POV 4: Experts ponder on art as driver for environmental sustainability

Tony Okuyeme

 

T

he role art as a Driver for Environmental Sustainability’ will for the kernel of discourse as stakeholders in the arts and culture sector, especially artists, art patrons, scholars, curators, environmentalist, and art aficionados, coverage in Lagos, this Friday, for the 4th Edition of Point of View, a monthly series of talks by the Ben Enwonwu Foundation. 

 

 

The event which will hold at the Alliance Française/Mike Adenuga Centre, Ikoyi, Lagos, is organised by the Ben Enwonwu Foundation in collaboration with the Society of Nigerian Artists and supported by Alliance Française /Mike Adenuga Centre Lagos.

 

 

The fourth edition, themed ‘Art as a Driver for Environmental Sustainability’ advocates for sustainable cities and communities by promoting interdisciplinary collaborations between professionals across such diverse sectors as government, the arts, science and technology, to highlight the significant role of the visual arts in ensuring policy frameworks that address climate change.

 

 

“A call to action, POV 4 will discuss the different aspects and the dimension of the phenomenon, subsequently conveying to the government, recommendations and creative solutions to negate its impact. In line with its thrust, this edition will also feature presentations by artists on how they have adopted environmentally sustainable practices in conceptualising work from recycled waste, created wealth, raised awareness and engaged local communities,” says Oliver Enwonwu, who is the founder, executive director, and trustee of The Ben Enwonwu Foundation.

 

 

According to Enwonwu, who is an artist, curator, art administrator, author, writer, publisher and brand strategist, while the Chairman, Lagos State Urban Forest and Animal Shelter Initiative (LUFASI), Desmond Majekodunmi, who is an author, script/song writer, documentary film maker, and an award-winning Nigerian environmentalist, will speak on the topic Making Our Futures: The Intersection of Culture and the Environment; notable art curator, photographer, poet and award-winning filmmaker, founder and director, SMO Contemporary Art, Sandra Mbanefo-Obiago, will talk on Waste to Wealth: The Growing Market for Recycled Art. Other presentations include ‘The Role of Education in Propelling Climate Change: Five Cowries Initiative, a Case Study’ by Chairman, Lagos State Council for Arts and Culture, Polly Alakija.

 

 

Highlight of the event will include Polly Alakija in Conversation with Lucy Latham, Policy and City Programme Lead, Julie’s Bicycle, UK; panel discussion on how research, data gathering and education can make a difference. The panelists include Head of Climate Change and Energy, West Africa, British High Commission Abuja, Sean Melbourne; Prof Oluwatoyin Adejonwo-Osho, Faculty of Law, University of Lagos; Dr. Andrew S. Nevin, Advisory Partner and Chief Economist, PwC West Africa. The panel will be moderated by Tunde Arogunmati, Principal Consultant, Toff Resources Nigeria Ltd.

 

 

There will also be a display by Five Cowries Arts Education Initiative on the evening.

“This event is proudly supported by Jackson, Etti & Edu, Ventures Platform, BusinessDay, Connect Nigeria, The Sole Adventurer, WildflowerPR, Outsource IT Services and Omenka.

Initiated by The Ben Enwonwu Foundation in collaboration with the Society of Nigerian Artists and supported by Alliance Française /Mike Adenuga Centre Lagos, ‘Point of View’(POV) is a monthly series of talks interrogating the evolving role of the visual arts in addressing major issues affecting Africa and the rest of the world.

 

Launched on September 17, 2019, POV draws from other creative disciplines and such diverse sectors as government, science and technology, to impact policy by raising awareness, advocating for change and inspiring action. It aims to further encourage support and funding for visual artists through public and private sector partnership while ensuring continuing artists’ professional development and empowerment.

The first edition of ‘Point of View’ titled ‘A Case for the Artist’s Resale Right in Nigeria’ advocated for visuals artists benefitting from secondary and downstream sales of their works, much like novelists and musicians. Indeed, their income pales in comparison to those other creatives, mainly because they do not earn significantly from the reproduction and communications rights provided to other creators under copyright law.

