An illustrative Art, Video Installation and installation project on Professor Wole Soyinka at 85 will take place during this year’s edition of the Lagos Book and Art Festival (LABAF). The celebration project is based on the life of Wole Soyinka, which has been a subject of discourse for many years, from his early childhood in Abeokuta, to his early days at the University College, Ibadan (Now University of Ibadan). Also, the formation of the Pyrates Confraternity, his most active early days as a writer, the formation of the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC), his days as an activist, the NADECO/Abacha days and also his life as a global citizen of the world.
According to a statement by the curator, this exhibition project seeks to understand and showcase from the perspective of the Icon, 20 most important defining moments that led the young boy who grew up in Abeokuta to become the enigma we all revere today. These have to be the Wole Soyinka moments that have defined him in every way, and allowed us to see him for who he is today.
“The exhibition is the grand finale of the WS@85 Celebration that started in July this year, and also part of programs for the 21st edition of the Lagos Book and Arts Festival,” sid Oludamola O Adebowale, the producer and curator.
Akinwándé Oluwo̩lé Babátúndé S̩óyinká; (Born 13 July 1934), popularly known as Wole Soyinka, is a Nigerian playwright, poet and essayist. He was awarded the 1986 Nobel Prize in Literature the first African to be honoured in that category.
Soyinka was born into a Yoruba family in Abeokuta. In 1954, by he attended Government College in Ibadan, subsequently University College and University of Leeds in England. After studying in Nigeria and the UK, he worked with the Royal Court Theatre in London. He went on to write plays that were produced in both countries, in theatres and on radio. He took an active role in Nigeria’s political history and its struggle for independence from Great Britain. In 1965, he seized the Western Nigeria Broadcasting Service studio and broadcast a demand for the cancellation of the Western Nigeria Regional Elections. In 1967, during the Nigerian Civil War, he was arrested by the federal government of General Yakubu Gowon and put in solitary confinement for two years. He was released in 1969 and left Nigeria, not to return until after a change of government in 1975.
A father, grandfather, Soyinka is a cultural and literally Icon. A wine connoisseur and a global citizen. He was decorated with ‘Order and Merit of the Commander’s Rank’ by President Moise of Haiti in February 2018. At the age of 85 Oluwole Soyinka is not showing signs of slowing down as a writer and an activist.
Art Pieces: These 20 moments would be captured in 20 colorful illustrative art works that best capture the energy, works that best describe the event/period captured. The art works would be finally printed – most likely on canvas, they will be colourful, brilliant and their effect will be spontaneous when viewed.
Video Installation: The Narrative around the 20 defining moments would also be captured in s short film which would be premiered during the Exhibition. The Short film titled: Kongi’s Effect- Timeless Memories: Elastic Effects would feature archival videos such as the appearance of Wole Soyinka during the aftermath of the 1965 Saga, as well as other never seen videos of the Nobel Laureate in his private home in Ijegba, Abeokuta.
The Idea behind this exhibition project is to create a conscious form of dialogue and discourse on a fresh perspective around Wole Soyinka and also most importantly infuse the use of Technology as a means of expanding the scope of knowledge and interaction around the man we all call “WS” or “Kongi”
Date: November 4th at the Kongi’s Harvest Hall, Freedom Park Lagos.
Exhibition Opening Time: 4; 30 PM.
The Exhibition Project is Produced and Curated by: Oludamola O Adebowale.
The Exhibition Project is proudly supported by ASIRI Magazine, CORA-LABAF, Freedom Park Lagos, and WSICE.