Esin O Faja: Celebrating and nurturing a culture of Tolerance

In accordance with the ForeMedia Group feature (LiveTV) commitment in covering and curating exhibition of real-time live events of diverse Afro-centric content, we are excited to announce our partnership with Tunde Odunlade Art and Connexions and the official media partner of the 1st edition of the International Exhibition of Multimedia Arts and Cultures.

The spotlight on Nigeria’s religious landscape could not be any brighter than at the Tunde Odunlade Arts & Culture Connexions in Ibadan, Nigeria. Instead of reading or hearing about Nigeria’s diverse religious beliefs, visitors get to immerse in diverse work of arts, programmes and services with a theme – Religion.

In a climate of religious intolerance and ideological conflicts worldwide, the exhibition, featuring ten artists, is an example of how freedom of expression and religious tolerance strengthens a nation by enriching its cultural, political and artistic narratives. Side by side, these ten artists incorporates beliefs from, Christianity, Islam, Yoruba tradition belief, Buddhism, Confucianism. Their diverse interpretation and mix of materials is a symbol of Yoruba’s integration of hybrid spiritual practices and modern values.

The Exhibition serves as an attempt at rediscovering and reinforcing the Yoruba uniqueness and perception of religion as an intervention in the heavily politicized and intolerant environment that is emerging in present day Nigeria.

That hybrid of modern values and religious diversity is most evident in the works of Visual Artist and Theatre Production Designer, Tolulope Ajayi. Tolulope’s central message for the exhibition is that; ‘whatever you do or practice as a religion, either a Christian, muslim, freethinker, just be a good person.’  Her recent experiment and discovery of the ability to paint with stones, which has birthed a new art movement, STONISM which she pioneers.

The exhibition also features works by Kola Akintola a Christian pastor and lecturer. Using sculpture and vain painting (a technique he innovated in 2004), Kola urges each person to re-examine the meaning of the cross in their own lives. The cross represents sacrifice and he admonished everyone to embrace the sacrificial living and know that their action or omission has a direct consequence on the other person.

Upon entering the exhibition, one is engulfed in curtains of fairies made of textile draping over walls and tree-like monuments by Tunde Odunlade. Tunde’s projects are an exploration of felinity using textiles. Not only is religious co-existence possible, but the Yoruba culture is an example of a how spiritual plurality is integral to a thriving society said Tunde Odunlade. Tunde Odunlade further opines that; religion is a personal thing, a thing of the heart that should be privately and not become a thing of imposition on other individuals.

The works of Atayero Samuel defies artistic genres. It’s easy to see the performer in him through his bold and expressive creations. He enjoys expressing himself through embroidery with needle and thread, batik resist techniques in textile designs. For Atayero; his work seeks to re-establish the fact that no religion is bad, there are only bad people. Every religion preaches moral obligations and civil duties to one another but most observant of these religions neglect to do these. And it is only in doing this that we practice true religion. Religion is a two-way traffic, one to God, one to your neighbour.

Among the artist is Ogini Bernard. A pidgin playwright, pidgin scholar, translator, theatre artist and thread artist. His works are very striking as he depicts ordinary day-to-day events captured in Art. As viewers moved freely through his work, he expressed the need for everyone to have a “clean belle” and embrace love, which is the fundamental thing for all religion. Love will make us all cohabit peacefully and make the world a better place. He is also proud to have the public participate in the exhibition.

The artistes spoke to us on their thought process while creating their masterpieces and the message they were conveying with each artwork. This will in turn dovetail into a documentary series where viewers get to experience art at its finest and correct the lenses with which they gaze at Religion.

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