The Committee for Relevant Art, CORA directorate Tuesday announced the final phase of preparation for the 2019 edition of the yearly Lagos Book & Art Festival, LABAF.
According to CORA, the 21st edition will hold November 4-10 at the official home of the festival, Freedom Park, Lagos Island and other venues around the city.
The edition is dedicated to the memory of the master artist, Dr. David Herbert Dale, who passed on in the morning of Tuesday, August 6, 2019 following a protracted illness.
This year’s festival theme is “EMERGE… Breaking into the NEW;” and it is a natural sequel to the themes of the past two editions of the festival: ERUPTIONS: Global Fractures and the Our Common humanity (2017) and RENEWAL: Towards a World that Works for All (2018).
”EMERGE… is premised on the notion of breaking free from the shackles of social, political, economic and cultural factors that inhibit the progress of the individual and the nation. Ostensibly, the theme will reflect on obstacles to the process of nation building, and human capital development – two concepts central to the philosophy of the Committee for Relevant Art, CORA, and, which have consistently formed the core of the objective of LABAF since its birth in 1999 to mark the return of Nigeria to democratic governance after over three decades of military regimes. The thematic thrust of the 31-odd events that will feature in the week-long festival will thus examine issues around 20 years of Nigeria’s democracy; the shifting political events and discourses around the continent; as well as development in/around global politics,” a statement from CORA said.
Described as ‘Africa’s biggest cultural picnic,’ LABAF is a week-long comprehensive open-air carnivalesque ‘feast of Life and Ideas’ featuring a mix-grill of artistic and cultural events including: exhibitions of books and arts, live reading sessions; conversations around books; seminars on visual, performing and allied arts; displays of paintings, sculptures, mixed media, installations and crafts; children and youths art workshops; live music, poetry, drama and dance presentations among others. Preceding the last three (weekend) days of the weeklong event is a four-day Pre-Festival series of events which include a Publishers’ Forum, Writers’ workshops and Book Treks (writers’ visits to schools and engagement with pupils). Overall, it is a carnivalesque atmosphere created to make books look cool.
The Committee for Relevant Art is a group of artistes, art enthusiasts, art promoters and art writers committed to the development of the Arts of Nigeria and their enabling environment.
MISSION: To Create an Enabling Environment for the Flourishing of the Contemporary Arts of Nigeria and the Continent.
VISION: To Make Art & Culture the Prime Destination for Investment in Nigeria and Africa by 2018.
DEFINITION: We Are ‘Cultural Landscapists. The CORA is the Winner of the Prince Claus Award, 2006.
Aside the prime programme, the Lagos Book & Art Festival (LABAF), the CORA’s projects include the quarterly Art Stampede, the quarterly publication, Lagos The City Arts Guide, the annual Lagos Open Air Cinema Carnival; and the periodic CORA Book Party (with its extended yearly collaborative version with the Nigeria Prize for Literature, NPL as endowed by the NigeriaLNG). CORA also collaborates with other artistes, activists and enthusiasts to organise the annual Lagos Comics Carnival; the Great Highlife (Revival) Party (Elders’ Forum). Recently, the CORA launched its monthly BookTrek series, which has run eight editions so far in the course of the year.
The CORA continues to seek out, tend, groom and harvest the best of the old and emerging arts of Nigeria.
ABOUT DR. DAVID HERBERT DALE
Widely regarded as a legend of the visual arts, and unarguably, one of the most prolific African artists of the century, as a result of his enormous contributions to the Nigerian, and even global art community, DHD was born in Lagos in 1947 to a Scottish expatriate Produce Inspector father and Nigerian mother of Itsekiri/Ijaw extraction in the Niger Delta region.
He studied Fine Art and Art History at the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) Zaria in 1971, specialising in Illustration and Graphic Design. In his almost five decades of artistic practice, he consistently worked in 23 different media including charcoal, oil, beads, glass bead works, water colour, gouache, and stained-glass media. He was the graphic consultant to the 2nd Festival of Black and African Arts and Culture (FESTAC ’77) art exhibition. Same year, he resumed at the University of Lagos as a lecturer.
His works have featured in exhibitions globally (including U.S., U.K., Canada, former USSR, Germany, Spain, France, Holland, Sweden, Brazil, Japan, Australia, New Zealand) and acquired by notable collectors including Sammy Olagbaju and Chief Rashid Gbadamosi (both late), Dr. Mike Adenuga and Omooba Yemisi Shyllon and a list of others. In 2013, he suffered a stroke which led to a plethora of other health complications. A notable cause of this is the poisoning of his system from fumes of Araldite, a primary material of his artistic productions. Even while his health deteriorated, he continued to produce works up until his death.