Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Victor Ekpuk at MoAD, San Francisco

Inspired by Nsibidi, an African indigenous system of writing that uses symbols, signs and codes to convey concepts, Victor Ekpuk reduces forms to codes and symbols that express the human condition. In his compositions, the use of arcane signs and invented pseudo-writings often evoke the idea of writing, where legibility and illegibility are metaphors. Through slide presentations, Victor Ekpuk will discuss his process and his current work.

Victor Ekpuk, a Washington DC based artist, was born in Nigeria. He received a bachelor of Fine Art at the University of Ife, Nigeria in 1989. His works are shown widely and are in such collections as Smithsonian National Museum of African Art, The World Bank and Newark Museum.

Free with MoAD Admission.
Date: Thursday, June 21, 2012
Time: 6:30pm-8pm Pacific Time


Tuesday, May 29, 2012

3rd Annual Africa 2.0 Leadership Symposium coming to Lagos

Among confirmed key participants :
Dr. Mo Ibrahim (Founder Mo Ibrahim Foundation), ,  Dr. Frannie Leautier (Executive Secretary of African Capacity Building Foundation),  Mr. Amadou  Mahtar Ba (Chief Executive of the African Media Initiative, AMI),  Mr. Thierry Tanoh   (Vice President IFC (Africa, Latin America, WesternEurope),  Mr. Nkosana  Moyo (Founder and Chairman of Mandela Institute for Development Studies),  Mr. Mugo Kibati (CEO of Vision Kenya 2030 Secretariat),  Mr. Abdoulaye Bio-Tchane (former IMF director for Africa and former Prime Minister of Benin),  Mr. Francis Okomo-Okello (Chairman of Barclays Bank of Kenya Limited),  Mr. Frank Nweke Jr. (Director General of the Nigeria Economic Summit Group),  Mr.Jean-Louis  Ekra (Chairman and President of the African Export-Import Bank),  Mrs. Ann Grant (Vice Chairman of Standard Chartered Capital Markets Ltd)?(to name a few)

Kindly find attached the Africa 2.0 draft agenda for the 3rd Annual Africa 2.0 Leadership Symposium.

Please confirm your attendance of the event by registering here. Once your attendance is confirmed, you will receive an invitation letter which you will need to apply for a Nigerian Visa. You will also receive the events hospitality pack which will detail accommodation and flight details.

In a context of multiple initiatives across the continent, Africa 2.0 young emerging leaders (more than 40 African nationalities represented) aim to impulse greater coordination and cross fertilize knowledge/know-how by ?Gathering a Coalition for the sustained Transformation? to Design and Implement Solutions Together.

The event will be hosted by Africa 2.0 Nigeria Chapter led by Tonye Cole (CEO of Sahara Energy Group) among other Nigerian emerging leaders from  diverse backgrounds  (Kola Karim, Ndidi Nunwelli, Andrew Alli, Biola Alabi, Moji Rhodes, Debo Lukanmbi, etc.)


Thursday, May 17, 2012

RIP Danlami Aliyu 1952-2012

After Ladi Kwali, Danlami was the best modern potter in Nigeria. He learned at the Pottery Training Centre set up by Michael Cardew in Abuja. He was good, so I asked Michael if he would take him on at Wenford (Cardew’s own workshop in the UK). He did. He thought Danlami was outstanding and arranged for the pots he made there to have a show at the Commonwealth Institute, London.

It was well reviewed in 'Crafts' (Another UK journal for Potters). After Wenford, Danlami went to Farnham College to learn about kiln-building. In the Thesis he wrote at the end of his course, he compared the pottery made at the Training Centre with the pots his mother used to buy locally. This thesis was published whole in ‘Pottery Quarterly’. Out of respect for Michael he gave it to him in person.

On the train to Cornwall, Michael's wife Mariel read it and was so moved by it tears ran down her cheeks, charmed by his simple way of writing and the Africanisms which made it so vivid. Michael read it and was silent. A comment made by Danlami in a spirit of humility, not of criticism, devastated Cardew: “too complicated for us" is what Danlami wrote of the Centre.

The Training Centre and the fifteen happiest years of Cardews life that he had spent setting it up, were deemed a failure. “Too complicated", those two words haunted me too and fundamentally changed the way I taught when I returned to Nigeria.

By this time, fifteen years after Cardew left, the Abuja training centre was in decline. After a further six years Danlami, having been overseas and now understanding it's significance, together with Umaru his brother and myself, decided to do something about it. We built a new pottery at Maraba, modelled on the original one at Abuja, hoping to recapture the extraordinary spirit it had while Michael was there. It was successful. Danlami stayed longer than I did and gave it a sound basis which enabled it to expand and last twenty years after he left. To this day there are more good throwers (potters) in Maraba than in the rest of Nigeria.

The other things Danlami did there would be of little interest here, except his ‘regiment’ as he called them, - his fifteen children! To spend a day in his compound was a pleasure, the younger ones were beguiling and so well behaved with inquisitive little faces, the adolescents graceful and friendly.

Danlami is well remembered in the UK when he was a student. He was young and handsome, a joker, popular with everybody.

In Minna, as news of his death spread, crowds filled his compound. People from all walks of life from top civil servants (the Governor sent a representative) to poor potters who - came from Maraba two hundred miles away. He was very well liked and it was a great tribute, but how sad he has gone, he was only 59. What a pity so little of his brush decoration has been seen (and valued). He saw Cardew’s work but his is different. It is so skilful that it is surprising it shows no trace of showmanship, instead it is simple, not the simplicity achieved by minimalism, but by a simplicity of spirit which sings as pure and as natural as a bird's song. Michael Cardew thought him outstanding and so he was.
This obituary was written by Micheal O’Brien for ‘Ceramic Review’, a UK Journal for Potters. 


Friday, May 04, 2012

Job opportunities in Nigeria

My client, School for Startups, is seeking to assemble a local team to support their School for Startups Programme in Nigeria. The project team will include a Programme Director, Programme Coordinator, programme Assistant and 30 Monitors. They will all be based in Nigeria.

School for Startups have been invited by Federal Ministry of Finance, Nigeria and UK Department for International Development (DFID) to support The Youth Enterprise with Innovation in Nigeria (You WIN!). The core component of You WIN! is a Business Plan Competition through which 1,200 winners have been selected. The winning entries are a mix of start-ups and existing enterprises that are looking to expand.

School for Startups will run a year long programme for the 1,200 Business Plan Competition winners across six geopolitical zones of Nigeria. The programme will include intensive training programme of ‘boot camps’ and e-learning support provided to build business skills. The year long programme will end with an Awards Ceremony in Nigeria.

School for Startups is a leading provider of business training for entrepreneurs and small businesses. Since 2008, School for Startups has trained more than 12,000 entrepreneurs in face to face and online classes. For further information about School for Startups and its programmes is attached.

I would welcome your support in helping me to identify suitable candidates for the post for Programme Director, Programme Co-ordinator, Programme Assistant and Independent Monitors for the programme.

Please find attached brief job description together with project background information. At this stage I would like to gather CV’s of the potential candidates together with their contact details. The full list will be reviewed with School for Startups followed by an interview via Skype or face to face in Nigeria. We hope to make the final appointments by the end of May.

We are working to a tight schedule. I would appreciate if you can please let me have any suggestions by Monday 7th May. We will review all the candidates’ week of 7th May; select and interview week 14th May and appoint by week 21st May.

Parminder Vir


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