By David Oladimeji
The Yaba Art Museum owned by Yaba College of Technology (YabaTech), has opened an exhibition tagged “Living Blue, an Archive Retrospective”, to assist researchers who are conducting projects.
Dr Odun Orimolade, Curator of the Museum which is located within YabaTech, said that the exhibition was centred around Mrs Nike Okundaye, Nigeria’s Batik and Adire Designer, as she turned 70.
He also said the exhibition was also to recognise Okundaye’s indelible contributions to the school and art programmes.
The exhibition, which was supported by Ford Foundation, took place at the School of Art and Design, YabaTech, Lagos.
Orimolade said: “What we have here in this exhibition is not just art work, it’s a process. We have memorabilia, history and documents that we could get out of artistic space, running for two months.
“We had to bring mama Okundaye in this space of the museum because she has been very and significantly supportive. She just turned 70, so it is a mark of recognition for her good works.
“She has championed youth development and gender equality programmes. She even runs a like a safe home system where she help others stand on their feet.”
According to Orimolade, those are part of the reasons she remains central to the exhibition which will be open all through to August 2021.
“It is an open advantage for researchers. The exhibition involves a lot. Researches especially will benefit from it.
“We have quite a collection – books, digitals, images, art objects and others,” he said.
Meanwhile, Mr Obafemi Omokungbe, the Rector of YabaTech, in his remarks said that the management of the institution commended mama Okundaye’s contributions to the college and the world of arts.
Omokungbe noted that it was with the support of the Ford Foundation that the exhibition became a reality.
“The foundation gave the college a whopping sum of 200,000 dollars for the execution of the project”.
He also noted that the beautiful works displayed at the exhibition were made possible through the support of foundation and that the college appreciated their commitment to the success of the venture.
Mama, students and the entire management of YabaTech is very happy with all that you have done.
“We also appreciate Ford Foundation. They have been so benevolent to the college,” he said.
Responding, Okundaye expressed happiness for being recognised and celebrated by the institution.
She thanked the organisers of the programme, the YabaTech Management and students for remembering her.
“ This day will remain green in my heart, this is unbelievable because this is the first time ever in my life that I will be receiving this kind of recognition by my own country.
“I feel so great. I lack words to express my joy and heartfelt gratitude but all I will say to the entire YabaTech, students and organisers of this laudable programme, is thank you and thank you,” she said.
Mrs Funke Baruwa, Programme Officer, Ford Foundation, on the sideline of the event, said that the foundation had long standing partnership with YabaTech.
Baruwa said that the foundation believed in arts by using it as a medium to influence and change negative stories to bring positive changes.
“ We are in this project because we believe that Art is a medium of expression, a culture that can be used to address and change social norms.
“ By so doing, we can be on our way to move the needle of development in Nigeria, using art as a means to reach out to a whole lot of people,” she said.
The Ford Foundation programme officer noted that Okundaye was worth celebrating, describing her as an icon who used her work to develop skills and institute an Art gallery.
“Celebrating mama here today is just a clear evidence of her good work. Basically, it will serve as a form of encouragement and industrialisation and job opportunities for youth,” she said.
The YabaTech management also presented a plaque to Okundaye as a 70th birthday anniversary gift and memorabilia for visiting the college.