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Goodwill Message from Nigerian Breweries Plc FIVE YEARS OF WINNING WITH NIGERIA THROUGH ARTS Five years ago, Nigerian Breweries Plc began a partnership with the African Artists’ Foundation to sponsor and organize the National Art Competition. This is part of a broad initiative at youth empowerment through talent development. We recognize that arts play a key role in strengthening cultural values and integration in any society and are therefore fully committed to the promotion of arts and creativity as part of our engagement with society. The National Art Competition is one of the platforms through which we demonstrate our support for arts and creativity. The programme is designed not only to burnish the skills of talented artists, but also as a veritable platform for the discovery of creative arts talents and supporting them to realize their dreams. With CONSEQUENCES, the theme for this year’s competition, we challenged our artists to identify and creatively capture the rapid changes in our society and draw attention to the consequences of our actions or inactions at both personal and corporate levels using different artistic forms and media. We are pleased with the record number of strong and conceptually driven proposals received around this theme. We are also pleased that every year this programme continues to receive wider appeal and interest even beyond the arts community. As we celebrate the fifth anniversary of this partnership for Arts development and promotion, our commitment to arts remains strong and we hope to explore more opportunities to play an active role in the constructive engagement of our youths who are blessed with abundant talents. Looking back at the impact of this programme on the society, I want to specially thank all those who have been on this journey with us for making this five successful years of Winning with Nigeria through arts.

Nicolaas Vervelde Managing Director/Chief Executive Nigerian Breweries Plc


African Artists’ Foundation (AAF) Statement Nigerian Breweries and the African Artists’ Foundation are proud to present the fifth edition of the annual National Art Competition (NAC). This year saw a record number of strong, conceptually driven entries, and the breadth of work in this competition signals its continuing evolution. In its five year span, the National Art Competition has become the preeminent opportunity for Nigerian artists seeking a platform and exposure within the national and international arts community. The success of past award winners following the exhibition attests to the strength and future sustainability of this competition. While the National Art Competition began with a conventional format where artists submitted already completed works for consideration, last year saw a new approach to the competition with an emphasis on the processes of artistic creation rather than solely the end product. Artists were asked to submit a proposal for an unrealised work, one where the conceptual threads of their artistic message were emphasised and articulated. After making the selected shortlist of twelve finalists, the artists were invited to partake in an art retreat, where they had the opportunity to flesh out their ideas in workshops facilitated by leading Nigerian artists. With the success of last year’s edition, the NAC has continued its philosophy of “process to product,” where artists are not only given the opportunity to present their work but also are nurtured and artistically supported in their projects. Every year, the National Art Competition has been organised around a central theme that directs the artists’ work in relation to relevant social and political currents in Nigeria today. The first annual National Art Competition was titled “The Unbreakable Nigerian Spirit,” where ten winners were given the opportunity to exhibit their work in Lagos, Abuja, and Amsterdam. The second edition, under the theme “Nigeria - The Future I See,” was open to emerging artists under thirty and restricted to the medium specific genres of painting, photography, new media, and sculpture. The 2010 edition coincided with Nigeria’s Golden Jubilee with the theme “Chronicles of a Great Nation at 50”. Last year, the competition was entitled “Documenting Changes in Our Nation”, and included the first annual artist retreat at Abraka Resort, Delta State. Each year, the competition has grown and the prize-winning stakes have been raised higher. As the competition continues to evolve, so does the rigor of the artists’ work. This year, the National Art Competition released a call for proposals for artistic interpretation of the theme “Consequences”. Professor El Anatsui led the artist selection panel and is head of the final judging team. At a time of great flux and global anxiety, where wars are being waged, economies are in crisis, technologies are changing daily patterns, climate changes are altering the environment, and political and religious instability is leading to civil unrest, this year’s theme is dedicated to supporting artists who reflect on the political, social, economic, environmental, and personal consequences of our actions in Nigeria today. Consequences are the result and outcome of past occurrences, a chain of cause and effect. Consequences tie the actions of the past with the present and dictate possibilities for the future. Consequences necessarily imply a temporal linkage. We do not live in a bubble of our present time; everything is relational. Our present actions are determined by past events, and these actions will in turn have consequences for the future.


