Saturday, March 26, 2011

Comments on the 13th Harmattan workshop

Mr. Sam Ovraiti
 The recently ended 13th Annual Harmattan Series, has continued to receive high praise and accolades from several observers of the arts. The first came from Chief Wanda Ibru, a local community leader and supporter of the Annual Harmarttan festival of the arts. She spoke on the choice of Mr. Sam Ovraiti as this year’s artistic director as excellent, based on his track record as an artist, teacher and administrator. Also, the noted collector of West African Contemporary art Mr. Fred Spinnler said in commenting on this year’s workshop that “It is also great that Sam Ovraiti has the director ship, since I know him as a serious hardworking artist who has visions for steps forward in the Nigerian Contemporary Art, and the representatives from Ghana, Benin etc. will also add value in the frame of the West African Art Development” The Ghanaian artist, Kofi Dawson a first time participant at the workshop, commended the workshop as being “lofty, noble and life transforming because it brings in artists from all over the world to share their experiences in an atmosphere of brotherhood and camaraderie”.

The Annual Workshop Series is unique in the sense that it is the only institution of it's kind in Africa that has consistently sought to bridge the gap between the formal and informal trained artist annually, to enable shared and accelerated learning between these two groups. This year’s workshop had over 100 participants in attendance from Belgium, Canada, Ghana, Republic of Benin and Togo and Nigeria.

The Chairman of the Bruce Onobrakpeya Foundation, Prof. Bruce Onobrakpeya MFR, in making a case for the need for the Annual Harmattan Workshops to continue, stated that the workshop is in the business of producing tomorrow’s great artists, today. This is done through cross fertilization of ideas, interaction, inspiration, team building and a great and conducive learning environment in the countryside for participants. Despite dwindling funding, support has continued to come from credible corporations with a high sense of social responsibility to the West African sub region.

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