BEST Art Campaign Climaxes with Prizes

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An odyssey through the making of eclectic artworks was relished at the grand finale of a month-long art campaign held at the Nike Art Gallery in Lagos, writes Yinka Olatunbosun

An atmosphere of visual feast encircled the white-walled art space in the heart of Lekki named Nike Art Gallery. On this calm Sunday afternoon, friends of the famed art hub gathered to witness the exhibition of the works of finalists in a month-long art campaign. Titled, “Best Art Exhibition,’’ the event was organised by Nigerbev Limited, Producers of Best Range of Products in collaboration with Nike Art Gallery to showcase the works of upcoming artists who had participated in the art campaign. The audience were thrilled to be part of the ceremony where the top three winners selected from the ten finalists were announced.

Throughout the month of August named ‘BEST Art Month,’ the organisers launched an open call for entries online, requesting artists to post their works on the social media with the hashtag ‘BEST.’ As a result, 1442 submissions were received by the jury and out of this 111 were drawn from Facebook while 1331 were selected from Instagram. The works were assessed on their conformity with the criteria which include form and content, originality, creativity, use of material (media) as well as resonance with the brand’s association with the subject matter of celebration. Chaired by the renowned textile artist and painter, Chief Mrs Nike Okundaye, the panel of judges include Dr. Bolaji Ogunwo, Mr Abiodun Badejo and Mr Felix Aina.

Initially, 162 works were selected through a very rigorous exercise. This was further pruned to 80 works and then a longlist of 20 emerged. Ten artists were selected for the finals. Asides for falling short of the criteria, works capturing children were excluded from the competition that was sponsored by the alcoholic beverage brand. At the grand finale, the Head of Marketing, Nigerbev Limited, Ololade Olumuyiwa-Biala spoke on why the company gave its support to this competition.

“The company believes in self-expression and the ability of matured minds to come together and have fun. The art campaign idea came as a result of the upheaval being experienced in the country; from COVID-19 lockdown to businesses shutting down which created a cloud of gloom. The company decided to do something that would endear the people and bring life,’’ she revealed.

She anticipated only 50 entries when the art campaign was initiated but that month, over a thousand entries were submitted. The BEST Art Campaign is a part of the company’s corporate social responsibility.

The winner of the Art Campaign with the mouth-watering cash prize of N500, 000 is Adewale Ojo Babatunde. His colourful art work titled ‘Celebration’ captured ladies having fun in rainbow colours as a celebration of life using acrylic on canvas.

The first runner-up, Mr Omoniyi Gilbert went home with N250,000 cash prize. His painting rendered in acrylic on paper titled, “Pure Bliss” was a visual play on shades.

The second runner-up and the only female artist on top three, Oniyinye Ezennian walked away with a sum of N100,000. She presented the work titled, “Suffering and Smiling’’ using coloured threads and nails. As a socially-conscious artist, her works often focus on contemporary issues revolving around women and children.