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What inspired artworks El-Rufai bought at KABAFEST

The Kaduna State governor, Malam Nasir El-Rufai, bought artworks from ten artists who exhibited at the recently concluded Kaduna Book and Arts Festival (KABAFEST). Here,…

The Kaduna State governor, Malam Nasir El-Rufai, bought artworks from ten artists who exhibited at the recently concluded Kaduna Book and Arts Festival (KABAFEST). Here, Daily Trust on Sunday spoke with the artists on their inspiration for the pieces they sold.

When ten artists showcased their artworks at KABAFEST, presently northern Nigeria’s most popular literary and arts festival, they were probably not expecting to draw the attention of Governor Nasir El-Rufai, but they did, as he patronised each artist.

In the large tent where most of the festival’s events were held, a mixture of photographs, paintings and sculptures by Abrak H. Abigail, Ameh Odachi, Kamal Obatoyinbo, Bogunjoko Abiodun Ekundayo, Clement Colours, Otisi Jezreel Eleanya, Zamani Zallah, Salim Abdulrazaq, Mathew Ahmadu, and Nakas Ali occupied the right side of the room.

Kamal Obatoyinbo, a photographer and visual artist who manipulates his photographs into fine art exhibited eight pieces. Amongst them, ‘Metamorphosis,’ a piece depicting a half human, half jellyfish is now owned by the governor. The ocean and its different types of living creatures was Obatoyinbo’s trigger for the work, which has a black background that represents the deep ocean.

Many artists love to experiment. This is Nakas Ali’s approach. His photographs, ‘Water is Life,’ and ‘Happy Day,’ taken away by El-Rufai shows a child splashing water and drinking from a tap, respectively.

“The North-East inspired the first work,” Ali said. “Water is difficult to access there. ‘Happy Day’ simply illustrates a child’s happiness irrespective of what is going on in the world.”

Clement Colours, a muralist who has a training centre in Unguwan Maigero in Kaduna had a variety of paintings on display, but ‘You Will Never Walk Alone,’ a painting of two lovers under an umbrella in the rain was the chosen piece.

“Rain inspires me,” Colours said.

You might wonder what a Building Engineer is doing so far from her course of study, but Ameh Odachi is building something special, and it’s mosaic art. Her bead work, titled ‘ECOFEPA,’ was coined from three words. ECOWAS and female parliament.

“I was once invited to an ECOWAS program, a town hall meeting that inspired me to do something that links ECOWAS and women. But generally, what inspires my artworks is precision,” she said.

Odachi enjoys working with beads. She picks one bead at a time. “Beads are very delicate to me and I don’t pick them haphazardly,” she pointed out.

On Zallah Zamani’s corner are colourful works showing the durbar during the Sallah celebration. The documentary and portrait photographer who studied Human Physiology at Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria and is currently running a postgraduate program in Biotechnology at the Nigerian Defence Academy in Kaduna is currently working on a series on colours of the northern Durbar.

“Although durbars are usually colourful, I feel there might be reasons for particular colours. There is the red and green won by the Dogarai. Some states use the green and other colours. So, I want to visit different durbars and capture their different colours,” she explained.

Zamani exhibited eight works at the festival and sold two of her durbar pieces to the governor.

Abigail Abrak, a painter who studied Fine Arts in Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, sold ‘Flash,’ an abstract work inspired by nature to Malam El-Rufai. “I played with different kinds of colours. It’s a formation of mushrooms,” she offered.

KABAFEST, an event that ran from September 11 to 14 is curated by Lola Shoneyin, Director, Book Buzz Foundation. In its third edition, it gathers creatives, including writers, filmmakers, dancers, singers and thinkers in one location to share their works and discuss issues that affect Nigeria and the north in particular. This year’s, the biggest so far, had over a thousand people registered.

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