How Black Heritage schowcased Lagos, Diaspora Citizens
FOR one week, the city of Lagos was agog as art and culture lovers from all walks of life were treated to a spectacular cultural extravaganza when the culture/tourism loving governor of Lagos State, Babatunde Fashola and his crew opened the biggest festival in Lagos State otherwise known as the Lagos Black Heritage Festival, 2013 edition.
The festival which is at its 4th edition with the theme The Black in the Mediterranean Blue as usual, brought out the best from Lagos in the area of exhibitions, dance, drama, boat regatta, beauty pageant and street carnival. And like in the previous editions, this year’s edition which kicked off on March 25th with an explosion of colours and pageantry, music and masquerade parade at the Freedom Park, Lagos climaxed with the Lagos carnival on 1st of April, 2013 at the Tafawa Balewa Square, Lagos.
For the one week it lasted, the festival according to Fashola really restored the pride and dignity of Lagos State and also brought out the creative potentials of Lagosians, as some of the costumes used for the colourful parade were produced in the state.
African colours of Brazil
’Under the double theme “The Black in the Mediterranean Blue – The African Colours of Brazil”, the fiesta celebrated the African diaspora in Brazil – once a Portuguese colony, with particular emphasis on Brazil’s Yoruba culture. In addition, the festival also highlighted the slave era victims who were honoured in the solemn Fitila (Oil Lamp) Procession in Badagry, a coastal town west of Lagos city.
A lot of activities which included the water regatta took place on Easter Sunday, the beauty pageant, Fitila (Oil Lamp) procession in Badagry etc, took place during the festival. The boat regatta according to observers lived up to its billing as it showcased Lagos as the state of aquatic splendor.
It featured a most spectacular display by the various boats belonging to different communities like the Ejirin Community Boat in Epe, Badagry Community Boat, Takwa Bay Community Boat, Agbowo Ikosi Community, the Tarzan Ferry among others, as they held the spectators spellbound with their displays and performances.
Another event that thrilled Lagosians was the Lagos carnival which was a replica of the Water Regatta held on April, 1st 2013 at Tafawa Balewa Square, Lagos Island. It was an amazing feast of colours in a warm and conducive environment, as the various communities displayed their distinctive lifestyle to the delight of both local and foreign spectators. It was indeed, an exhibition of different cultures, arts and colourful costumes representing the people.
Of all the activities that took place within the week, one event that stood out from the others was the “Vision of the Child” painting competition. Sponsored by Diamond Bank as a talent hunt competition for children between the ages of 8 and 12, the children in no small way, made the most of the opportunity they had, to display their creativity.
Apart from the herculean task of searching for budding talents in the Lagos metropolis, the theme of the painting competition, ‘The Thousand and One Faces of Corruption’, was unknown to the contestants till late January. Out of the 189 children from different primary and secondary schools in Lagos State, 32 were selected for the final contest out of which 6 finalists emerged. Viewers found it highly interesting, seeing the beautiful paintings of these children as they tried to capture different facets of corruption in their works.
At the high-octane Gala Night Award held at Oriental hotel, Lekki, for the competitors, the former commissioner of Culture and Tourism in Ondo state, Tola Wewe who was also one of the judges, described the children’s paintings as masterpieces, and marveled at the way they captured the theme of the painting contest.
“Children are masters because their reality is pure. What really baffled me was the way they tackled the task which shows that they are current with what is happening in the country and I pray they tell their parents and elders that corruption is really bad because they were able to tackle all aspects.”
At the end, young Precious Tiamiyu, a 9 year old pupil of Legacy Preparatory School, Sha-Sha emerged winner of the 2013 “Vision of The Child” painting competition with a thought provoking painting piece titled “sad faces of Nigerians”.