Last Thursday was a memorable day for four emerging Nigerian artists as they won a million naira each.
These are the finalists in the ReCyclArt competition organised by Sterling Bank Pls, which says it is using the project to empower young artists and emerging talents to use recycled and discarded waste materials as means for art in public spaces.
The finalists are Ifedilichukwu Chibuike, from the Abuja Zone; Samson Ogundeji, Ogun Zone; Udeh Charles, Rivers Zone and Dudu Emmanuel, Lagos. Their works are titled Devolution of Power, Egungun, Soiled Soil and Undressed Identity, respectively.
The competition was judged by seasoned artists, Olu Amoda, Ndidi Dike and Rom Isichei.
At a grand finale programme held at the British Council, Lagos, the winners were presented with cheques while Emmanuel, who was not present, was reached on the phone by the organisers. He expressed excitement when he was told that he was one of the finalists.
One of the winners, Mr. Ifedilichukwu Chibuike, who hailed from Enugu State said, “This is the first time I am winning an award for my art work. I am happy and overwhelmed. My name as an artist is being defined today by the award.”
According to him, he will use part of the money to scale up the winning art work, open a studio and a gallery and be involved in the production of more works.
He also promised to promote fine art in secondary schools.
The Chief Marketing Officer of Sterling Bank, Mr. Henry Bassey, said ReCyclArt was initiated by the bank to inspire a new generation of Nigerian artists and the art genre.
“It is about using the power of the arts to awaken the citizenry to the need for a change of attitude in how they relate to the environment and rethink how items that should be recycled can be disposed in a creative manner,” Bassey said.
He said the responses to calls for entries through social media, newspapers and television were remarkable with about 630 entries received across the country, adding that the judges shortlisted 16 finalists from the 630 entries received on transforming old and reusable objects into amazing pieces of contemporary art for public spaces.
The top 16 finalists created miniatures versions of their proposed works, which were submitted for exhibition during the recently held African Culture and Design event, adding that the savvy audience and the panel of judges appraised these works.
The chief marketing officer said each of the four winners would have a solo installation/exhibition in his community park or space within his geographical zone, courtesy of the bank.
“Their eco-friendly art forms will advocate the cause of the environment by inspiring the masses to reuse and repurpose waste which will in turn reduce our environmental challenges,” Bassey said.
He commended the judges who looked for ingenuity and ability to create original art from repurposed materials.