EKET-BORN OXFORD/PARIS ARTIST SHINES AT ART EXHIBITION
Last Thursday, 23rd January 2019, the Alliance Francaise De Lagos/Mike Adenuga Centre opened her doors for a film screening and art installation exhibition of an Eket-born Oxford / Paris based interdisciplinary artist, practise-led researcher and film maker Wilfred Ukpong.
The exhibition titled “Niger Delta Future Cosmos” conceived and developed by the Akwa Ibom son, is fully inscribed within the context of the Niger-Delta and specifically in oil-producing communities, saw hundreds of talented youths participating in creative workshops that focused on utilizing art and film making as tools for empowerment, development and change in the society.
The avant-guard art installation and film screening which started from the 11th to 26th January, was the high point of Mr Ukpong’s long term project that was conceived and developed in the Niger Delta between 2010 and 2017, featured an installation of mixed-media photography, a large-scale sculpture, and screening of extended version of his award winning short-film: “Future-World” which won an Excellent Golden Award in 2018 under the category of “Eco-Tourism” – first ever to be won by a Nigerian at the Golden City Gate film festival during the international tourismus Norse (ITB) in Berlin.
The project which commenced in Lagos will move to important venues in Europe and North America and will be pivotal during the Fotofest Houston Biennial 2020 taken place in March this year.
On hand at the Lagos event, to support one of Akwa Ibom finest award winning artist, was Mr. Udom Inoyo – a core supporter and founding patron of Ukpong’s works. Mr. Inoyo used the occasion to commend Ukpong for his his role in the creative industry and and engaged him on the imperative of utilizing art and creativity to engender youth empowerment, job creation and financial stability especially in his own state, Akwa Ibom and by geographical extension, the Niger-Delta.
Responding to the challenge, Ukpong explained that the art exhibition and film project advanced to create conversion on pivotal socio-economic, cultural and environmental issues peculiar to the Niger-Delta region, that proceeds generated from sales of the artworks, commission and film screening will be used to fund the ongoing construction of his community-based state-of-the-art International Art and Creative Academy situated in Eket, his home town, urging government and stakeholders to be supportive and committed to changing the narrative of the Niger-Delta.
To everyone who graced the event organized by the Alliance Francaise De Lagos/Mike Adenuga centre, Wilfred Ukpong has not only done well for himself, he has made Akwa Ibom people proud and by extension, Nigeria.