OUR NATIONAL FLAG: ART AND SOCIO-POLITICAL REALITIES
The University of Lagos witnessed the first Symposium and exhibition of Cartoons organised by Jimoh Ganiyu Jimga in collaboration with The Crown Troupe of Africa on the 21st of February, 2013. This symposium of art, tilted: Our National Flag; Art and Socio-Political Realities was chaired by the Head of Creative Arts Department, Prof. A.V.E Mereni.
In his speech, the Keynote speaker Prof. Olumiyiwa Falaiye, a professor of Socio-Political Philosophy, stressed the inevitable role of cartoonists in socio-political milieu of the society. Citing the foremost South African cartoonist Zapiro, he posits that ‘cartoonists are the watch dogs and the pulse of the society. Cartoons are like mirrors through which the society assesses itself and take corrective measures. Responding to a question from the audience on the solution to corruption in Nigerian and why Nigerians are so corrupt, Prof Falaiye, opines that ‘Nigerians are not more corrupt than other humans on the surface of earth…the tendency to corrupt is inherent in every human being …but Nigerians are corrupt because there is no proper mechanism to deter people from corruption’.
The Panel of discussants include: Prof. Solomon Akinboye, H.O.D Department of Political Science, UNILAG, Akinwale Onipede, lecturer at the Dept. of Creative Arts, UNILAG and Clara Giacolne, researcher, Free University Berlin, Germany.
Segun Adefila’s Crown Troupe of Africa held the audience which comprises Students, Academicians and Professionals alike spell bound for minutes with their dance drama presentation titled ‘corruption’.
The Mother of the Day, Prof Ajike Osanyi, H.O.D Arts and Social Sciences Education congratulates Jimga on the giant stride he took in using the visual form of satire; cartoons, in showing the ills in the society.
Outdoor exhibition of socio-political cartoons by Jimoh Ganiyu Jimga was declared open by the Head of Visual Arts Unit, Mrs P.U Ofuafo. This is an inter faculty exhibition that will run til the 4th of March 2013.
This symposium and exhibition was also accompanied by a 120page exhibition brochure which contains scholarly articles on not only analysis of Jimga’s works but also on the development of cartooning in Nigeria. The contributors include Prof. Teju Olaniyan of University of Winsconsin-Madison, USA, Akinwale Onipede, Segun Adefila, Jude Anogwih, Jimoh Ganiyu, Ibukun Fasuhan, Otun Rasheed, Omoligho Udenta, Eleshin Abisoye, Adekunjo Khamardeen, Itsewah Steven James, Adebolujo, O. A.
Jimoh Ganiyu Jimga- A Profile
Jimoh Ganiyu is currently a recipient of the University of Lagos Postgraduate School Graduate Fellowship Award. He has a B.A (Hons) Graphic Design, M.A Art History in 2008 and 2010 respectively.
Mr Jimga as popularly called by students and friends is a cartoonist, a poet, a teacher and photo-journalist. He has exhibited his socio-political cartoons at several conferences in the country. He can be described as a political cartoonist who employs the artistic genre as visual commentary on the realities of his society.
He is also a cartoon scholar who did not only write his M.A thesis on THE ROLE OF CARTOON IN DEMOCRATISATION PROCESS IN NIGERIA but also received NUC Individual Award for his exhibition at the 10th National University Research and Development Fair (NUREDEF) held at University of Nigeria, Nssuka in November 2010. Also in 2011, Jimoh Ganiyu won the prestigious University of Lagos distinguished researcher of the year award in Arts and Humanities.
My artwork takes a critical view of social, political and cultural issues. In my work, I deconstruct the polity and target the power brokers mostly through the medium I consider veritable as a weapon of transforming otherwise complex and opaque social events and situations into quick and easily readable depictions that facilitate comprehension of the nature of socio-political issues and events; The Art of Cartooning.
As a young boy growing up in a ‘humble setting’, the ‘by-products’ of injustice shaped my thoughts and infused the anger of resistance in me. I got inspired by the actions of political activists, who through the medium they are blessed with, struggle to achieve the deserving environment.
My attempt in visualising verbal satires in most of the great ‘Abamieda’; Fela’s songs redirected my passion for painting to caricature and cartooning which I found handy and appropriate for visual ‘satirisation’ and vicious weapon through which I channel my fury. I can describe myself as an activist that uses the medium of cartooning as the conduit of achieving the aim of equal right for humanity.
I consider the ambiance of display as a vital part of contextualisation. Most of my works, being a form of ‘protest art’, employ unconventional display and often engage installations as accompaniment.
Often times, my themes dwell more on the political state of the country, this is because I strongly believe that the political status-quo which is the bane of the societal tribulations is unnatural and practically undeserving. And through the ‘weapon’ of visual satire, the polity could not only be reflected but refracted into a conducive atmosphere balanced with equal right and justice…as there can never be peace…without justice.
Crown Troupe of Africa
Conceptualized on June 1st 1996 by a group of friends who share a common belief in the viability of art as a tool for social engineering and empowerment, Crown Troupe is engaged in the arts of dance, drama, music, and visual arts.
A youth focused group, they make different kinds of performances using various techniques and forms. The content of their works are mainly thematically relevant to any prevalent issues of concern. The works created are aimed at being not only informative, but also therapeutic.
The group is also involved in an Itinery Theatre Project through which they have taken their performances from place to place. Some of the works are research based and presented with multimedia back up as well as performed in site specific and unconventional spaces. There has also been an annual community theatre project tagged ‘The Bariga Open Air Theatre (B.O.A.T) Festival where sister groups are invited to present their works in public spaces. This annual event is aimed at taking theatre to the masses as an antidote to its current elitist status. The B.O.A.T Festival has metamorphosed into The Eko Theatre Carnival Project.
Crown Troupe launched their debut musical album ‘ARUWO OJA’ in November, 2012. The Album was published by DADA Books.
The services of Crown Troupe are much sought after by corporate clients and the general public.
Companies like Microsoft, Unity Bank, Coca Cola (NBC), Macmillan Publishers and several other Corporate giants have at one time or the other engaged the services of the group.
The Award winning group has participated in local and international art events.
Some of such events include:
ü Invitation by the National Troupe of Nigeria to be part of Contacting The World Manchester, 2002.
ü A Workshop/Performance tour to Trinidad and Tobago, with University of The West Indies, St. Augustine based company, Arts-in-Action, 2003
ü Invitation by Ancient Theatre Company, Lagos to perform at the 2nd edition of Contacting The World, Manchester, 2004.
ü Facilitated dance workshops and Performed at the Autumn International Festival, London, 2005.
ü Performance at the annual Wole Soyinka Prize for Literature in Africa.
ü Invitation by the National Troupe of Nigeria to the Cairo International Festival of Experimental Theatre, 2010.
ü Performance at the 3rd Lagos Black Heritage Festival, 2010
ü Annual Macmillan Literary Events
ü International Dance Day competition Awards organized by the Dance Guild of Nigeria (GOND Awards).
ü Eko Guild of Nigerian Dancers Award Media Dance Company 2001, 2010
ü 1st prize, Festival of Dances (FEDA-contemporary dance ) 2005
ü Best Dance Company and Best Choreography, FEDA Awards 2004.
Crown Art Resource Centre,26, Ayo Ola Lawal Street, Bariaga ,Lagos.