June 14, 2024

A true artsman hits diamond

  • April 26, 2024
  • 3 min read
A true artsman hits diamond

By Mufu Onifade

THIS is huge and I think we need to hit the streets with fanfare and celebration galore. My friend and brother of over 40 years clocks 60 today!
Super milestone!

Many call him Babane, his most famous nickname. Amb. Muyiwa Oshinaike. He is a dancer, choreographer, theatre director, playwright, master of calisthenics, event planner/manager and more. He enjoys massive choreography. This means he’s always on top of his game anytime he is saddled with the responsibilities of choreographing thousands of artistes!
Super Art Man!

A couple of times, exhilarating jobs have brought us together. We’ve worked together in Lagos, Abuja and other parts of Nigeria. None of those sporting and cultural games in Nigeria – either by state or federal government – has ever taken place without his active participation and contributions.
Super contributions!

Have you ever heard of the now famous Artistes Village situated on the compound of the National Council for Arts and Culture – at the National Theatre Annex? Babane is one of the early artistes who gave vent to the place and even christened it as Artistes Village.
Super thinking!

Sometime in 1995, Makinde Adeniran, a young theatre director, moved to Ile-Ife to direct Wole Soyinka’s Death and the King’s Horsemen. Makinde needed to use dance to unfold most of those lengthy, hard lines written by Soyinka. The only choreographer that could handle that masterfully at the time was Babane. He did a yeoman’s job and changed the face of the famous play forever.
Super choreographer!

Images (60)

Muyiwa Oshinaike

In 2014 while I was battling the family of the late Prof. Ola Rotimi in my quest to translate his play, Kurunmi to Yoruba, Babane did his own research and wrote his own version of the same story, directed and rehearsed it with seasoned actors and got it performed, courtesy of the Oodua People’s Congress (OPC).
Super creative spirit!

In 1999, this guy single-handedly organized and coordinated a festival of the arts, the biggest in Nigeria after FESTAC 77. At the initial stage, it was dubbed Segun Olusola Arts Festival, but some bureaucratic fireworks exploded and burnt off the title. However, the ever result-oriented cultural polyglot rechristened it Unity Festival. The massive event was held at the National Theatre with participation from states across Nigeria and many other African countries. Dance, drumming, acrobatic display, literature, visual arts, music, African tonal poetry, and more; they were all staged to the delight of the mammoth crowd. In fact, the arts writers (arts journalists) described the festival as Mini Festac. It was far bigger than the recently organized Festival of Unity by the National Theatre. Their own festival (which borrowed and twisted its name from that of Babane) has been held consecutively for two or three years, but if they were all joined together, they’d remain a far cry from the magic that Babane showcased to the world to see.
Super organiser!

I can write a whole book on this ever-lively and creatively restless friend of mine, but due to problem of space, I will pause here.
Time to pause!

I invite you, my friends and associates, to please celebrate my award-winning friend and brother on this pedestal of his Diamond Jubilee.

Happy birthday to Ambassador Muyiwa Osinaike (Babane), a true man of the Arts!

* Onifade, a foremost visual artist and originator of the art movement, Araism (wonder), wrote in from Lagos

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