ICON launches Int’l Ibom art and book festival to celebrate minorities stories, others

A non governmental organisation, NGO, Inspire Community Network, ICON, is set to launch the maiden edition of Ibom International art and book festival aim to change the narratives of the south-south especially the minorities in Nigeria, and the world over whose culture, language, tradition and heritage among others are often misrepresented.

Meanwhile, celebrated Brazillian Muralist, Wes Gama, one of the festival’s guest artists and an Akwa Ibom son and Washington DC top muralist, Aniekan Udofia, are both interested in working with the festival to design and commission the festival’s selected spaces.

Speaking of the event slated for July 28 to July 31, the festival director, US-Based Nigerian multi-award winning advocate and writer; Kate Ekanem-Hannum, explained that the festival, a project of a non governmental organisation, NGO, Inspire Community Network, ICON, formerly known as Kate Tales Foundation, will draw lovers of arts, books, writers, filmmakers, actors, journalists, media fanatics, activists, entrepreneurs, and students will gather in the city of Uyo for the grand opening of the Ibom Intd Book Festival at the prominent Ibom Hotel and Golf Resort, Uyo.

Ekanem-Hannum, also the founder of ICON, reiterated that: “Ibom International Art and Book Festival is interested in dismantling stereotypes that have caught minorities in a web of misrepresentation. With guests from different countries around the world including the US, UK, Berlin, Cameroon, Kenya, Namibia, South Africa, and Afghanistan, the festival is interested in creating and sustaining platforms for global minorities especially Niger Delta creatives and minorities around the world.

“ Again, the cultural identities, languages, histories, traditions, and creativity of Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Rivers, Ondo, Delta, Cross River, and other Niger Delta cultural groups, and minorities in Nigeria, in addition to minority countries and groups worldwide, are oftentimes suppressed in mainstream literature, films, and international media representation.

“A story is a reflection of a culture, tradition, heritage, and people, but the absence of adequate stories and representation in stories equal the absence or unawareness of the existence of people. It is time for us to tell our stories, as an individual, as a community, as a state, as a region, as a country, and as a member of global communities.

“ So, the festival prides itself on its carefully designed weekend of events that will excite those familiar and unfamiliar with the creative sphere. There will be panel sessions, workshops, and masterclasses led by prominent literary figures; theatre and other cultural performances to reveal the rich culture of the Niger Delta people, art exhibitions from artists from Namibia, Brazil, the US, etc, Open mic and slams, and concerts featuring top Nigerian artists among others.” The festival director noted.

On supporting the festival, while Gama is interested in commissioning and designing major partners’ spaces, Udofia is more interested in designing the city of Uyo.

The festival director described the collaboration and support of these prominent guest artists as a blessing to Nigeria.

Ekanem-Hannum said that home is where the heart is and Udofia dreams of a city where mural paintings brighten up public spaces.

“Not in my wildest imaginations would I have imagined Wes Gama and Aniekan Udofia doing this anywhere in Nigeria. Aniekan Udofia is a widely celebrated muralist. When you drive around Washington DC in America, his autograph is everywhere; on all the walls. Akwa Ibom government should definitely work with Aniekan, he is a son of the soil and Uyo is too beautiful not to have murals in public spaces. Wes Gama is a blessing to us in a time when partnership and sponsorship are slim for the festival. I love that we have this grand offer for a potential major partner. I am excited to have a drone fly over a project commissioned by these two artists. These mural projects are both Wes and Aniekan’s solo documentary projects and the potential of how far and wide this would go, is indescribable.” She said.

Meanwhile, ICON, is a volunteer-oriented non-governmental organization that recruits, select, train, and inspire volunteers to seek, identify community-specific issues, and create solutions that respond directly to that challenge. The organization is well known for its chain of diverse volunteers, promoting rural communities’ development, advocacy for girls’ education, women empowerment, youth development, and writing, art, and cultural development in all six geopolitical regions of Nigeria: South-South, South-East, and South-West. North-Central, North-West, and North-East.

Inspire Community Network is credited to be the organisers of major literary events in Nigeria that create opportunities for underrepresented writers and other creatives. Such events included: Lagos Author’s Talk, a project that takes place in Lagos city and has partnered with organizations like Goethe Institut, Art Twenty One, CCA Lagos, Revolving Art Incubator, etc.


Article by: Vanguard

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