New chapter opens in Nigeria art community

A new chapter was opened in the ever-vivacious compendium of Nigerian art lexicon as a new platform was introduced in a grand style to the arts community in Abuja. Christened 'Ferrum', the formidable initiative is the brainchild of Ugochukwu Ikpeazu, who flew in from Geneva, Switzerland, to see to the effective take-off of the platform.

Ferrum by Ugochukwu Ikpeazu

He was motivated by the richness of Africa as a continent, especially as exemplified by glaring evidence of human and natural resources. By its underlining handout, Ferrum is, therefore, established to become an international Art house and a formidable platform "to promote art and culture as avant-garde agents of development, pushing for progressive and objective change through social integration."

"In all that we have given," explained Ugochukwu Ikpeazu, founder of Ferrum, "I feel we have failed to export one of our defining pillars: our cultural heritage." He stated further, "Our voice has been drowned out by globalisation when it should have joined the choir, singing praise to human creativity."

The platform was publicly and officially launched by the Acting High Commissioner of the Republic of Sierra Leone, Rtd. General Claudus Nelson Williams. With this artistic ritual duly performed by a diplomat, Ferrum looks set to take off on a high note.

"An African Story", the theme of the commemorative exhibition designed to berth the Ferrum platform paraded bright flickers of young vibrant Nigerian artists whose quality not only dazzled the audience, but also rose to the occasion of standard, which Ferrum firmly represents. The show presented 20 outstanding works by 10 young vibrant Nigerian artists whose age bracket is capped at 35.

They included Stephen Osuchukwu (Market Agenda and Strength), Abigail Nnaji (Sisi and Tranquility), Balogun Waziri (Untitled and Untitled), Lucky Isaiah (Playmates and Commerce) and Millicent Osumuo (Sister I and Sisters II). Others were Suraj Adekola (Hustle & Bustle and The Call), Godwin Adesoye (First Born and Lady's World), Stella-nitta Cornelius (Entangled and Redemption I), Obiora Ekeanozie (Dali (Footprints of a Legend and The Way We Look) and Tyna Adebowale (Identity Series and Nontitled).

"An African Story", which appropriately ignited the evening to redefine the epoch-making event, showed pure class and freshness of creativity, which the young exhibiting artists possess in abundance. All the works, in their collective objectives, expressed Africanness, which the curator described revealing "our inner feelings -our pains and joys - arising from struggles and strives, economic activities, social interactions, political permutations, educational orientation and ambivalent cultural expressions."

One of the guests in attendance, who paid glowing tribute to creativity in Nigeria and also declared the exhibition open, Mr. K. Pedro, Deputy High Commissioner, South African High Commission, could not withhold his awe even as he commended the founder of Ferrum, Ugochukwu Ikpeazu for exploring the positive virtues of youthfulness while unleashing his dream to African art development.

Also, master artist and former President of the Guild of Professional Fine Artists of Nigeria, Edosa Ogiugo, who travelled from Lagos to witness the twin event in Abuja. He praised the quality of artists and their works, which he believed could "compete with outstanding works from any part of the globe". On Ferrum, he said, "I am delighted at the procreation of a platform for young African Artists. We do not have enough of this kind of platform that deliberately takes care of the interest of young artists, especially in Nigeria. I commend Ugochukwu for this initiative."

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