The fourth edition of the Lagos International Poetry Festival, otherwise known as LIPFest, began on Wednesday with guests from different countries. Some of these countries include; Senegal, Ghana, Germany, Uganda, United Kingdom, South Africa, USA, and of course, Nigeria.
Themed “Wide Awake”, the four-day (October 31st –November 4th) festival features a number of activities such as; writing workshops, lectures, book readings, master-classes, and poetry performances from award winning poets and writers.
At the opening ceremony on Wednesday, Efe Paul Azino, founder and director of LIPFest, delivered his welcome address in an unconventional way, beginning with a spoken word performance before moving on to explain the essence of poetry and the importance of the festival.
“It is important for us to have conversations that push the gap between our seeming disparities and that’s what poetry does, it helps us to connect across our shared humanity and to realise that in spite of our skin colours and ethnic backgrounds, we’re all fundamentally the same with similar yearnings.
“We wanted to ask people who made this their life work to think about these things, to reflect on society, to imagine better ways of living and of being. We brought them down to have these conversations, but we also spiced the festival with performances because Lagos is such a beautiful wild place and Lagos is a performance in itself,” said Azino
The evening began with a dance performance by QDance Centre, richly expressing the woes and struggles of Africans in recent times, particularly of migrants seeking greener pastures abroad.
Guests present at last night’s poetry performance at Freedom Park, oohed and aahed as they snapped their fingers to the beats and rhythms of every punch line and movement made during the session which featured poets, home and abroad, including; Lebo Mashile (LIPFest poet-in-residence), Jabir Malick, Chika Jones, Julian Huen, and a host of others.
Jabir and Huen performed their poems in French and German, respectively.
According to Jabir, “This poetry festival is international, so I’m going to start this performance by delivering some of my poems in French then I’d switch to English afterwards.”
For Huen however, “All my poems are in German, but I have translated one to English, which will be performed on Friday. However, for tonight, my advice to those that don’t understand German is; feel the poem and if you can’t do that, poem the feel.”
Speaking at the opening ceremony, Jordi Borrut Bel, MD Nigerian Breweries Plc (main sponsor of LIPFest 2018), who was represented by Patrick Olowokere, Corporate Communications/Brand Public Relations Manager said; “I welcome you to this opening ceremony of the fourth edition of the Lagos International Poetry Festival sponsored by Nigerian Breweries Plc. Over the years, Nigerian Breweries has sponsored several art focused initiatives that underscore our commitment to youth empowerment and talent development in Nigeria.
“In line with our philosophy of Winning with Nigeria, we recognise that the arts play an important role in the strengthening of cultural values of our society. Our sponsorship of this festival therefore remains a significant part of a broad spectrum of initiatives which cover diverse areas such as health, water, education, talent development, and youth empowerment across the country.
“With the Lagos International Poetry Festival, we project the role of poetry as a tool for the reengineering of society towards the objective of achieving progress for our nation. Poetry does not only interpret society, or serve as its mirror, it also helps us imagine better ways of being and living. Poetry has a capacity to delight the reader or the listener, while at once heightening their sense of consciousness about the world they live in,” said Jodi Borrut Bel.
The evening came to a close with a music performance by Femi Leye that got the quests dancing.
Lagos Poetry Festival 2018 holds from October 31st to November 4th at different venues in Lagos.
Below are pictures from the event.