Maiden Edo International Book and Art Festival brings artists to Benin City

An array of local and international guest writers and artists will light up the maiden Edo International Book and Art Festival (EdIBAF2023) scheduled for Wednesday April 26, 2023 in the ancient city of Benin. 

Victor Ehikhamenor

According to a statement by the organisers, the venue is the Sir Victor Uwaifo Creative Hub, Airport Road, Benin City, Edo State.

An integral part of the Education Week, a brainchild of the Edo State Ministry of Education in collaboration with Grace Foundation for Education and Development, this year, the festival has as theme “Every Child A Reading Champion” and will feature Edo-born Nigerian writers and artists such as award-winning writer and filmmaker, Jude Idada, Victor Ehikhamenor, Olu Ajayi, Anisa Daniel-Oniko, Dr Eghosa Imasuen, among others. Foremost journalist and culture communicator, Mr. Jahman Anikulapo, and foreign artists like South Africa’s Lebo Mashile and Ghanaian Nana Asaase will make up the exciting line-up of artists who will mentor the children and young adults alike on how creativity is a handmaiden of education.

Lebo Mashile

Idada, for instance, will tap into his illustrious career as a multidisciplinary artist whose oeuvre traverses plawrighting, poetry, children’s literature, film-making, etc, to inspire the young ones in their aim for greater heights in all fields of human endeavour. As a special festival guest, he is expected to participate in a panel discussion titled “The Place of Creative Art in Quality Education.” The panel will seek to answer questions such as: ’where is the point of convergence between creative art and education?’, ’could someone be creative and not be brilliant academically?’, ’how often should teachers incorporate the teaching of creative subjects in school curriculum?’ ’Which is superior— intelligence or creative imagination?’, ’how may the two terms be explored for equilibrium impact on educational wellbeing?’ 

The versatile South African spoken word artist, Mashile, will be given priority to explore the booming spoken word genre in the poetry slam segment. Mashile and two other artists will be on the jury in the poetry slam tagged “I am a Reading Champion”. Open to young adults aged 15 – 25; it attracts handsome prize money, slated for April 26, 2023 at 4:00pm.

A statement from the Commissioner for Education, Government of Edo State, Nigeria, Dr Joan Osa Oviawe, said the programme is a demonstration of her government’s commitment to a holistic education agenda through various programmes, initiatives, reforms, and partnerships with private sector and international organisations. “It is in view of this that the Ministry of Education has put together an Education Week scheduled to hold from Wednesday 26th April through to Sunday the 30th, 2023”,the commissioner said.

Festival Director, Samuel Osaze, expressed optimism that the maiden edition of EdIBAF 2023 will be one to look forward to and enjoined everyone to turn up and enjoy it. According to the poet and experienced festival curator, “Edo State is home to one of the greatest empires in the world endowed with both ancient art, prodigious human talents and material resources to showcase to the world through an international book and art festival, a void that EdIBAF has come to fill. “


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