20 May 2016

2 Weeks of Bubbling Cultural Events in Abjua

I felt like a tourist in the great City of Abuja in the last two weeks of April 2016. Several cultural events dotted the space. A beautiful city that has come to establish its presence as a home for artsy events and hangouts, Abuja really awed me.
Jos Repertory Theatre and Embassy of Spain
The fiesta started for me on the 20th of April when the Jos Repertory Theatre performed Rinconete y Cortadillo, at the Transcorp Hilton, a story by a Spanish writer which depicted the period of troubled times, crisis and splendor. It was organised by the Embassy of Spain in Abuja.
Tamerri Beckons!

What will I wear for the Tamerri Music Festival?
I hunger and thirst for cultural events. When I saw this, I was like Whaaaat? I had to be there. This one would have a human library and a masquerade in the city? Very creative. Thumbs up to Root N Raw. This is what I call linking the ancient and the modern in order to appreciate our unique cultural heritage. Importing masquerades from the village to the city! People don’t go home these days so for so many children who were there, this must have been a spectacle and a first! Tamerri hit Abuja from 22-23 April and for two days, intrigued visitors with art exhibitions, the human library, film screening, art exhibitions and sales, masquerade exhibition, dance (my girl Mima, CEO of Krump Studios was there with her dance crew doing their thing), fashion shows, and live music from the likes of Bez and Brymo! This event took place at the Sarius Palmetium Botanical Garden in Maitama.

Culture and Tourism Summit, British Council/DMP Expo.
 I applied for and won a stand at the British Council Creative Industries Expo which held at Ramaya Royal Park from the 26-27 of that month. It flowed into the National Summit on Culture and Tourism. There was no missing the National Summit on Culture and Tourism which regularly chimed on TV, fixed for 27-29 April at Transcorp Hilton Abuja. It started with a gala night which had the who-is-who of the culture and entertainment sector. The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, Senator Ben Murray Bruce, Senator Chris Ngige, Senator Ita Giwa, Director Generals of culture parastatals, the President of the Association of Nigeria Authors (ANA), the CEO of Legendary Gold (the organisers of African Fashion Reception and Nigeria fashion Week), and Nollywood actors. The aim of the summit was to reposition the tourism and culture sector as avenues for diversifying the Nigerian economy.

Colour.ism popped
I never had this much information about the discrimination of albinos until I attended Colour.ism pop up art exhibition which opened on 28th April and ran throughout the week at Nordic Hotel in Mabuchi, organised by Enigma Art. This one-of-a-kind art exhibition had a short film; a window into the true lives and experiences of albinos. Albinism is an abnormal skin condition characterized by a lack of melanin which gives colour to the skin, hair and eyes. The exhibition exposed some of the maltreatment faced by albinos – alienation, bullying, ridicule, violence (especially in relation to the stereotype belief that they possess spiritual powers and as such they are sometimes murdered with the belief their body parts can be sold to witch doctors for a huge amount of money).

Arojah
If you missed Taffir’s Last Game, a play written by Ahmed Yerima about the friendship between Nigerians and South Africans, do not fret because Arojah Theatre which produced the play, organises regular stage performances in Abuja. They have over time been able to bring a good understanding to Nigerians and the world at large about appreciating Nigeria’s culture. Talk about cultural diplomacy! Taffir’s Last Game took place at the Cyprian Ekwensi Centre in Garki.

I closed the month with Art In Human Exhibition on 30 April at Traffic in Maitama. There’s something quite raw and earthy about Charles’ exhibition. The exhibition from my personal interpretation resonated the 70s boho, free spirited ad adventurous era calling to mind a pop or disco starlet shining in a world bubbling with greats in the music industry.

I don’t know what the month of May will look like by the way and although I started the month with the Jabi Lake Mall workers day party, it is not enough to predict. However I look forward to having a very good time. Richard Akuson’s The Front Row Fashion Party last Saturday, was simply awesome. I got my invite and it said “Only the chic survive’’.

Now while all these were happening, did you know that the first National Drum Festival took place in Abeokuta, Ogun State? It featured the largest talking drum in Nigeria and indeed in Africa.
Till next time, it’s me… Venus.

Written 1st May 2016.

Follow Venussbay on Twitter/Instagram @venussbay

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