Friday, March 18, 2011

Golden Jubilee Dance Celebrating Nigeria at 50

Dance of the Golden Jubilee
Installation by Participants of the Harmattan workshop Series under the Auspices of Bruce Onobrakpeya Foundation (BOF)

The work which is an installation, represents the celebration, aspirations and challenges of the Nigerian people for political, cultural, social and economic emancipation since independence.
These aspirations are reflected in the group work which is centered around an organic tree growing that is used as a metaphor for the growth of Nigeria. It is also a metaphor for the concern for environmental issues, which become necessary as a result of the delicate balance of nature and the environment, which like Nigeria needs to be protected.
It is this protection of the tree and the environment that becomes the guarantee for our long term sustenance as an entity and a people. Chief amongst these reasons, is that it erases the problem of environmental hazards like oil spillage and social concerns like youth restiveness. Another reason is the economic one of large scale unemployment which can be the result of a monolithic economy instead of a diversified one, which is based on the chief exploitation of one resource. Understanding the need for the delicate balance in the environment, allows for and promotes the diversified and varied uses, of a lot of our God given resources in Nigeria to empower her people economically, instead of its chief reliance on one product.

These ideas have also been filtered through in the Annual workshop Experience which is arguably one of the best examples of an artist collective that seeks to renew its creative ideas by going back to its roots and fundamentals to sustain itself. The Harmattan Workshop is participatory in its approach to creativity and problem solving, and points towards the values of the following:

●Conflict resolution and problem solving by participants of the workshop as a potent instrument for engendering peace and friendship.
●Team building irrespective of gender and place of origin.
●Research and experimentation and cross fertilization of ideas

The mixed media installation is a joint effort by few participants of the Harmattan workshop series at Agbarha-Otor Delta State Nigeria. The workshop series itself is the flagship programme of the Bruce Onobrakpeya Foundation with branches at Papa Ajao and Victoria Island, Lagos.

The central piece (a hanging) which gives the installation its name is called “Dance of the Golden Jubilee” composed by Bruce Onobrakpeya who is the initiator of the Annual Harmattan Workshop Series since 1998. It is made up of plastocast vignettes and stained fibre. The stones works at the base were carved by Godwin Onobrakpeya, Andrew Onobrakpeya, Alaric Oviri, Uwa Usen, Ojo Olaniyi and Taiwo Sulaimon. Two wood carvings at each side were done by Anyandepo Abiye. The two pieces symbolize emergence and celebration, the trees on both sides of the pictures are encrusted with beaded jewels symbolizing the wealth of our environment. Lastly the circular disk at the foreground is a metal foil plastograph produced by Moses Unokwah.

The workshop advocates sustainable and renewable use of ideas and materials for creativity and leadership in the arts, some of these ideas are derived from the countryside. In the same manner, Nigeria must completely harness its diverse resources where ever found, for her long term sustenance, protection and renewal of land and people. In this way Nigeria will be guaranteed long term survival, translating into prosperity into the next century and even beyond.

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