Consequences can be negative or positive, but they are never that clear cut. Consequences are about paradox, contradiction, and overall a condition of uncertainty. With the fast pace of change occurring in our Nation, including the expansive growth of urban population centers and an explosion of technology and development that is dissolving barriers and leading to new types of interactions, it is important for artists to consider the practical and conceptual concerns relating to changes in our cultural environment. The twelve finalists have chosen to explore the interpretation of the theme “Consequences” through a variety of mixed media and installation practices. While previous National Art Competitions engaged a medium-specific approach to selection criteria, this year we wish to embrace a hybridity of artistic disciplines and forms, one that places primary focus on the conceptual underpinnings of their artistic projects. Mediums included are sculpture, installation, video art, photography, mixed media, sound art, and editorial cartoon. Artists such as Alafuro Sikoki and Pris Nzimiro investigate the cultural dynamics of consumption in an over-saturated media environment. Joseph Eze looks to the effects of arbitrary land acquisitions on urban development. Emmanuel Dudu explores the movement of highly skilled and qualified labour outside of the country in search of economic opportunities. Francis Umenda Odupute considers the implications of the population explosion and poor sanitation conditions in Nigerian society. George Emeka Agbo uses the format of social media to engage public interaction of political and cultural criticism. Papa Omotayo and Folarin Shasanya look back to the history of oral story telling and the distortion that occurs through the gossip of contemporary events. Zemaye Okediji explores the viability of photography as an intellectual communication medium and the role of the professional photographer in local and national community development. Artist duo Omoligho Omoye Udenta and Affiko Obadina illustrate the effects of oil pollution on the environment in the Niger Delta Region. Folakunle Oshun envisions a dystopian future environment of a civilization in ruins. Maie Okafor and Chinenye Miriam Emelogu take a more metaphorical approach to the theme through the materiality of their mediums and a universal message. At this year’s artist retreat, held at A White Space in Lagos, finalists had the opportunity to partake in workshops by leading artists, scholars, and practitioners in their fields and exchange ideas with other finalists. Workshop facilitators this year included Dr. Peju Layiwola, Chike Obeagu, Olu Amoda, Ike Francis, Prof. Moyo Okediji, Gerald Chukwuma, Joseph Gergel, and Chike Nwagbogu. Following the retreat, the twelve finalists have had the following months to execute their proposals and produce finished works. The spirit of the workshops were participatory and fluid, and the interaction of the contestants attest to the fundamental mission of the competition in advancing the creative process in Nigeria. The National Art Competition is grateful for the sponsorship of Nigerian Breweries, who have been dedicated supporters of the arts community in Nigeria. Nigerian Breweries has been partnering with the African Artists’ Foundation to organise the National Art Competition for five consecutive years, since the competition’s inception. Nigerian Breweries recognizes that arts play an important role in strengthening cultural values in any society. This sponsorship remains only part of a broad initiative of Nigerian Breweries to support arts development in Nigeria, as well as the development of talents in various fields of creative disciplines. The National Art Competition is also grateful to the support of the Civic Center, who continue to


provide a venue that is worthy of such a massive undertaking. We would also like to express our immense gratitude to Professor El Anatsui for his vital contributions to this year’s competition. Regardless of the award winners in this year’s competition, all of the finalists have already won, as they have gained invaluable experience and have evolved their process of artistic creation through their participation. The National Art Competition congratulates the twelve finalists and looks forward to the future success of their artistic endeavours. Artists Retreat & Workshops July 30 - August 4, 2012

