When UNILAG Honoured Art Administrators, Academics, Journalists, Patrons, Writers


Former editor of The Guardian on Sunday, Mr. Jahman Anikulapo (right) receiving his award from Dr. Peju Layiwola at the event while Mr. Tunji Sotimirin looks on

FORTY years of cultural tutelage at University of Lagos, Akoka was recently celebrated by the institution’s Department of Creative Arts.

Honours and awards were given to culture administrators and others within and outside the academia who contributed to the emergence of the department in the past four decades.

It started as Centre for Cultural Studies, and years later, precisely in 1997, metamorphosed into Department of Creative Arts, and focuses on the teaching of Theatre, Music and Fine Arts.

Tagged Homecoming, the ceremony marked a grand celebration of the department’s new facility as well as ending the tenure of the Ag.

Head of Department, Dr. Peju Layiwola. In her remarks, Layiwola said, “This event would bring together all those who have worked so hard to create the foundation on which the department was built.

It is also an occasion for us to recall institutional memory and in many ways thank those who have invested time and resources in shaping minds and people since 1975.”

The award categories included valuable contribution, excellence, press active support and long service and dedication to duty. The valuable contributors included Professors E.J. Alagoa, Laz Ekwueme, Akin Euba, Abayomi Barber, dele jegede, Sherifdeen Adetoro, A.V.E Mereni, late Bode Osanyin, Ebun Clark and Duro Oni.

Adetoro who taught at three universities in the country and retired in 2004, was a vital contributor to the growth of the centre.

He noted, “This is the first university that has given me this award in appreciation and recognition of my effort. I did a lot in moving it from the scratch to a state of recognition”.   Ekwueme, a Musicology, who founded the department of music in 1974, said he was taken aback with the award, as he was not informed earlier.

Ekwueme also called on the government to fund a university for the arts to bring further development to the country. He said, “Most of these schools are not well funded; we can have the best schools, best facilities and teachers”.

Ekwueme was also impressed by some of the musical performances, which according to him, reflected the society.   In the media category of the awards, recipients included former Editor at The Guardian on Sunday, Mr. Jahman Anikulapo, producer of Arts and Leisure on TV, Ms Chioma Okpara; Assistant Editor (Arts), The Nation, Mr. Ozolua Uhakheme, arts writer at The Guardian, Mr. Tajudeen Sowole, and TV Continental’s presenter, Mr. Tolu Lamidi.

The awardees in the Excellence Category were Chief Yemisi Shyllon, General Overseer of Mountain of Fire and Miracles Ministries, Dr. Daniel Kolawole Olukoya who was represented by Dean Faculty of Law, Olabisi Onibanjo University, Prof. Olusesan Oliyide.

The series of events included an art exhibition curated by Mr. Bolaji Ogunwo that showcased some of the finest visual arts creations by lecturers and students.

Ogunwo said the misconception about art, especially visual arts, needed to be corrected. According to him, “Art has become very lucrative; there is prospect for those who want to do fine art” and also noted the importance of school but said consistent practice was key to success in the profession.

On art appreciation in the country, Ogunwo said people were beginning to appreciate art in Nigeria, adding, “For example, there is no Guaranty Trust Bank you go to without seeing a piece of art, it is now part of today’s interior decoration.

He stressed that visual art was evolving gradually, and noted that in most art schools there were more painters than the other areas of art, as well as the galleries because of the rising demand for painting. “They are something one can just hang on the wall easily; they are colourful and affordable.

Producing a paint work is not time consuming, but not withstanding, every area of art has its area of attraction”. Ogunwo further advised young artists to follow their dreams in art practice, saying, “You don’t decide who you are but discover who you are”.

He also shared the story of how painting took him abroad in an all expense trip, “I have been to places where I never thought I could be but because of painting”.

He further advised parents to encourage their children to realise their dreams and passion and not encumber them with considerations other than their passion.

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