Venice Biennale, the world’s most prestigious contemporary visual art exhibition, in its 57th-year edition, titled VIVA ARTE VIVA, welcomes a new guest in 2017, Nigeria.
A press conference was organised on Tuesday, March 21, 2017 at Moorhouse house Ikoyi to officially announce Nigeria’s participation in the 57th edition.
The conference kicked off with a welcome address from the project manager, Wunika Mukan after which the official announcement of the country’s participation was done by a member of the steering committee, Ade Adekola.
His excellency, gov Obaseki who was represented by Femi Lijadu further explained that the government has an intention to build a museum of international standards in Benin. He said this physical infrastructure will be able to bring back the intangible infrastructure and our cultural heritage. Indigenes and foreigners will be able to visit, thereby positioning Edo state as an art and cultural pioneer in Nigeria. It is a vibrant opportunity for culture and artistic identity to through reverberate throughout the world.
Ike Chioke, a steering committee member, to be accepted in the project, we needed an official representative of the government. To that effect, the Edo state governor Obaseki accepted to be made the commissioner of the project.
He described the impact of private sector funding on the project and also added that they have been supportive so far.
“The theme for the exhibition, How about Now, reflects on the question of Now,” says the lead curator, Aderenle Sonariwo.
Exhibiting visual artists, Peju Alatise and Victor Ehikhamenor were chosen based on a number of criteria which included their ability to deliver a worthy of exhibition art piece, their accomplishments and reputation- locally and internationally as well as a good CV of the artist.
Alatise, taken from the present, is known for her large-scale, sculptural works tackling contemporary themes most recurring of which is gender and its associated politics.
Ehikhamenor, taken from the past, is a mixed-media artist whose works are being influenced by the duality of African beliefs and Western/Catholic political intervention.
Qudus Onikeku, an accomplished performer and contemporary dance artist with an impressive resume represents right here, right now.
At this point, a section for questioning was opened to all.
Obinna Emedike of Business day asked, “What will Nigeria gain?”
Femi Lijadu who answered, said it will give us an opportunity to represent our face and voice as against the wrong narratives of Nigeria.
Tajudeen Showole said, “After this edition, will the commissioners be rotated from state to state
Adekola said “No doubt that various individuals will step forward to become the commissioner in subsequent editions. It’s a matter of capability and interest.
With no other questions to ask, the conference was brought to an end.