NAC Finalists + Statements + Work in Progress


George Emeka Agbo Post Your Comment

Post Your Comment is a mixed media piece produced with the integration of various printmaking processes, such as woodcut, serigraphy, digital methods and monotype, as well as gouache painting. It directs attention to the various ills of the Nigerian society as the consequences of bad governance. Militancy and the Boko Haram mayhem have put the country into the world’s history of terrorism. These, as well as kidnapping and armed robbery, have resulted in fear among the people, while exposing the inefficiency of the state security system. Again, the government has failed to provide employment opportunities for the teeming youths and other employable citizens. While self-employment is advocated, there is virtually no infrastructure to support entrepreneurship. For example, electric power supply is unstable. Infrastructural decay is manifested in bad road networks, unequipped hospitals and schools (immersed in the culture of examination malpractice), and environmental mess. Funds meant for building the state are rather embezzled, and award of contracts governed by bribery, nepotism and favouritism. The upshot includes the abandoned projects scattered all around the country. These conditions have impoverished the greater part of the population of a country recognised as one of the largest oil-producing nations of the world. The artwork explores the essential attributes of Facebook in which people connected to the site comment on shared texts, images, videos and animations. Images reflecting the ills highlighted above and the comments they generated are presented in a Facebook-style layering of texts and images.


Emmanuel Dudu Brain Drain

Within the context of the theme, I chose the topic Brain Drain, meaning the movement of highly skilled and qualified people to a country different from theirs where they can work to better the conditions of that country and make money for themselves. In most cases, their services are even more needed in their home countries thereby leaving a vacuum in their countries economic development. Elaborating on its consequences, it is important to note that in the recent past, Brain Drain has nearly became another form of slavery on developing countries, however governments of these nations are gradually finding lasting solutions to this problem. In my entry, I intend illustrating the effect of Brain Drain on all parties, i.e. the host nation, the originating nation and ultimately the individual.


Chinenye Miriam Emelogu Human Hives

I recall watching a documentary several years back on bees and their colony, which is almost as organised as that of ants. The hives created by the bees were enthralling and very much reminded me of how these insects portray the features of an ideal or utopian society with these constructions and their lifestyle. I also remember watching how these insects create honeys in their honeycombs. The nesting and social habits of the bees are diverse and complicated, so much so that a lot of researches have been made, and scientists have even developed an entire field of study on them with the intent of discovering how results obtained from such researches can be used to improve human social conditions. My work in the course of this project, which I have titled “Human Hives”, is an installation that is also intended to address the complex and dynamic issues of social structures within the Nigerian context, comparing the urban and rural social structure, and the effect of external or alien influences on both respectively. Nigeria is defined by her multi-ethnicity and the questionable historical circumstances that formed the basis of her creation and existence as a nation, which many analysts believe are responsible for her constantly threatened state of unity. The placing of the sachets that have been filled up with gelatinous liquids of different colours represent the diversity of human resources which Nigeria is comprised of. The hive is meant to depict the nation itself, in terms of its geographical terrain and socio- political, economic and cultural existence. An imbalance in the placement of the sachets within the combs each hive will be reflected in the overall structure of the hive by the distortion of its shape. This concept relates with the theme of this competition, ‘Consequences’, by the visual narrative that defines it; when there is disturbance within any social structure, the consequence will be disorder of the structure as a whole.


Joseph Eze Untitled

To interpret the theme, “Consequences”, I will use the a present phenomenon that is affecting the lives of many 21st century city dwellers including Lagos, the city I presently live in: land development and its effects on city dwellers. What,for instance are the consequences of arbitrary land acquisitions and the hap-hazard development that usually attends such acquisitions? How is the physical environment affected? How is human habitation affected? My project comprises assemblages and installations depicting humans, houses and other attendant physicalities of urban development. It includes found objects, such as slippers, which I have begun exploring in my work. My media hinges on reused materials. These materials are are stretched, turned and twisted in various ways so as to fully exploit their ‘hidden’ creative potentials. I am always inspired to employ reusable mediums because they remind me of the consequences of 20th and 21st century industrialized and “volume” culture.


