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Erasmus Onyishi Wins 7th National Art Competition

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Lines, Patches and Pathos, a work that explores the irony between facts and representation to address how refuse such as plastic waste is often used to create works of art that adorn , was adjudged the overall winner of this year’s National Art Competition held at the Civic Centre on Wednesday, November 26, 2014. The masterpiece was created by Erasmus Onyishi, a sculptor who specializes in drawing attention to resuscitating waste materials from the environment.

Twelve finalists had gone through a rigorous selection process and a workshop to qualify to exhibit at the finals, themed “Interventions” – examining how contemporary art serves as a catalyst for a positive and cultural framework for society. Lines, Patches and Pathos, is an incentive oriented project which involves active participation by the people of Lafia, Nasarawa State, to address plastic waste which exists there in abundance, causing visual noise, environmental pollution and its associated health menace. Just like the irony of ‘harmful’ beauty in the images of diseases viewed from the microscope, the work explores the beauty of this potential killer. Onyishi’s work is anchored on using the creative process as a viable means of achieving sustainable social re-engineering.
The piece raised poignant statements on using continual creative contingencies to harness waste that is continually churned out to the environment and thus earned the affirmation of the judges to guarantee Onyishi’s place as the winner of the 7th National Art Competition.

In a remark at the event, the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Nigerian Breweries, Mr. Nicolaas Vervelde said the sponsorship of the National Art Competition is part of a broad spectrum of initiatives geared towards the company’s vision of winning with Nigeria. This, he said can be observed through the company’s support for education, water, health and youth empowerment across the country. Mr. Vervelde also said that Nigerian Breweries is delighted to have been the sponsors of the competition over the last seven years. He commended the African Artists’ Foundation for the energy, commitment and professionalism they have shown in organizing the competition. He also thanked the judges led by Professor El Anatsui for their hard work.

This year, over 120 entries were received out of which twelve finalists were chosen to take part in an artist retreat, where workshops by leading arts professionals allowed finalists the opportunity to make out the conceptual threads of their proposals. The finalists were then given stipends for the production of their projects which culminated in the exhibition and judging ceremony.

Erasmus Onyishi clinched first place with a cash reward of N2miilion followed closely by Paul Mbah who won N1million for the Most Outstanding Production while Modupe Fadugba emerged third with the Most Outstanding Concept to walk home with N1million.

Nigerian Breweries has sponsored the organisation of the National Art Competition by the African Artists’ Foundation for seven consecutive years. This is part of an effort to encourage and promote the development of creativity, arts and artists in Nigeria.

December 2nd, 2014

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