Art of honouring a culture patriarch

Posted: November 14, 2013 in arts/culture

olusola cbaacIt was encomiums and eulogies galore as the Centre for Black and African Arts and Culture (CBAAC) officially unveiled a resource library in honour of late Chief Segun Olusola, at its Broad Street, Lagos office in a ceremony accompanied same day by an equally befitting inaugural Public Lecture at the Freedom Park, Lagos.

Both events were organized by CBAAC for late Chief Olusola, veteran broadcaster, television producer, and diplomat, who passed on June 2012, aged 76.

The lecture and exhibition which drew an audience that cut across the various strata of the Nigerian society was lined up to honour Ambassador Olusola for his commitment to the arts, the culture sector as well as to issues of humanitarian, political, cultural and historical significance to Black and African peoples generally.

The events were also used to acknowledge and appreciate the significant contributions of Ambassador Olusola to regional, continental and global development through advocacy.

The resource library opened by CBAAC for late Chief Olusola, contains personal literary collections as well as artefacts and memorabilia of the departed former envoy, obtained with permission of the family, which had opted to deposit them at the resource library instead of the late culture icon’s arts gallery, the Ajibulu Moniya Gallery, in Surulere, Lagos.

Describing Olusola, therefore, as a man who not only made himself available at most programmes and events relating to the promotion of African arts and culture whenever he was invited, Prof Tunde Babawale, the Director General of CBAAC, said the departed culture icon was a leading connoisseur of artworks and artefacts, who ‘would be remembered as a tireless philanthropist and lover of humanity.’

“One is not surprised that he dedicated his entire life to the unapologetic promotion of African arts and culture and a relentless pursuit of the goal of peaceful co-existence among African people wherever they may be across the world,” the CBAAC chief remarked.

While therefore eulogizing late Olusola for his role in the advancement of African culture at global fora, Babawale explained that the decision of CBAAC to immortalize Olusola with a resource library containing the late patriarch’s personal materials as well as an annual Public Lecture, was borne out of the need to ‘encourage both young and old to bequeath worthy legacies to posterity.’

“We believe that by organizing events of this nature would make many of our compatriots know that those who lead by worthy examples will always be celebrated even in death. Today’s event is also informed by the need for those of us left behind to decide our epitaph before the inevitability of death and what we wish to be remembered for,” Babawale stressed.

Minister of Tourism, Culture and National Orientation, Chief Edem Duke, in his remarks read by Mr. Seyi Womiloju of the ministry, said Olusola would be remembered ‘as a diplomat who promoted the use of culture to facilitate and strengthen interaction among countries in Africa”, adding further that the late former envoy ‘used his versatility as Nigeria’s ambassador to Ethiopia and the Organization of African Unity (OAU) now African Union (AU) to deepen relationship between Nigeria and many African countries.”

In his theme paper titled: Leveraging on Indigenous African Culture and Artistic Creativity for Development: Legacies of Ambassador Segun Olusola, the renowned artist, art and culture intellectual, expert, and scholar Dr. Kunle Filani.Filani Kunle, maintains that it had become obligatory for African scholars who are familiar with the creative syntax and nuances of their culture, and equally capable of appropriating and synthesizing traditional values as a coherent system to employ interdisciplinary approach in the study of specific areas of culture and creativity.

This, according to Filani, will bring to the surface the sometimes hidden and shrouded inherent philosophical systems that are vague to the uninitiated as Africans’ seemingly ambivalent and binary philosophical constructs can be major windows through which future global developments are built.

Describing Olusola as a hero of African culture, Filani adds that former envoy possessed and elicited characteristics that are highly prized in indigenous tradition, such that ‘there is no better way to celebrate this true elder statesman than using his exemplary creativity and leadership to interrogate indigenous African arts and culture thereby suggesting strategies for national development.’

While the federal government as well as concerned individuals to move for socio-economic and political liberation from the shackles of imperialism and neo-colonialism, Filani said this however, ‘can only be done through cultural awareness of independent African countries and cultural integration of seemingly disparate states. For Africa to have a future, our present must creatively interrogate and engage the past.’

The event climaxed with the official commissioning of a week-long exhibition of some of Baba Olusola’s collection of art works and publications at the Centre’s Head office on Broad Street Lagos.

At the instance of the Olusola’s family, the Resource Library which houses some cultural property and publications belonging to the late patriarch of art and culture veteran was formally were handed over to CBAAC for better preservation and access to the public.

The event which was chaired by arts collector and businessman Chief Rasheed Gbadamosi, had in attendance newly-appointed Chairman of the CBAAC Governing Board, Senator Brimmo Yusuf, Mrs. Bene Uche, Cultural Affairs Officer, United States Consulate, Lagos; Mr. Kunle Ajibade, Executive Director, The News/PM News; Uncle and Mrs Jimi Olusola;

Others include: Chief Tutu Buraimoh, Chairman Equity Assurance; Mr Akin Opeodu, Vice-Chairman, Mutual Benefit Assurance; Mrs Eki Eboigbe, Chairman National Association of Nigerian Theatre Arts Practitioners (NANTAP) Lagos Chapter; Dr. Ademola Azeez, Federal College of Education (Technical), Akoka; Mr Alabi Dotun, Society of Nigerian Artists (SNA), and Remi Abiye, of the African Refugees Foundation (AREF), among others.

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