Pris Nzimiro After Now

It starts with just one person, one day, one moment and right now. What do we do after it has all been used up, after this very moment? The results will all be revealed in due time. It’s a slow but painful process to sit by and watch as it all disappears into this dark abyss devoid of fertility and life. It is this natural process of decomposition that has been altered through the production of synthetic materials. Materials that cannot be naturally broken down by our environment and are being abandoned because of ignorance. These synthetic materials do not decompose in our natural environment. The immortality of these non-bio degradable materials and their effects on our future are still very far from view to the myopic mind. The act of consumption is so negligible that we forget about what happens after we consume. This works aims to bring us closer to the reality of the situation. What is happening and what will be the result? The same concept applies to our physical bodies. What goes in must come out. Our body’s ability to utilize what it needs and dispose of what it does not need is a natural process. However, some things we put in our bodies cannot be used or broken down properly, causing our system to be destabilized and sick. “After Now” will explore through symbolic imagery and sound; our human bodies as an analogous medium to our immediate environment. Through captivating sound and imagery, this work will try to enhance our senses and bring awareness to the relationship between consumption and waste, which is a continuous process of life. Described through text graphics, video and sound, this work will explore the sensations involved in consumption and the price we have to pay in our society for that moment of satisfaction. With Four separate parts woven and intertwined into one viewing experience, After Now takes us through time and with motion. Attempting to capture time within real time constraints and possibly bring the future to now.


Francis Umendu Odupute Oil wise, W.A.S.H foolish

For my project, I interpret the theme in the context of global population and environmental challenges, a case study of the Nigerian experience today. Population remains a central concern in global development, much more now than ever in the history of human race. A United Nations report issued on Monday, August 22nd, 2011, on global population and water crunch, warned that should human population across the world rise from the current seven billion to at least nine billion as expected by 2050. According to the study, there will be global drought and more environmental disasters due to the effects of climate change occasioned by demographic factors. With the Earth’s present rising (and environmentally irresponsive, non-prudent) human population fingered as the primary driver of climate change, environmental degradations, emissions, water scarcity, poor sanitation/hygiene and its health consequences, insecurity and various shades/sizes of armed conflicts and political unrests, it will be worth the while to research and offer- through the prism of art and satire- an enhanced knowledge as well as broadened awareness on the implications of unplanned population explosion and poor sanitation to the Nigerian society and the rest of sub-Saharan Africa. Cartooning is one genre of visual Art that is grossly misunderstood, under rated, undermined, under promoted and under patronized in this part of the world. I explore new frontiers on this art genre, in a contemporary global context, and deploy the aesthetic and journalistic power of Communication Art- via imageries, symbols or visual metaphors and humour in spreading awareness and drawing attention to vital economic and socio-political issues, shaping opinions, and artistically communicating for positive change within the prism of humour and satire.


Maie Okafor Depletion Series

Most times, consequences are regarded as an end. Of course, being action-reaction effects, they should in all reasoning, be considered an end; but they are never end of ends. Whether consequences around us are negative or positive, beyond crystal surfaces reveal a tool, a virgin tool, waiting to be harnessed into action. My project discusses consequences as virgin tools of hyper-sensitivity. Hyper- sensitivity here suggests that consequences need to be handled with utmost care, caution and understanding; so as neither to misinterpret it as just an end nor an end of ends but the ‘end of starts’. The three-piece installation shall be exhibited simultaneously in a dark room or in open space at night. Each piece of glass/Perspex shall be designed into pyramids and shall contain individual human busts sculpted in ice (with the aid of freezer). These pyramids shall be lit skillfully using electric light bulbs in such way that view of the sculpted busts in the transparent pyramids will not be disrupted. Each pyramid shall then be mounted on a transparent container that will serve as liquid collectors. The ice sculpture in the first glass/perspex shall be guarded but allowed to have natural melting reaction. The second shall be a bit opened, exposed to slight heat; while the third shall completely be exposed to heat still in the pyramid. The essence of these is to individualize their environmental temperatures. The three-piece installation shall be observed in a horizontal display as they shine out in darkness while they liquefy at varying paces.


