To celebrate its 25 years of culture activism, the Committee for Relevant Arts (CORA) will hold a special Art Stampede Sunday (2pm) at the Freedom Park in Lagos.
What exactly is CORA committed to? It’s a culture activist organisation with the agenda to do all in its powers to help create an enabling environment for the flourish of the contemporary arts of Nigeria, in the forms of Literature, Theatre, Music, Fine Art, Movie Making, as well as TV Programme Design and Production. How has CORA benefited the Nigeria Art World? CORA is, at best, a facilitator of the sharing of ideas. It creates the sort of interactions that lead to birth of ideas or sharpening of existing ideas. Some of the most forward looking initiatives in the Nigerian culture environment came out of CORA-organized talkshops, usually referenced as CONVERSATION(s). Among its programmes and activities are the following: 1. THE QUARTERLY ART STAMPEDE: This parliamentary event in which artists, art critics, art journalists and art connoisseurs gather to discuss hot-burner issues.
2. THE ANNUAL LAGOS BOOK & ART FESTIVAL: Dubbed “The biggest Culture Picnic on the Continent’, LABAF is an art festival with a heavy book content and is a testament to the conviction of CORA that the only way to translate the ‘teeming’ population of Nigeria into a true human resource is to develop their mind.
3. LAGOS – THE CITY ARTS GUIDE: This is a quarterly publication on the cultural life of the city of Lagos, Nigeria’s culture capital and the entry port into the nation’s business and commercial industries. The Guide is currently on rest but will be resuscitated in the near future.
4. THE GREAT HIGHLIFE PARTY: Held in conjunction with the management of O’Jez Nightclub, Surulere, Lagos, but curated by the veteran broadcaster and music journalist, Benson Idonije, the monthly programme set out as a Highlife music revival forum. In its first phase, which ran 2001 to 2008, the GHP emerged as a forum for the celebration of landmark achievements of the best in the Nigerian cultural scene.
5. ANNUAL BOOK EDITORS’ CLINIC: This is an interventionist project by the CORA towards improving the quality of literature and published texts in the country. It was initiated as a response to damning verdict on state of editorial services in Nigeria’s book publishing as was contained in report of the judges (academics, book workers and enthusiasts) of the first edition of Nigeria Prize for Literature endowed by Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas, NLNG.
6. ANNUAL CORA PUBLISHERS’ FORUM:
It was conceived in 2010 to provide a critical space for publishers to engage with each other and other professionals within the book value chain about emerging themes in the sector, deepen their knowledge and improve their revenue base. The Forum is part of the pre-events of the Lagos Book & Art Festival and is aimed at key personnel within the publishing sector in Nigeria and Africa.
7. The periodic ARTHOUSE FORUM: It was originally conceived as a soul-to-soul meeting between Culture and Art bureaucrats (administrators) and members of the Arts and Culture Community (producers of artistic and cultural products), offering the platform for administrators to give an account of their stewardship on the prompting of inquiries from the producers of culture. Due to the usual reluctance of culture bureaucrats to openly engage with culture producers, the Forum has, been redesigned as a platform for debriefing key personnel in the culture production and management chains.
8. CORA has also been in collaboration with other organisations on a number of other projects including, the (now-rested) BobTv annual Film and TV Festival, Abuja; the Lagos Comic and Cartoon Carnival etc. And through collaborations with relevant collaborators, CORA staged the first Hip Hop Conference in 2010.
9. CORA also conceived the annual CORA BOOK PARTY as an interventionist project to ensure that the literary community and general public, at least, get an opportunity to engage with authors of books shortlisted for the annual Nigeria Literature Prize, facilitated by the Nigeria Liquefied Gas company.
10. Of recent, the CORA resolved to extend its reach through networking with international organisations such as the pan-Africa network of artists and artists organisations, Arterial Network, the secretariat of which it currently ‘warehouses’ in the country.