The Enugu State governor, Ifeany Ugwuanyi, recently received the trustees of the Life In My City Art Festival (LIMCAF) in private audience in his Lion House office Enugu. The trustees were led by their Chairman Elder K. U. Kalu, a former Chairman of Union Bank and Managing Director Skoup and included Chief Loretta Aniagolu a member of the Governor’s Economic Advisory Team and Principal Partner, FIT Consult; Dr. Obiora Anidi Chairman of the State Council for Arts and Culture; Ayo Adewunmi a Chief Lecturer and Head, Department of Graphic Design IMT and Art Director of the Festival; Mr. Tayo Adenaike, CEO Artsaels Ltd; Mr Chuka Orji son and representative of the Founder of Life In My City Chief Robert Orji and Mr Kevin Ejiofor a former DG FRCN and Executive Director of the Festival.
The trustees briefed the governor in full about the aims, objectives and vision of the Festival which is not just a youth empowerment project but also a burgeoning national and international art and culture tourism destination and therefore a future source of significant contribution to the GDP of Enugu State and Nigeria.
In a formal presentation Mr. Ejiofor explained to His Excellency that the 2016 edition would be the 10th Anniversary of the Festival at which past winners and donors and other specially invited prominent guests were expected.
Governor Ugwuanyi also learned that several of the past winners of the Festival’s overall prize were now significantly advancing their careers in various ways after being launched at earlier editions of the festival including Mr. Olamide Oresegun the Festival’s first overall winner in 2007 at a time he was a student at Yaba Polytechnic who was recently featured on CNN and Ngozi Omeje now a PhD student at the University of Nigeria who also later won the Nigerian Breweries National Art Competition.
Mr. Ejiofor’s presentation also revealed that LIMCAF was now seeking a working partnership with the Institute of Management and Technology Enugu, renowned from its early years to date for its great contribution to the development of young artists in visual arts to become the intellectual home of the Festival as it now seeks to deepen and broaden its impact in contemporary art in the Nigerian and international art world.
On the whole He learned also that Enugu State young artists have won the overall prize at four of the nine editions of the Festival so far.
The presentation showed that on the whole, major prize winners at the Festival to which entry is limited to young artists below the age of 35, have come from schools and private studios in Lagos, Enugu, Abuja, Auchi, Uyo, Ibadan, Kaduna, and Port Harcourt among others. The Festival has also hosted some very high profile art personalities in its panels of judges including professors of art in premier institutions in Nigeria and Africa, internationally renowned gallery operators, contemporary art scholars and promoters, high profile studio artists and from Nigeria and West Africa such as Jerry Buhari, Chike Aniakor, Kunle Filani, Bisi Silva, Frank Ugiomoh, Ayo Aina, Muhammed Muazu, Tony Okpe, Obiora Anidi, Nsikka Essien and Jacob Jari.
There have also been academic papers and other such contributions during some of the earlier editions of the Festival by highly learned academics including Pita Ejiofor, Ola Oloidi, Chike Aniakor and Chris Ikwuemesi, with external support from Obiora Udechukwu, Mor Faye (Senegal) and Akwele Suma-Glory (Ghana) among others.
The Photo Africa contest for young African photo artists under 35 years of age was added to the Festival’s portfolio in 2012 and has since attracted entries from not less than eighteen African countries with jurors drawn from Nigeria, South Africa, Australia including such renowned photography experts as Tam Fiofori, Timipre Amah, James Iroha, Emeka Egwuibe, Piere Duffour (France), Margie Mac Clelland (Australia), and John Fleetwood (South Africa).
But perhaps the most interesting development in recent years is the endowment of prizes by prominent families, individuals and institutions including the Justice Anthony Aniagolu prize, the Pius Okigbo Prize, the Centre for Contemporary Art prize, the Mfon Usoro Prize, and the Thought Pyramid Art Gallery Prize among others.
At the end of a briefing His Excellency Rt. Honourable Ifenanyi Ugwuanyi, expressed delight with what he had learned about the Festival and the fact that such a private initiative was active in the State. He asked the Trustees to keep him informed about the progress of their preparations for the 2016 special anniversary edition which is billed to come to a climax on Saturday, October 29.
– Ejiofor is LIMCAF’s executive director