BY OMIKO AWA
THE hall was filled to capacity with parents and children wearing smiling faces. The horde of photographers struggled for vintage positions to take shots of the 30 participants selected from the 42 public and private schools across Lagos State that qualified for the maiden edition of the Lagos Black Heritage Festival (LBHF), Child Art competition.
With theme, The Black In The Mediterranean Blue, the festival, which in the past has featured adult art competition, this year, in its third edition shifted ground with the child art competition and a sub theme, The Vision Of The Child.
Aimed at making the children from age range nine to 12 tell in painting what they know about their culture, immediate environment and the changes that have taken place in the Lagos, organisers wrote to public and private schools in the 57 Local Councils and Development Areas in the state and only 42 met the requirements. With weeks of painting and assessment, this number was trimmed down to 30 and finally the best six was picked for the cash prizes.
THE award and dinner night sponsored by Diamond Bank PLC saw the top six winners go home with different prizes. Akinola Ibukunoluwa Ayomide of Methodist Girls’ High School, Yaba came tops going home with N120, 000, followed by Doyinsola Akinwande N100,000, Lotana Nnoli N80, 000, while Sokoya Kayinsola, Sulaiman Sheriff and Babatunde Balogun got N50, 000 respectively.
Apart from the cash prizes, other gifts including a LBHF customised laptop and certificates of participation were given to them. All the 30 children that made the semi-final level got different prizes.
Drawing a loud ovation was Divine Grace, a five-year-old girl, who forced her way to the competition. She was also given an honorary certificate for her tenacity and ‘I can do it spirit.’
Commending organisers of the show, Dr, Odu Akinola, mother of the star prizewinner, said, “I am shocked by the quality of work presented by the children and I see greater leaders in them, judging from their paintings and the interpretations.”
Happy for the success of the event, Foluke Michael, the festival secretary, said, “Nigerian is a land of talent, I never believed that Nigerian children could do what we are seeing today, they interpreted their paintings like people of 18,19 or even 20 years old, which means we must all sit up in this country, because these children are conscious of the goings-on. We must also encourage them, provide the right environment for them to grow, so that, we can get the best in them.”
She added, “parents should encourage their children to go beyond studying mathematics and physics, but develop interest in others subjects and courses. They should also not ignore any talent discovered in their children.”
Compered by Tee A, the event was graced by Lagos State Commissioner for Culture and Inter-governmental Relations, Mr. Disu Holloway; the Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka; Executive Director, Corporate Banking and Regional Businesses, Lagos/ West, Diamond Bank, Mr. Uzoma Dozie and others.