Zik’s Avenue is arguably the most hurly-burly road in Awka, the capital city of Anambra State, but tucked inside Number 261 is seminal serenity. Here is the home of Awka Museum Foundation facilitated by the irrepressible art connoisseur Barrister Arthur Harris-Eze. It’s noonday on Saturday, July 22, 2023, and art enthusiasts are gathered here for the much-cherished Life in My City Art Festival (LIMCAF). This marks the first time the festival is being celebrated in the Anambra Region.
Initiated in 2007, LIMCAF is, according to its Art Director, Ayo Adewunmi. Ph.D, “an annual celebration of creativity, featuring art competition for young talents in the Nigerian art landscape.”
The day’s programme kicks off with the presentation and breaking of traditional kola-nuts in the Igbo traditional way of the life-giving nuts not speaking English language. The personable curator at Awka Museum Foundation, Ms Chioma Okoli, introduces the guests such as Prof Cliff Nwannna, Rector of Renaissance College of Technology, and Sir Chuka Nnabuife, MD/CEO of Anambra Newspapers and Printing Corporation, publishers of National Light, Ka O Di Taa, and SportsLight. Newspapers.
The Director of Awka Museum Foundation, Barrister Arthur Harris-Eze who flew in from London, England for the event was his vivacious self, getting everybody involved in the proceedings.
In his Welcome Address, LIMCAF Art Director, Ayo Adewunmi, stated: “Our Mission is to position art for social development through youth empowerment, thereby promoting art as a resource for national development. The Vision is to establish LIMCAF as one of the top three high profile events in Africa within the international art events calendar.”
He revealed that the festival has become the biggest art event in Nigeria, with this year’s edition attracting 576 entries from around the country, which happens to be the highest number of entries received since the inception of the festival in 2007.
For the Awka Museum Foundation exhibition, Dr. Adewunmi informs, “LIMCAF is showing 20 artworks from the entries received from Anambra Region. From these artworks, the local jury may recommend four artworks to be part of the Grand Finale in Enugu in October 2023.”
Adewunmi is filled with optimism of charging further ahead, saying: “This year, LIMCAF increased the Prizes to be won by promising young Nigerian artists to over 6 Million Naira. This increase is made possible with the support from MTN Foundation, the Ford Foundation and other sponsors. We remain grateful to all the sponsors. LIMCAF is grateful to Management of Awka Museum Foundation for their effort in making sure this new partnership is productive. We hope to continue to work with the museum to propagate contemporary art as well as position young Anambra artists for steady professional development.”
The young artists whose works were on display include: Abugu Odinaka Christiantus, Ahumaraeze Ekeoma Itah, Anozie Jeremiah Udeh, Dunu Miracle Chijioke, Enebeli Desmond, Fidelis Umahi Stephen, Okafor Ogochukwu Stella, Ezenwekwe Stanley Kosiso, Nwoye Chisom Joseph, Okonkwo Kyrian, Okpe Esther Ogechi, Okosi Chukwuma Joseph, Stanley Nwite Ejike, and Ugwuanyi Chukwuebuka Joseph.
After its establishment in 2007, LIMCAF was registered as a trusteeship in 2012 under the name Life In My City Art Initiative as an annual celebration of creativity featuring young Nigerian art talents.
The founding of LIMCAF owes a lot to the astute support of Chief Robert Orji, MD of Rocana Nigeria Limited. The patrons are: His Royal Majesty Igwe Nnaemeka Achebe (CFR) Obi of Onitsha, and Emeritus Professor El Anatsui. The Board is made up of Elder K.U. Kalu (CON), Mr. Kevin Ejiofor, Barrister Peter Eze, Dr Ayo Adewunmi, Mr. Vin Martin Obiora Ilo, Mrs. Mfon Ekong Usoro, and Mr. Tayo Adenaike.
In its many years of resourceful service in Nigerian arts, “LIMCAF has created and sustained a platform which has: empowered more than 1500 young artistes; promoted art pan-Nigeria through the annual competition that offers young people an avenue to showcase and commercialise their productions, win handsome prizes and interact with the larger community on a national and progressively international basis; involved young people in a national interactive visual art fiesta in various centres across the country, which enables them to meaningfully express themselves on the state of their lived environment through their art; created a notable national and international art tourism destination in Enugu to complement other existing events and attractions in other parts of the country and thereby contribute through a fresh grassroots perspective to the growth of art and art tourism in Nigeria.”
The theme for this year’s festival is “Fix It”.