Zemaye Okediji A Crime Scene Investigation of Criminal Intent

I have often regarded Newton’s Third Law of Motion as a great metaphor for life as it succinctly conveys that there are consequences to our actions where motion itself is a metaphor for progress. The law suggests that our actions have consequences of a specific magnitude directed at different unique entities impacted by such actions. For my project, I use photography as my medium for exploring the theme “Consequences”. My approach to the theme is two---tiered, as I will focus on the effects of photography as an artistic medium using the following three sub---contexts: ‘The Psychology of Photography’, ‘The Economics of Photography’ and ‘Photography the Project.’ At its core, this exploration seeks to discuss the viability of photography as an intellectual communication medium. I intend to create symbolic images and or picture stories that will by guided by already documented issues concerning being a photographer within the Nigerian environment. In essence, the visual dialogue will touch on the consequence of technology on professional photography, the impact that it has on local and national community development, and the implications for the global population. The next stage of my approach focuses on relativity and duality—juxtapositions, parallels and links from a more intrinsic photographic view to a broader extrinsic life view, one that specifically explores the macro issues affecting the Nigerian populace. Again, the idea here is to come up with pictorial representations of societal advancements that have become commonplace and that have notable consequences. Such could be negative or positive and related to climate change, national insecurity, education, and governance all classified within the sub contexts introduced above but presented in a series of everyday scenarios. The idea of consequences will not be complete without somehow visually raising the alarm on the outcome of inaction.


Folakunle Oshun Untitled

The year is 2084, a hundred years from the year of my birth. The world has plunged into yet another downslide from an overwhelming and overbearing civilization. The effects of gas flaring and carbon emission have taken their due cause as predicted by even lay men. The imminent and self destruct of planet earth is more than apparent, a product of greed and the systematic stifling of alternative energy by world super powers. Visible in a distance is a canoe on wheels, an improvisation of a multi terrain vehicle put together from the relics of what is now believed to be an ancient civilisation. The figure in this vehicle is recognisable as human. Pulling the weight of the canoe are two wild pigs possessing enormous strength (a product of genetic manipulation), probably one of the few animals to survive this near Armageddon. A canvas bearing the remnants of a now ancient painting is hoisted as a sail or flag; apparently, this bears no significant aesthetic or monetary value to this supposed lone survivor whose soul instinct is survival in a world that has imploded on itself. Finally, hung in front of the canoe is a lit torch which further emphasises the atmospheric and environmental distinction between the reality of the passenger and the exhibition space.


Alafuro Sikoki Cog

Cog is an attempt to represent the environment we live in and the way we experience it. Cog employs the medium of television to explore society and subjectivity in interpellated states of collective memory, facts; checked and unchecked, information, manipulation, fantasy, reality, hyper-reality, alternate realities, history and familiarity. Are the experiences of the viewer produced by social forces which are always prior to the viewer’s present state? Cog subverts the idea of ‘the gaze’ in Nigerian society – the desire of the viewer to control the object it sees (television) and equally hold the television’s attention. How do we react when we become the object being viewed? By employing Lacan’s mirror stage theory, we explore the creation of (mass) ego through identification. This identification being the assimilation of ‘experience’ as it were, derived from a vicarious television viewing experience. In summary, Cog is the view of the view.


Papa Omotayo AND Folarin Shansanya A Game of Chinese Whispers

Lagos, is a city filled with daily migration from near and far. 1500 people apparently move from the rural areas everyday. We have a growing population of a returning diaspora along with a rising Chinese population. However, the story of what binds us is often distorted along, tribal, religious and economic line. Though it’s evident many of our struggles are same. Our cultural tradition of oral story telling has lately been filtered though the spin of boko haram, political agenda, gossip magazines and headlines. The question is where does the distortion occur? At the churches, mosques, in the markets or at in the gossip pages? A game of Chinese whispers. What happens if we start a story and filter it through the spectrum of individual and scenarios? We have chosen to focus on particular demographic, subverting traditional perceptions of a history driven by single great (male) historical figures. But also testing the stereotype of the ‘woman as gossip’, using audio and videotape recordings, we seek to explore the power of recall and nature of collective memory and understanding. What parts do we choose to remember and pass on?


