By Ozolua Uhakheme
Following its inability to hold a physical festival this year as a result of COVID-19 pandemic, Life in My City Art Festival (LIMCAF) will hold via a webinar with the theme: “Life In My City Art Festival and the Growth of Contemporary Art in Nigeria/Africa” before the end of the year.
According to a statement by the Executive Director, LIMCAF, Mr. Kevin Ejiofor, the 14-year-old youth art extravaganza, which has carved a niche for itself, will not hold this year in the usual form due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He disclosed that the decision was reached after a virtual meeting of the board of trustees recently.
LIMCAF is Nigeria’s largest art festival and it began in 2007 as a platform to empower aspiring young artists nationwide enabling them, through an annually themed series of competitive exhibitions and graded awards, to commercialise their works while interrogating the lived environment.
“With an average of more than 400 entries every year over the last 13 years, young artists from all over the country have responded with great enthusiasm to the incentives offered by LIMCAF and its awards. This year, even with the pandemic, more than 300 entries have already been received from young artists and these entries will be carried forward to LIMCAF 2021 when it is expected that things would return to normal,” he said.
The prime movers of the art industry in Nigeria, including many from the highest calibre of scholars, curators, studio practitioners, collectors, gallery owners and directors of art institutions at home and abroad have also embraced LIMCAF enthusiastically and joined the effort by serving as Jurors, Advisers, and Coordinators at Regional Centres.
Others instituted prizes and sometimes quite substantial prizes, as well as also serving as Chairpersons and Special Guests or as links to possible sponsors and donors. As such, in the past 13 years of the LIMCAF competitions and awards, the festival can now boast of an A-list of partners, associates, ambassadors and supporters from within and outside the Nigerian art landscape and the corporate world. This also includes a proud list of young artists who were first identified and promoted through winning LIMCAF’s prestigious prizes and who are now well known and professionally acknowledged blossoming national and international brands in their own right a growth process of contribution to the development of contemporary art in Nigeria of which we are all very proud.
Speaking on the upcoming webinar, the Festival Art Director, Dr Adewunmi, said that the aim of the webinar is to examine in real terms and in a holistic manner, the contributions of LIMCAF to the art ecosystem in Nigeria, re-examine its founding assumptions and chart a path for its future growth and the possibility and means open to LIMCAF for even greater contribution to the development of art in Nigeria and beyond.
Dr. Adewunmi stressed that some of Nigeria’s foremost artists and scholars including Prof El Anatsui, a patron of LIMCAF, will be part of the Webinar which is expected to offer a rich harvest of ideas and information on not just LIMCAF and the Nigerian art scene but on the future of art in the virtual world now unfolding.