June 14, 2024

Wole Soyinka @90: Shaping African Identity through integrity

  • May 18, 2024
  • 3 min read
Wole Soyinka @90: Shaping African Identity through integrity

By Editor

AFRICA’S rich cultural heritage takes centre-stage as Professor Wole Soyinka’s 90th birthday provides an opportunity to launch a groundbreaking creative exhibition titled ‘African I.D.E.N.T.I.T.Y (AI)’. This visionary project, curated under the Vision of the Child (VoTC) umbrella, marks a milestone in promoting creativity, education, and social transformation across the continent. Africa I.D.E.N.T.I.T.Y is among the projects conceived to celebrate the 15th edition of the annual Wole Soyinka International Cultural Exchange (WSICE) and as well mark his 90th birthday anniversary celebration (WS90) as a global cultural icon and humanist.

The Co-founder of VoTC and Project Director of WS90/WSICE 15th edition, Foluke Michael, stated that African I.D.E.N.T.I.T.Y (AI) initiative is conceived from the themes of the 2013 and 2014 editions of VoTC: ‘Good Governance and Democracy in Nigeria’ and ‘One Thousand and One Faces of Corruption’. With a focus on promoting good governance and democracy amidst the challenges of corruption, AI encapsulates the essence of Africa through the principles of Diversity, Economic Development, Nationhood, Trade, Innovation, Talent and Youthfulness. Through a captivating fusion of art, literature, music, fashion, and food, ‘African I.D.E.N.T.I.T.Y’ aims to redefine Africa’s narrative, showcasing its resilience and progress.

From the vibrant streets of Lagos to the artistic city of Florence, Italy, where the project originated in 2002 and culminated in a grand exhibition in London, this immersive experience invites audiences on a transformative journey through Africa’s cultural labyrinth.

Nine award-winning VoTC alumni, under the mentorship of renowned artists Tola Wewe, Nike Okundaye, and Segun Almaroof will lead the project, infusing their unique perspectives and talents into each masterpiece. With guidance from Prof. Soyinka, assisted by cultural advocate Jahman Anikulapo, these participants will create masterpieces that reflect Africa’s cultural richness and the culture of integrity while addressing critical narratives of diversity, economic development, innovation, and youthfulness. The live painting event will be held in Florence, Italy, from June 7 to 11 and in Lagos in July 2024.

The Executive Producer of the WSICE, Dr. Teju Kareem, stated that the WSICE 15th edition and WS90 celebration will also feature a unique ‘Harmony and Verses: A Life in Full’ event at the Africa Centre in London, scheduled from July 19 to 29. This event promises 10 days of inspiration and reflection, celebrating Prof. Soyinka’s enduring legacy and contributions to African culture and society.

Beyond celebrating Prof. Soyinka’s birthday, ‘African I.D.E.N.T.I.T.Y’ aims to launch a virtual exhibition and ‘Solution 17 Creative Academy’ that nurtures exceptional talents and creativity towards Africa’s growth, development, and prosperity.

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