Odenigbo Art Gallery Opening Was Very Successful

by Professor Uchenna Nwosu

I wish to express my sincere gratitude to all those who came yesterday, August 22, 2020, to witness the opening ceremony of ODENIGBO ART GALLERY and the unveiling of the Odenigbo Dancer, despite the constraint imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic precautions. The occasion demonstrated, once again, the spirit of  Mbido Igbo n’Igboukwu, as documented in the radiocarbon dating showing the presence of advanced civilization, probably surpassing the European civilization of the era, before the 8th and 9th Century AD. Igboukwu’s parental destiny, which transcended bronze works, was again manifested in the works of Mazi Simon Obiekezie Okeke of Umudege, Igboukwu, who designed the Biafra currency and postage stamps – now collectors’ items.

My gratitude goes to Dr. Christian C Madubuko, the Commissioner for the Anambra State Ministry of Diaspora Affairs, Indigenous Artworks, Culture and Tourism, for spending the whole day at Igboukwu; first by an in-depth tour of the  Igboukwu Development Union-USA-initiated Shaw Institute for Cultural Art (SICA), as well as the extant Anambra State Museum in Igboukwu. His mastery of Igbo culture, as demonstrated by his familiarity with EVERY cultural item in the museum, shows that he is indeed a round peg in a round hole. Igboukwu is grateful for his avowed intent to complete and unleash the promise of SICA during his tenure of office.

Second from left is Dr. Christian Madubuko, who is Anambra State Commissioner for Diaspora Affairs, Indigenous Arts, Culture & Tourism. On extreme right is Prof. Uchenna Nwosu (Odenigbo Igboukwu), showing the august guests the SICA House under construction.

Thanks to Ada Ugo Igboukwu, Senator Uche Ekwunife, for gracing the occasion as she always does for all things Igboukwu, and making a financial donation to the Gallery. She doubtlessly enjoys her home town’s goodwill in her pursuit of Divine Mandate 2021, transforming Anambra State to primus inter pares of the Nigerian States.

Prof. Uchenna Nwosu (Odenigbo Igboukwu) , on extreme left, receives Senator Uche Ekwunife (Ada-ugo Igboukwu, as a special guest at the Opening of the Odenigbo Art Gallery.

My thanks go to the Chairman of the occasion, Chief Barth Nwibe, Ugo Igboukwu who, through his company, Segofs Energy Group, continues to be the home anchor of the IDU-USA SICA project. I am grateful to many of the Concerned Individual Citizens (CIC) of Igboukwu, who were able to come and show their moral and financial support despite the jam-packed social commitments of the day. I thank Lady Obiageli Ezeife for making the occasion even more special by allowing my exhibition of her father’s works, including two original works never before displayed. I am pleased that she is aptly following his footsteps, as demonstrated by her own painting and touching remarks on the works of her dad, who did not live long enough for her to really know him.

I am profoundly grateful to Sir Tony Otikpa of Nri, a Fellow and Chairman Emeritus of the Society of Nigerian Artists, Anambra State Chapter, for his encouragement and academic review of the exhibits in the Gallery, and to Dr. Greg Ezeilo, for his cerebral presentation on Art and Leadership.

Chief Bart Nwibe (Ugo Igboukwu) and Mrs. Nwibe (seated) chaired the Opening of the Odenigbo Art Gallery; The couple procured the altar replica of 9th Century ritual bronze altar on display for N1 million.

The occasion would not have been the success it was had the Media Entrepreneur, Arinze Okamelu Esq, not taken charge earlier in the morning to set the stage. Nor would there have been such occasion at all had Mr. Uchechukwu Ezeemo, Lecturer at Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, and current Chairman of the SNA Anambra Chapter, not continually urged me to embark on the Gallery project.

I cannot close without acknowledging the moral and financial supports of Drs Azubuike Ezeife and Okenwa Nwosu, the fathers of IDU-USA, who followed in real time the happenings of the day, making financial input as well.

Finally, I must acknowledge Engr. Emma Okonkwo for his imaginative transformation of two rooms at Civic Hotel, Igboukwu, into a cool Arts Gallery, and thank Chief A. O. Umeh, Ochikota Igboukwu, for being the father of the occasion.

Prof. Uchenna Nwosu
Odenigbo Igboukwu