Omoligho Omoye Udenta AND Affiko Obadina Oil, Tears and Blood

This drop will be suspended about a 4 ft x 4 ft wooden box containing grass which is representative of the earth. The size of the drop in relation to the box of grass is highly exaggerated to emphasise the fact that although in reality drops are small however as the saying goes ‘tiny drops make the mighty ocean’. Seemingly unconnected ecological and political events and decisions by governments and individuals will eventually have consequences on the earth and its entire people. The video documenting the effects of oil on the grass is the key component of this entry as brings together and keeps for posterity all the elements of the installation. In our entry, we intend to mainly illustrate the effects of oil pollution on the environment with a number of elements, the first of which is a ‘drop’ of oil measuring about two feet by three feet made from beaten metal, which will (baring challenges) drop a continuous stream of oil on a patch of grass contained in a wooden box measuring 4 feet by 4 feet (which will in turn be atop a white box which will catch the over flowing oil and symbolise the far reaching effects of oil pollution) for about a week. The bottom white box will contain clippings about oil pollution (stuck on to Styrofoam bases) which will float atop the oil to symbolise that these issues will not die but continue to surface as long as they are unresolved. The ‘drop’ will be suspended from a false ceiling, above the box of grass but will be linked with metal poles for support.


2012 NAC Finalists


Closing Remarks

Welcome to the fifth edition of The National Art Competition (NAC). Nigeria’s premier art competition/exhibition. Five years! The evidence before us confirms that this project is not only a labour of love and of belief but also sustainable and relevant in Nigeria today. This year we opened with a more sombre theme, Consequences. A theme that encourages reflection and defines, clearly, the space that exists between the work created and the reverberations in the atmosphere. This extra dimension is what we hope the general public is able to engage and dialogue with. The artists we’ve selected have a diverse background which has enriched the competition. Each artist at this stage of the competition is a winner and I heartily congratulate you on making it thus far. For our three prize winners, I encourage you to allow the honours work in your favour by accepting this recognition as a platform for greater future contribution to the local and international art scene. Many thanks to our title sponsors and partners, Nigerian Breweries Plc (NB Plc): Their commitment to local talent promotion is singular. Special thanks to the corporate communication team at Nigerian Breweries for their friendship. The MD/CEO NB Plc Mr Nico Vervelde for always making himself available even at the shortest notice. Thank you to the Civic Centre, the birth home of NAC and AAF’s oldest ally. Our distinguished judge, Prof El Anatsui; a hero of our times. The facilitators at our workshops we give many thanks. And finally to the AAF staff: Zainab Ashadu, Medina Dugger, Tinuke Olu, Joseph Gergel, Olayinka Sangotoye, Evelyn Aluede, Rebecca Gebler, Tunde Adegboye, Samuel Nwokocha, your contribution will best be judged by history. Azu Nwagbogu Director AAF


About AAF

Established in 2007, African Artists’ Foundation is a non-profit art organisation which aims to promote the development of African art and artists, with the joint mission of raising awareness of relevant societal issues through the use of creative and artistic expression. In carrying out its mission, AAF organises competitions, workshops and exhibitions all aimed at unearthing talent, creating societal awareness and promoting the development of art in Nigeria. Azu Nwagbogu – Director Zainab Ashadu – Assistant Director/Curator Tinuke Olu – Senior Project Coordinator Medina Dugger – Senior Project Coordinator/Co-Curator Evelyn Aluede – Project Coordinator Joseph Gergel – Project Coordinator/Co-Curator Rebecca Gebler – Project Coordinator/Events Manager Olayinka Sangotoye – Gallery Manager/Art Handler Tunde Adegboye – Project Coordinator Samuel Nwokocha – Gallery Assistant/Art Handler African Artists’ Foundation (AAF) 54 Raymond Njoku Street, Ikoyi, Lagos State, Nigeria


African Artists’ Foundation (AAF)ina


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National Art Competition (NAC) 2012 Catalogue  
National Art Competition (NAC) 2012 Catalogue