Chairman’s Opening Speech
Commissioning of the Art Exhibition in honour of Late Prof Stella Idiong
University of Uyo
It is an honour and privilege to be the Chairman at the commissioning of an art gallery and a commemorative exhibition in honour of late Prof. Stella Idiong here in the University of Uyo. I am particularly happy to be part of the process of immortalizing Stella Idiong because she was one of our very own. As an alumnus of the Harmattan Workshop, an informal educational forum, which I founded in Agbarha Otor, Delta State, her participation and creative innovations in printmaking during several workshops she had attended, have been of great inspiration to us. Indeed this connection opened the way for my many visits to Uyo, and my claim as a son of Akwa Ibom.
Stella Idiong was a great teacher with vision, she commissioned an etching Press to be built in Lagos for Printmaking here in Uniuyo Art Department. She knew the important role that art galleries play in the education of the artists, and actually established the first gallery of Art in the University art department, where she encouraged art exhibitions.
With the commemorative Exhibition “Artforms” the function of an art gallery in a University has started to be made manifest. We can see and appreciate beautiful artworks which are not inhibited by pressures of commercial art that Prof. Idiong, art works and those of faculty members and students are now been showcased.
Prof. Idiong’s art particularly the prints are timeless. Equally great are pieces by A. John Sampson, Dr. Anselem Nyah, Dr. Okonofua who I already know from their participation in the Harmattan workshops. Works of other members of the faculty include Efiong Asukwo, Eyefiokio, Dr. Emoidem Udoh, Udom Bassey, Utom Obong – Ajuzie, J. Akim, Itoro Ekong and Ibrahim Bai are also great.
The students works show great promise. I urge them to take art as a journey of discovery, adopt mentors and patrons and by so doing not even the sky will be their limit.
Unuiyo should be proud to be one of the very few Universities in Nigeria, to establish their own art gallery. I hope in the future, this gallery which is being commissioned today will be a full fledged department with its own director.
University art galleries own collections which along with changing exhibitions attract visitors from outside the university community, thereby promoting the idea of ” the town meeting the gown” To this effect I hereby donate my artwork titled Thanksgiving to the Stella Idiong Art Gallery. This is in thanks to God for her life and her contributions to humanity.
Finally we are grateful to the family of late Prince Sampson Idiong and Late Princess (Professor) Stella O. Bernard Idiong for the magnanimous gift.
We pray that the legacy of Stella idiong, art teacher, Lecturer, Educationist and a distinguished fine artist, may last forever.
Bruce Onobrakpeya NNOM
29th January 2018