And that was how I got an invitation letter from the British Council to be part of the Press Preview event and Building Wrap Launch, as a media personality.
Basically, the “Go Woman Go” Project, being one of the ongoing more than 30 projects programmed by the British Council as part of the UK/Nigeria 2015/2016 arts work season, is a visual arts outdoor installation project in the form of a building wrapped with a specially designed and fabricated textile material. It aims to revive the tradition of textile and print making in Nigeria, in the same vein, empowering women with new skills and capacities in textile design and making them independent financially. By this great feat, new collaborations, partnerships between Nigerian and British artists/institutions/organizations, building of new audiences and strengthened relationships between UK and Nigeria were achieved.
Thus, this project began with a workshop in September 2015 with renowned British Artist from Glasgow, Scotland, Laura Aldridge (who admitted she loves Nigerians because of their kindness, yeyyyyyyy) and 35 other women at the Nike Art Centre, Abuja, Nigeria where they were taught new techniques in textile design. It also included collaboration between Laura Aldridge and pottery makers in Giri Suburb of the Federal Capital Territory to produce some wonderful ceramic vessels. Other collaborations were those of engaging in tying and dyeing of textile materials and production of colourful flower images/structures from plastic PET bottles – practical business ideas indeed. The programme featured trainings, workshops and showcases in art, fashion, design, theatre, dance, music, literature and film.
Significantly, the creative industry was chosen because the creative economy has been identified as a viable vehicle for economic and national development. The idea was to take creative arts work, out of the conventional places where they are normally found like the theatres and galleries, to where people are directly. This particular project “The Go Woman Go” project was specifically organized for the female gender only in order to create an opportunity in bridging the gap between the high men population to the low women population in the creative industry. Meanwhile, the “Creative Hussle” Project is one of the other over 30 projects aimed at grooming youths in changing the narrow mindset of not just being an actor/actress before being engaged in the film industry but exploring other careers like engineering, accounting, management, business, while being actively involved in playing those major roles in the film industry. Through these projects, over 28 million persons have been reached through the media while over 6,000 persons have been mentored one-on-one.
Owing to the kind support of the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development under the watch of Honourable Minister, Senator Aisha Alhassan, the 6-storey Headquarters building of the Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development strategically located in the Central Business District of Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory, was rightfully chosen as the building to be wrapped.
The Press event and public exhibition of the building wrap successfully held yesterday, Tuesday, 29th November, 2016. The event had dignitaries like the Honourable Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed; Honourable Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, Senator Aisha Alhassan; Country Director of British Council, Connie Price; Acting British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Simon Shercliff; Director of Arts, British Council, Ojoma Ochai, and of course, British artist Laura Aldridge, present. Alhaji Lai Mohammed, in his address, stressed that the textile industry now somewhat neglected, was a major source of income and development in the Northern part of Nigeria but in a bid to rekindle it, the Ministry of Information and Culture under his able tutelage, has signed an MOU with the British Council to promote Nigerian culture. He also mentioned that women must be empowered to be independent and home makers. Senator Aisha Alhassan, on her part, pledged untold support to this cause and removal of barriers preventing women from participating fully and getting trained and impacted with skills.
Following their addresses, the rest of the evening was enjoyed touring round the arena to view the creative art works, eating and dining, networking, celebration and capturing snap shots.
The evening was indeed fun-filled and inspiring, lovely project I must commend!
So, now you know, be on the lookout on this blog (www.onuohaprecious.com) to get more updates on how you can be part of other upcoming programs and skill acquisition training in partnership with the British Council, as well as events and project launches. More opportunities are coming your way!