By Simeon Mpamugoh
IN a bid to honour him as Nigeria’s foremost professor of General Arts, former Commissioner of Arts and Culture, Edo State, and UNESCO’s Living Human Treasure, Professor (Sir) Victor Uwaifo is billed to receive a special recognition for his contributions in the arts and culture sector in Africa and diaspora.
France based Conseiller Artistque is planning series of programmes to celebrate Uwaifo, who has distinguished himself in music, fine art, literature, science and culture administration. The event, which details are still under wraps, will kick off in the last quarter of the year. It begins with exhibition tour, symposium and musical performance
According to Bose Fagbemi, Founder Conseiller Artistique and Coordinator, the event shall be a total celebration of Uwaifor’s life, achievement and contribution to Nigeria, Africa and the world arts, with more focus on the history of Nigerian music, which has given the celebrant world acclaim as a living human treasure.
“The tour is expected to hold in some states of Nigeria, Paris, London, United States, Caribbean South Africa and Ghana,” Fagbemi said, adding, “the search for that Nigerian/African who possesses the quality of Art and Music always informs his decision for such honour.
The promoter and curator of artists, observed that art has always been used for cultural integration, either in a passive or direct way. She said, “When we speak a language that is not our origins, it is art. The way we dress, our music, and architectural buildings differ in almost every continent and music, and our everyday living describes who we really are.”
A member of the organising committee and former Director, National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC), Hilary Ogbechie, said that celebrating Sir Victor Uwaifo was a landmark event that should be sustained for Nigerians who have distinguished themselves in the humanities.
“Celebrating Prof. Uwaifo in the dimension we are planning it is landmark. It should be encouraged and supported by all and sundry. Professor Uwaifo is one of the Nigeria’s most accomplished living legend: a sculpture, writer, musician, established academic and notable icon and deserves to be honoured,” said he.
“His celebration is one of the many ways we can remember our legends and sustain the culture of honouring them while they are alive. There is need for enduring partnership with arts enthusiasts and the organised private sector with the support of the government. We have government institutions/agencies established with part of their mandate being to identify, recommend and appreciate our legends; and they are the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture, National Gallery of Arts, National Council for Arts and Culture, etc,” he added.
Noting that Nigeria has a very rich, colourful and vibrant arts and culture scene with limitless potentials, Ogbechie lamented that the bane in attracting cultural tourists had to do with insecurity, lack of adequate infrastructure, lack of an adequate calendar of arts and culture events, paucity of information and publicity, proper packaging and organisation of events.
He said further, “Growing up as a little boy, I remember singing and dancing to some of his hit songs such as ‘Joromi’, ‘Guitar Boy’, etc. I’m particularly happy that Sir Victor Uwaifo has agreed to be celebrated. We plan to have him perform in Nigeria, and notable cities in the world such as Paris, New York and also exhibit his artworks alongside that of others.
“My joy is hinged on the fact that this will be a different and positive narrative emanating from Nigeria rather than the current negative stories of terrorism, kidnapping, hunger, economic recession and strife within the polity; internally displace persons hitting the international media space on daily basis. The celebration will shore up Nigeria’s image in no small way.”