Lagos Book & Art Festival 2023 promises a spectacle of visual arts

The Lagos Book & Art Festival (LABAF) is set to captivate art enthusiasts with an unprecedented visual arts extravaganza as the fiesta celebrates its 25th anniversary. Running from November 13 to 19, the festival will feature six exhibition projects, marking one of the most significant showcases since its inception in September 1999.

Diverse in its offerings, LABAF 2023 will present a vibrant tapestry of art disciplines, including ceramics, paintings, installations, cartoons and performance arts. The festival, which originally emerged to herald Nigeria’s return to democratic governance, has evolved into a paramount cultural event.

On Tuesday, November 14, five of the exhibitions will open their doors to art aficionados, while the sixth is scheduled for the following day, Wednesday, November 15. Notably, November 14 will also see a Plenary session titled “Visual Arts Dialogue,” exploring the dynamic relationship between artists, collectors and patrons. The dialogue aims to showcase the significance of documenting an artwork’s journey once it leaves the artist’s studio, highlighting the importance of proper tracking.

This session will be chaired by Dr. Newton Jibunoh, a renowned art collector and founder of the DIDI Museum, and will feature a keynote address by Dr. Kolade Osinowo, a distinguished painter and former Director of the School of Art, Design, and Printing at Yaba College of Technology.

The six exhibition projects promise a diverse and immersive experience:

  1. Conceptual: “Timeless Memories: Elastic Effects 2023” will pay tribute to Wole Soyinka with an experimental exhibition based on his book “The Man Died.” It features prison cell installations and symbolic representations that vividly depict the challenges faced during confinement.
  2. Installation: “BOARDING” by The Junkman of Africa, Dili Humphrey Onuzulike, explores human conditions through a mix of historical and philosophical themes.
  3. Ceramics: “NOTICE, We are here?” showcases the work of ceramic artists, projecting the current trajectory of ceramic craft and raising awareness of their craft.
  4. Cartoons: “DRAWING ATTENTION” presents editorial cartoons by the Cartoonists Association of Nigeria, offering commentaries on Nigeria’s political trajectory.
  5. Performance Art: “I AM A FISH FROM THE SEA” by Jelili Olorunfunmi Atiku engages audiences in collective reflection on political leaders’ philosophies, policies, and actions.
  6. Performance: “MAAMI DEY CHOP AKARA” by Olufela Omokeko utilizes Ben Okri’s literary work and the symbolism of “Akara” (bean cake) to create a sensory journey through taste and smell.

LABAF 2023’s overarching theme is “THE RESET: History and the Darkling Plain,” designed to reflect on critical points in Nigeria’s history and plot a progressive direction for its future through various art forms. The festival’s commitment to education, enlightenment, and empowerment underscores its dedication to the knowledge economy.

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