LIMCAF Art Festival: Ugwuanyi Assures Youths Of Commitment To Uplift Creativity, Talent

Gov. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State has assured youths of his administration commitment to uplift creativity and talent through various platforms within the state.

Ugwuanyi gave the assurance on Saturday evening at the grand finale and award night of 2022 Edition of Life In My City Art Festival (LIMCAF) Art Exhibition, which was themed: “Paradox of Muted Echoes”.

The governor, represented by the Commissioner for Lands, Chief Chidi Aroh, noted that the state government would continue to give hope to the youths by supporting their creativity, talent and zeal to bring out the best.

According to him, as a government, we will continue to create enabling environment for creativity of our youths to be heard and seen clearly and sustain our support for various platforms in this direction.

“The state government will continue to support youths, creativity and this particular festival to greater heights since it serves as a spring board to showcase their artistic creativity to the entire world.

“I will want to commend the organisers for making this festival an annual one since 2007 and taking pain and resources to teach and bring the very best out of our talented youths,” he said.

Speaking, the Obi-of-Onitsha, Igwe Nnaemeka Achebe, urged youths to be hard working and be determined to get to the zenith of anything they had passion for, “there lies the future for you”.

Achebe appreciated the sponsors of the festival – MTN Foundation, Ford Foundation and others – for sustaining the festival and “making it a global brand notwithstanding its very humble beginning”.

“LIMCAF Art Festival within 16 years has grown to become the largest and highest running art festival in the country collecting hundreds of art works yearly.

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“It is time to take and expand LIMCAF beyond Nigeria to an African scope and magnitude,” the Obi-of-Onitsha, who spoke through a visual platform, said.

Chairman of the LIMCAF Board of Trustees, Elder K.U. Kalu, said that LIMCAF was able to send overall winners in its past 16 editions for an African art exhibition in Dakar, Senegal to get expose and learning more about art.

Kalu explained that for this year’s edition, a total of 270 art entries were received from eight zonal/region centres throughout the country.

“We follow up on career development of our youths especially those that have won various categories as well as our yearly overall winners.

“Hundreds of youths have found livelihood through arts, some have become international artists while others have discovered themselves by participating in this festival, which indicates that our investment is yielding fruits.

“I must appreciate MTN Foundation, Ford Foundation, Pinnacle Oil and Gas Ltd and host of others as well as families and individuals that have endowed prizes at the yearly grand finale,” he said.

In a goodwill message, Mr Dennis Okoro, who represented MTN Foundation, said that the telecommunication giant (MTN) was sponsoring the festival as part of its civic social responsibility and educational support in the country.

Okoro noted that the foundation was impressed with the yearly outcome of the festival and its focus of enhancing capacity and providing platform for artistic excellence among youths in the country.

“Sponsoring this art festival remains a wise decision as it brings hope and gives platforms to hundreds of youths from different parts of the country yearly and creates an enabling environment for youths to learn from renowned art scholars.

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“In MTN Foundation, our mandate focuses on education, health and human empowerment; while presently we have over 5,000 medical and science students under our scholarship,” Okoro, who is also a teacher, said.

Mr Dabesaki Mac-Ikemenjima, representative of Ford Foundation, said that the artistic works of the young artists were a reflection of the society and its “pain and agony”.

“The artistic works speak volumes of the reality within the society and its shows that the youths are much aware of societal issues,” Mac-Ikemenjima said.

The Chairman of the grand finale, Elder U.K. Eke, said that the festival provided opportunity for the society to truly connect with the youths and share in their hopes, aspirations and struggles.

Prof. Jerry Buhari, who led a five-man jury for the art work entries, advised all the young artists to continue their hard work even if they were not among the first 25 that would be given prizes.

Buhari, who is a professor of fine art from Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, said that the work was judged individually by the different jury, before overall collation of the individual results, based on creativity, originality, work presentation/explanation among others.

In the award proper, four school children got N50,000 cash award each in the children category; while some schools within Enugu metropolis got art text books.

A total of 14 artists among the final 25 artists got N20,000 consolation cash prizes each; while five artists got endowment prizes from notable individuals and families.

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For the remaining six; Abiodun Emmanuel won the best textile art/fashion and got N250,000; Segun Adebayo won best photography/video and got N250,000; Idowu Abayomi won best graphics/digital art and got N250,000 and Joy Onyiri won best ceramics and got N250,000.

Others are: Hector Udoka won best painting, mixed media/drawing and got N250,000; and the overall winner of LIMCAF 2022 Edition and also winner of the best sculptor/installation art was Samson Ejiofor, who got N500,000 cash prize.

In a brief interview, Ejiofor revealed that it was his seventh year of sending his entries to the festival, adding that “I am grateful to God for rewarding my persistent’’.

“My story of struggle to make it is just like the one of many youths out there; but there is hope of a better future and success if we remain focused to our passion and pursuit in life.

“I thank the organisers, the sponsors, the judges as well as my family and friends that believed in me and kept encouraging me. Thank you all,” he added.