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Arts & Travel

IRep honours “a true amazon of Art promotion in Nigeria”


The prestigious iREP Hnonors this year will be given to Mrs Bolanle Austen-Peters, the CEO of Terra Kulture,  who has emerged a frontline promoter of arts and culture in the country. According to the iREP directorate, Austen-Peters is being honoured this year, because essentially, she represents the spirit of progress and possibilities in our culture producing community and has been a major inspiration to many young people.

Organisers also say that Mrs Austen-Peters, who recently turned 50, was the first supporter the festival had at inception.

“She gave us her the Terra Kulture facilities free of charge and even donated lunch to some of our guests. She repeated the feat on the second edition before the festival relocated to Freedom Park. That is an uncommon gesture of philanthropy, especially in our clime,” the statement reads.

The honour will be presented at the festival’s opening Cocktail event on Wednesday 20 March at the amphitheatre of Freedom Park. Special guest of honour is Lagos State Commissioner for Tourism, Arts & Culture, Steve Ayorinde.

Also, the festival has scheduled a lineup of tributes for some of the members of the artistic and culture producing community who passed on recently, starting with the Film historian-critic, Professor Frank Ukadike; the visual arts curators, Bisi Silva and Okwui Enwenzor; the Professor of African Studies at Carleton University, Ottawa,  Prof. Pius Adesanmi, and the theatre artiste and prolific TV drama scriptwriter, Paul Emema.

Special guests and resource persons expected to participate at the festival include:

Prof. Awam Amkpa (US): Former Senior Lecturer of Drama and Television at King Alfred’s University College, Winchester, England, and Assistant Professor of Theatre Arts at Mount Holyoke College. He will be curating the INTERSECTIONS segment of the festival on the theme: The Other Storylines during which he would showcase films that have experimental narrative forms, even as they reflect on issues around cultural developments in Africa. These include An Opera of the World by the renowned African Scholar, the Malian Manthia Diawara.

PROF. ‘NIYI COKER: Currently Director of the School of Theatre, Television, and Film at the San Diego State University, ‘Niyi Coker, Jr., is the Founding Director of the Africa World Documentary Film Festival, (AWDFF) which is presently in its 12th season. He holds a B.A in Dramatic Arts from the University of Ife, Nigeria, the MFA in Directing from Brooklyn College CUNY, and a Ph.D in African American Studies (Cultural Aesthetics) from Temple University in Philadelphia. He is author of 2 books The Music and Social Criticism of African Musician Fela Kuti and Ola Rotimi’s African Theatre: The Development of an Indigenous Aesthetic. He has written numerous book chapters and contributed several articles to Journals and Magazines. 

THEO LAWSON: He will be 60 on 23 March. Lawson studied architecture at the Architectural Association School, London between 1978 and 1985, where he experimented with both traditional African and High-tech design styles. Back in Nigeria he studied earth construction techniques culminating in his being invited to design and build the Bauchi State Museum in 1987. In 1999, he teamed up with other designers to form the “C.I.A.” (Creative Intelligence Agency), a Collaborative that spearheaded ideas for Lagos in the Millennium. This led to the conception and realization of “Freedom Park”, now Lagos’ most vibrant Arts space. He has also worked on other Public space projects that include; The Motherlan’ performance centre, University of Lagos Anniversary Park and the Kalakuta Museum, to name a few. Theo Lawson will keynote on “Urban Art Spaces and stories.” He will also be speaking in an afternoon session on “Arts and Urban Spaces”.

DR PAUL UGOR (US): Assistant Professor, Illinois State University. Paul Ugor earned his Ph.D. in English and Film Studies from the University of Alberta, Canada in 2009, and in 2010 was awarded the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Postdoctoral fellowship in Canada. Ugor was also lucky to be awarded the prestigious Newton International fellowship by the British Academy, which took him to the Centre for West African Studies, University of Birmingham, UK. While at CWAS he researched on the new socio-economic challenges confronting young people in three different cities in Nigeria and the new existential strategies these youth have developed to cope with the vicissitudes of life in precarious postcolonial urban spaces. After his fellowship in Birmingham, Ugor worked as a sessional faculty in the Department of English and Cultural Studies, at McMaster University, Canada from where he joined Illinois Sate University in the fall of 2014.
PROF. LINUS ABRAHAM: Prof. Linus Abraham has taught at the Greenlee School of Communication at the Iowa State University. He was a professor at one of the top journalism training institutions in the United States—the School of Journalism and Mass Communication (SJMC) at the University of Minnesota. Abraham is also a documentary filmmaker. Among his productions are Barbara’s Dollhouse (a documentary on the collection of historical black-dolls in the United States) and The Forgotten Sports Heroes (a documentary reflecting on the plight of some of Ghana’s past sports heroes, neglected in the waning years of their existence). He will speak on Storytelling and African Identity.

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