The City Hall in Lagos Island was a beehive of sorts. Guests boisterously exchanged pleasantries and clinked wineglasses at the formal launch of the Fashola Photographic Foundation.
Friends, family and associates of former Lagos State Governor and Minister of Power, Works and Infrastructure, Babatunde Raji Fashola SAN gathered at the venue to witness the long-anticipated exhibition of photography as well as the establishment of a non-profit organisation that trains budding photographers in honour of his late father, Alhaji Ademola Fashola. The elderly Fashola was a lover of photography through out his lifetime and left behind a generation of both amateur and professional photographers.
The occasion took off on a cheery note when a past Project Fame Winner, Jeffrey Akoh sang the National Anthem and earned some applause for it. Ms. Yinka Fashola, overwhelmed by the rising noise in the hall filled with excited people, read the citation of the late Fashola patriarch and shortly after, her brother and Minister, Babatunde Fashola recalled how he lost his father three days before the latter’s 80th birthday and how his legacy his lived beyond him four years on.
“He touched so many lives beyond what we can contemplate,” the former governor said. “Family was very first to him. Somehow, we all agreed that photography is a deep passion for him. I have uncles who were into photography mostly as hobby. In fact, I got my first camera at 14; it was a professional camera which I took to Germany.”
Fashola also enjoined photographers in Nigeria to practise the profession with dignity and honour. He observed that many photographers shy away from public view at events most times because of their appearance.
His views mirrored the sentiments expressed by the keynote speaker at the event, Tam Fiofori who described photography as a noble profession which is important in the preservation of history, culture and the image of the nation. He emphasised the need for proper training since photography is both an academic discipline and a skill.
For the CEO of the curating company, Temple Management Company, Idris Olorunnimbe, the Fashola Photographic Foundation will produce photographers to be proud of. This is a safe expectation since the formal launch was preceded by a workshop for select amateur photographers, facilitated by world-class photographers such as Sola Animashaun, Yetunde Babaeko, TY Bello and personal photographer to Fashola SAN, Lukman Olanipekun.
The talk sessions was punctuated by various performances including one from a Sakara music group, and Nigeria’s pop sensation, 9ice. While the performance was in progress, a live painting of Alhaji Fashola was executed in few minutes by an artist, Fola Davis.
Out of the 12 participants at the workshop, two winners emerged. Vivian Nwobi and Kehinde Yusuf were selected as the overall winner and first runner-up respectively with the grand prize of a two-week training at the New York Film Academy in January, 2018.
This workshop will be an annual fiesta for young talents irrespective of their professional background. For instance, this edition’s winner, Vivian Nwobi is a lawyer who was thrilled at the outcome of the training.