The Obi of Onitsha, Igwe Nnaemeka Achebe, has called for cultural renaissance as the Oreze International Arts Exhibition, an integral part of the annual Ofala festival sponsored by national telecommunication’s company, Globacom, kicked off at Ime Obi, the Igwe’s palace, in Onitsha on Wednesday.
According to Igwe Achebe, “Modern day visual arts started from Onitsha. The essence of Oreze is to preserve our culture through visual arts and continue what our forefathers did”.
Speaking further, the royal majesty said the exhibition was intended to showcase the African culture to the rest of the world, adding that “Our aim for introducing Oreze International Arts Exhibition is to bring the world to Onitsha and take Onitsha to the world through visual arts”.
The exhibition, featuring works of art of over 200 artists from Nigeria and the Diaspora, was introduced in 2013, and this year’s event marks the 7th edition under Globacom’s corporate sponsorship of the festival which began in 2011. Also speaking at the occasion, the Special guest of Honour, Professor Frank Ugiomo of the Department of Arts, University of Port Harcourt, described the collection at the exhibition as “a mark of distinction”.
He said: “The work of art constitutes the remnant of self. Interacting with the work of art is interacting with oneself. The work of art should speak to us as a people and as such, the essence of this exhibition is for us not to lose our being. I must therefore praise the Agbogidi, the organisers of the Oreze International Arts Exhibition, and the sponsors, Globacom, for consistently using this forum to remind us of who we are”. He also advised the visitors to the gallery, mostly visual arts enthusiasts, to “take in the essence of the exhibition which goes beyond the pictorial to become a reminder of who we are as a people and a race”.