Soyinka @ 90: A tribute to African identity

The rich cultural heritage of Africa takes centre stage as Professor Wole Soyinka’s 90th birthday provides an opportunity to launch a groundbreaking creative exhibition, “African I-D-E-N-T-I-T-Y (AI).”

This visionary project, curated under the Vision of the Child (VoTC) umbrella, marks a milestone in promoting creativity, education, and social transformation across the continent.

“Africa I.D.E.N.T.I.T.Y” is conceived to celebrate the 15th edition of the annual Wole Soyinka International Cultural Exchange (WSICE) and mark the 90th birthday anniversary of Soyinka (WS90), recognizing him as a global cultural icon and humanist.

Foluke Michael, the Cofounder of VoTC and Project Director of WS90/WSICE 15th edition, stated that the African I-D-E-N-T-I-T-Y initiative is inspired by the themes of the 2013 and 2014 editions of VoTC: “Good Governance and Democracy in Nigeria” and “One Thousand and One Faces of Corruption.”

With a focus on promoting good governance and democracy amidst the challenges of corruption, AI encapsulates the essence of Africa through the principles of Diversity, Economic Development, Nationhood, Trade, Innovation, Talent, and Youthfulness. Through a captivating fusion of art, literature, music, fashion, and food, “African I-D-E-N-T-I-T-Y” aims to redefine Africa’s narrative, showcasing its resilience and progress.

The project originated in Florence, Italy, in 2002, culminating in a grand exhibition in London. This immersive experience invites audiences on a transformative journey through Africa’s cultural labyrinth, from the vibrant streets of Lagos to the artistic hubs of Europe.

Nine award-winning VoTC alumni, under the mentorship of renowned artists Tola Wewe, Nike Okundaye, and Segun Almaroof, will lead the project, infusing their unique perspectives and talents into each masterpiece. With guidance from Prof. Soyinka and cultural advocate Jahman Anikulapo, these participants will create works that reflect Africa’s cultural richness and culture of integrity while addressing critical narratives of diversity, economic development, innovation, and youthfulness.

A live painting event will be held in Florence from June 7 to 11 and in Lagos in July 2024, showcasing the dynamic creativity of African artists. Dr. Teju Kareem, Executive Producer of WSICE, stated that the WSICE 15th edition and WS90 celebration will also feature a unique “Harmony and Verses: A Life in Full” event at the Africa Centre in London, scheduled from July 19 to 29. This event promises 10 days of inspiration and reflection, celebrating Prof. Soyinka’s enduring legacy and contributions to African culture and society.

Beyond celebrating Prof. Soyinka’s birthday, “African I-D-E-N-T-I-T-Y” aims to launch a virtual exhibition and Solution17 Creative Academy. These initiatives are dedicated to nurturing exceptional talents and creativity towards Africa’s growth, development, and prosperity.

The celebration of Wole Soyinka’s 90th birthday is not just a commemoration of his life but a testament to his impact on African identity and integrity. As Africa continues to navigate its path in the global arena, the principles of diversity, economic development, and innovation promoted through AI will serve as a beacon for future generations.

For more information, please contact Foluke Michael at or +234 8096108715. More details can be found on their website:

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