With Visual Reality, Julius Agbaje wins Afriuture painting contest


To promote the potential of online arts, as well as encourage up-and-coming artists in the country, the Ramati Art Africa (RAF) recently organised a painting competition titled, Afriuture.

The competition, which attracted young and vibrant artists below the age of 30, held at the Omenka Gallery, Lagos. It had as theme, African Utopia.

Afriuture, coined from the fusion of Africa and future, is aimed at shaping artists perceptions about an ideal African society, by making contestants to depict an African utopia from their own perspectives.

Having successfully told the story of his one-year National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) experience through his painting, Visual Reality, Julius Agbaje, a 26-year-old 2018 Batch B Corps, member smiled home with the grand prize. He won the $2,500. Emmanuel Eweje and Ifeanyi Nwoke who took the second and third positions respectively closely followed him.

With over 25 entries, the contest had eight finalists assessed by a panel of eminent and renowned art personalities including, Nike Okundaye, Oliver Enwonwu, Abiodun Olaku and Fred Adenekan.

Agbaje, who was highly elated at his victory, said he had always wanted to impact lives through his work of art, as this was an opportunity to achieve his dreams.

Appreciating the organisers, he noted that the competition was a good platform for young artist to sell their worth to the world.

To him, the painting is a personal narrative, because art is not just a passion, but a way of life.

“This is my life and world, that’s what I do, I feel the NYSC is a threshold between having someone to cater for you and the reality, so, I tried to tell my future expectations through the painting. I used metaphor to send my message across, the briefcase is for future job, the traffic sign represents safer roads, the dumbbell is for good health and fitness, fire extinguisher is for life insurance, while the ring is for wedding, as well as other things we aspire to get after service year.”

With the cash award, Agbaje said he would invest in his career, have a solo exhibition and try to help nurture and grow other upcoming artists.

Director, Young Graduate for Museums and Gallery, British Museum, London, Mr. Matthew Gansallo, who was impressed by the performance of the young artists, said that works of arts should be appraised through the in-depth message they convey to the viewers and not the physical beauty.

Speaking after presentation of cheque to the winner, founder, Ramati Art Africa (RAF), Mr. Shogo Adaramati, expressed joy at the success of the event, saying the competition will further encourage more upcoming artists to remain focused in their chosen career.

“Our main goal at RAF is to establish a strong link between the world and the contemporary art scene in Africa, which will make Nigeria to become the capital of art in the world, while projecting unity and advancement.

“I am happy with the outcome; I rejoice with the winner and hope this will encourage more artists out there to remain hard working and focused,” he said.

He assured that all contestants have been incorporated into RAF and would be given continuous mentorship and nurturing to help them grow to better artists.

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