Works of art of over 200 artists from Nigeria and the Diaspora are on display at the Oreze International Arts Exhibition at Onitsha Ime Obi, the palace of the Obi of Onitsha, Igwe Nnaemeka Achebe.
The Oreze arts exhibition is now an important aspect of the Globacom-sponsored Ofala Festival of Onitsha Kingdom following its introduction in 2013. The digital transformation leader has been the major corporate sponsor of Ofala festival since 2011.
Obi Achebe who initiated the exhibition said at the commencement of the event on Wednesday that it was intended to showcase the African culture to the rest of the world. “Our aim for introducing Oreze International Arts Exhibition is to bring the world to Onitsha and take Onitsha to the world through visual arts”, he stated.
“Modern day visual arts started from Onitsha. The essence of Oreze is to preserve our culture through visual arts and continue what our forefathers did”, the traditional ruler explained.
Professor Frank Ugiomo, a lecturer at the Department of Arts, University of Port Harcourt, who was the Special Guest of Honour, said he was fascinated by the profile of the exhibitors, describing the collection as “a mark of distinction”.
“The work of art constitutes the remnant of self. Interacting with the work of art is interacting with oneself. The work of art should speak to us as a people and as such, the essence of this exhibition is for us not to lose our being. I must therefore praise the Agbogidi, the organisers of the Oreze International Arts Exhibition, and the sponsors,Globacom,for consistently using this forum to remind us of who we are”, he added.
Professor Ugiomo called on visual arts enthusiasts and collectors who would be visiting the exhibition galleries to “take in the essence of the exhibition which goes beyond the pictorial to become a reminder of who we are as a people and a race”.
Welcoming guests earlier, Globacom’s Regional Activation Manager, South East 2, Mr. Noel Udeme, said that the company opted to support the exhibition as part of the Ofala celebration when it was introduced seven years ago because of its capacity to help project African culture.
“Globacom has been supporting the Oreze International Arts Exhibition since 2013 when it was first introduced because we believe that only Africans can promote African cultures. We will continue to support our cultural heritage so that generations to come will find reason to be proud of being Black and value our cultures, world view and heritage”, he stated.
Mr Udeme disclosed that the company would empower Onitsha people with new tricycles, popularly known as keke, and LED television sets at Azu Ofala on Saturday.
Guests at the opening day of the exhibition included Professor Chijioke Onuorah, a sculptor from University of Nigeria, Nsukka; Mr. Onyi Atuoma, president, Onitsha Indigenous Artists; Mr. George Edozie, the curator of the exhibition, and palace chiefs. The exhibition will end on October 13.