 

 

The artist’s resale right seeks to correct this anomaly by ensuring artists receive a small percentage of the re-sale price of a work. Although this right is recognised in the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works (Article 14ter), which sets minimum international copyright standards, it is optional, with only about 80 countries in adherence.

 

 

The second edition of ‘Point of View’ titled ‘Raising Capital Against High Value Works of Art’ was informed by mounting global interest on art from the continent and a steady growth of the collectors’ base within Africa and especially in Nigeria. It sought to encourage the growing recognition of Nigerian art as a new alternative asset class while providing a deeper understanding of the appraising of art holdings for liquidation, and of using art as collateral for lending transactions such as financing business expansions and investments or high-end purchases. It also aimed to support the development of art investment products, as well as the diversification of investment portfolios with the integration of art.

 

 

The third edition of Point of View, held November 22, 2019, and titled Museums, Tourism and Urban Development addressed key issues, trends and challenges in Nigeria’s culture tourism sector.

 

Leading architects shared their insights on the most innovative construction and design trends, using completed, on-going and upcoming projects as examples; museum specialists shed light on improving museum experiences, preservation and conservation activities, as well as the challenges they face while government authorities highlight investment opportunities and speak on museum development and destination marketing.

 

 

The Ben Enwonwu Foundation (BEF) was established in 2003 in honour of celebrated Nigerian artist, scholar, educator, art administrator and statesman, Professor Benedict Chukwukadibia Enwonwu MBE, NNOM (1917-94). Amongst many other accomplishments, Enwonwu was the first Nigerian artist to gain international recognition. Conferred in 1954 with the Member of the distinguished order of the British Empire, he remains the only Black artist to have been commissioned to sculpt Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II. In Nigeria, Enwonwu was also the first professor of art and first federal art adviser.

 

Widely acclaimed as Africa’s pioneer modernist artist and one of the greatest in the world, he is credited with laying the philosophical foundations of contemporary African art by fusing Western techniques and conventions with indigenous traditions and aesthetics – his over sixty-year career embracing a broad range of socio- political and economic movements, philosophies and themes including Pan Africanism, Negritude, identity, the body (the gaze), gender equality, spirituality and religion, peace and conflict resolution.

 

 

“The Foundation aims to sustain and build on his life’s work through a three-pronged approach to: promote, foster, explain, protect and give prestige to, in Nigeria and globally, his artistic, intellectual and political legacy by such acts as the publishing of a catalogue raisonne in volumes, of his total creative output, and the managing, defending and administering of the intangible rights derived from his work and person; maintain a diverse multi-disciplinary public programme of exhibitions, projects, workshops, talks and lectures that: explores in a research-minded way, Enwonwu’s oeuvre while increasing the visibility and appreciation of art from the African continent; and brings together professionals across such diverse sectors as the arts, government, science and technology, to advocate for change, proffer solutions and impact policy in addressing major issues affecting Africa and the rest of the world.

 

“On-going initiatives in this regard are the ‘Ben Enwonwu Distinguished Lecture Series’ and ‘Point of View’ (POV), held in partnership with Alliance Francaise Lagos/ Mike Adenuga Centre. Both foster public understanding of the relevance of the visual arts to socio-economic advancement. Begun in 2004, the series features national and international leaders, renowned thinkers and key policy makers as speakers. Launched in 2019 as a monthly interdisciplinary talks platform, ‘Point of View’, in addition, encourages artists’ professional development while canvasing for public- private funding for the visual arts.

 

 

“As part of its year-round educational programme, BEF’s scholarship scheme benefits second year students of the finest tertiary institutions in Nigeria. The   Foundation also supports publications and research exploring the cultural and social context of Enwonwu’s art. Located along with the Foundation in the artist’s home, which lends to its historical and cultural significance, leading gallery, Omenka, represents an exceptional selection of artists whose work in varying media resonates strongly with the African continent and her related diaspora.”

 

 

The Foundation also aims to promote cross-cultural ties and exchange between established and emerging artists, designers and curators, through international residencies that nurture new forms and ideas, build networks and provide mentoring opportunities and possibilities for collaborative projects.

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