July 14, 2024

BABA AGBA: Weeklong send-forth for the ‘Art Oracle’ Solanke starts April 1

  • March 30, 2024
  • 4 min read
BABA AGBA: Weeklong send-forth for the ‘Art Oracle’ Solanke starts April 1

* Jimi Solanke’s ‘Last Dance’ at Freedom Park, April 1

By Editor

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THE final journeys of the multi-faceted artiste and art legend, Jimi Solanke, aka ‘Baba Agba’, begins April 1 with a cross-city tribute session, as designed by the funeral rites committee headed by the theatre academic and media entrepreneur, Dr. Yemi Ogunbiyi. Coincidentally, Easter Monday, the tribute session will open at 12 noon with a Choral Concert at the Methodist Church of Nigeria in his hometown, Ipara-Remo in Ogun State. It is solely conceived by his younger associate and project partner, Sir Semoore Badejo, who had staged a similar event two years ago on the occasion of Solanke’s 80th birthday anniversary.

Just as that is wrapping up at 3pm in Ogun State, Freedom Park in Lagos will be open to guests to a much more elaborate and multi-podal event which would reflect on virtually all the areas of creative production and expression in which the super performer manifested his prodigious talents and skills – drama, music, dance, visual arts, folklore and storytelling. Tagged ‘Baba Agba: Last Dance at the Freedom Park’, the organising team, led by Theo Lawson, the architect/CEO of the park, is to give a taste of everything that was Jimi Solanke.

A statement by the Freedom Park organising team, said: “Jimi Solanke, popularly known as Baba Agba, was a prolific artist in many disciplines; he was a musician, an actor, a dancer, playwright, story-teller and a visual artist rolled into one. His career carried him from Lagos to Ibadan, to Ife, Benin, United Kingdom and the United States of America. His voluptuous portfolio and resourceful resume will remain indelible in the hearts of his huge fan base, associates, mentees and admirers cutting across age, creed and nationalities.

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Last Dance’ for ‘BABA AGBA,’ Jimi Solanke at Freedom Park

“Freedom Park has been privileged to host him as an artist, friend and mentor over the last twelve years and it was a home away from home for Baba Agba. For this reason, Freedom Park has been designated by the Jimi Solanke burial committee to host a night of celebration and tributes in his honour.”

And while this is in progress, a third event will open in Ile Ife, Osun State, which was for many years Solanke’s professional base. This would be a “Candle Light Processions” featuring many of his former comrades and colleagues at the Institute of African Studies at the then University of Ife, where he was also a lecturer at some point in his resourceful career. There will also be a reception at his Ibudo Asa, the legacy house of culture, a passion project which he launched in the course of his 80th birthday anniversary, and on which he was still working when he transited to higher service on February 5.

The funeral rites continue on Tuesday, April 2 with a ‘Commendation Service’, starting at 10:00am at Methodist Church in Ile Ife, Osun State. This will be followed by a session of tributes from 12:00noon to 4:00pm at Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife. Wednesday, April 3 will feature another session of ‘Tributes and Performances’ at the Wole Soyinka Theatre, University of Ibadan, and will hold from 12:00noon though 3:00pm. The Service of Songs holds at 5:00pm – 7:00pm same Wednesday, April 3 by Men’s Fellowship at his Ibudo Asa, Ipara-Remo.

On Thursday, April 4, a ‘Christian Wake Keep’ will hold at Ibudo Asa from 5:00pm -7:00pm, followed by ‘Musical Performances and Entertainment.’ And on Friday, April 5, the last phase of the final journey takes off 8:00am-9:00am with the Lying-in-State at his Ibudo Asa in Ipara Remo. The funeral service will hold thereafter at the Palace Grounds, by Methodist Church of Nigeria from 10:00am. It will followed by private interment (for ten family only), and followed by a reception for guests at the United Primary School Playing Ground.

‘Cultural and Masquerade Displays by Asunmo & Others’ will be staged on Saturday, April 6, followed by musical and cultural tributes by various artistes. Next will be ‘Guilder Nite’ at his Ibudo Asa residence. This is a recognition for his preferred drink – ‘Hot Guilder’, as he was wont to say in his life time when in jolly mood. The week-long rites end on Sunday, April 7 with a ‘Thanksgiving Service’ at the Methodist Church, Ipara Remo.

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