavow it if their idea of truth is confined to the literality of events, and infer that the poet lied, and if they lack the understanding that the truth as spoken by poets may be but need not be literal, in the sense of being a rendition or reflection of a physical occurrence or phenomenon. In the wake of my announcement as the recipient of this honour, I spoke with someone who shared with me the challenges he is facing in becoming a successful writer. From our conversation, I drew a hint – I believe rightly – that he would like me to lead him into the secret to success in the literary vocation. I have also been asked repeatedly, “What kept you going all these years?” by various individuals, some of whom are interested in becoming writers. I believe the question seeks to elicit a similar response from me to that of the acquaintance who shared his challenges about succeeding as a writer with me. Unfortunately, I do not know the secret to success. Nor do I think that writers would have a different secret to success from the rest of humanity. If I knew such a secret, I would readily reveal it to end the difficulties we all face as human beings in making our dreams fructify. And, not knowing any such secret, I offer these admonitory words, drawn from the depths of my personal convictions, in lieu of my ignorance. Believe in yourself. Commit to a dream only you have the last say in its survival, so you may not despair even if you must stand alone in its pursuit, ignored by the rest of the world. If they tell you that your dreams are impossible, ignore the first two letters and move on with your dreams. Give all you have to what you do and love it with all your heart. Do it with your whole heart, with integrity, seeking first the kingdom of excellence for which other things should be added to you. But still plan to end up only with the satisfaction of having laboured for the love of your vocation, in case nothing more is added to you. Time is too precious to waste doing something you do not love even if it brings you fortune. In life you will meet people who will try to snuff out the candle of your dreams. You will meet people who will help to keep it burning. I have been fortunate to meet more of the latter type of people and I hope that becomes your lot too. But you have the final say as to how long the candle of your dreams will keep burning, regardless of what others tell you. And never forget that the fruits of vicious dreams often harbour the bitter taste of comeuppance. There is no greater mission in life than making others genuinely happy, bringing them healthy joy. You are a success however you are able to accomplish this. Those you bring true happiness will ensure your success by patronising the means by which you do so. Never accept the circumstances Continues on pg 38