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Preparatory meeting with students at the University of Port Harcourt for an exhibition entitled "Niger-Delta Expressions"

In view of the up-coming exhibition on artistic expression in relation to events/problems especially in the Niger Delta Area and the world, an exhibition sensitization forum was organized on 4 August 2010 by the frontiers, A.T. Ibim, Executive Director Agriculture Support Foundation; Ineba Bobmanuel, EU-INSIDE; Okonofua, Artist, University of Uyo; and Chima N. Wokocha, University of Port Harcourt; for students from different universities and faculties to sensitize them on the forthcoming exhibition.

The forum commenced at 1:00pm with an opening remark by A.T. Ibim, she welcomed all in attendance including the students from University of Uyo. This was followed by introduction of the frontiers as well as the students.

Ineba explained the aim of Mundus Maris toward this programme that is, to enhance the youths by encouraging artistic expressions in science and arts for sustainable sea, so as to promote its restoration and conservation, and associated biological and cultural diversity. She further spoke on the benefits of engaging in this activity which includes, propelling the student to a higher level. She made reference to Stella Williams who emerged with the idea of paint work. The interesting aspect of it, she said, was that of a student from one of the schools in Niger Delta Area who came first during an artistic presentation in Brussels. Therefore, she encouraged them to be creative, to be able to express in pictorial display the various problems affecting the region and their solutions, looking at nature and painting. She therefore urged the students to come up with their imaginations in relation to nature, food, militancy, oil spillage, climate change as well as other problems. She informed them that only twelve out of the lot will be selected irrespective of the student’s field be it science or art to be sent to Germany.

Adaba Ibim presented pictures, snapshots and drawings done by other students to depict what is happening in the world especially in the Niger Delta Area, a look of what is expected of them. Copies of art works were given to the students. She told them that the opportunity is open for everyone, and that they can have access to links to better equip them and to meet with people from different places.

Okonofua on his part advised the students to utilize this opportunity. See an outline of the exhibition announcement. He gave them the chance to ask questions on the issue.

A student asked, “Does the art work include sculptures?”

The answer, “drawings and snapshots expressing the crisis surrounding the Niger Delta Region is much more needed, and the presentation must be expressive. But then, the clay work for sculptures would be the entry in which judgement will be passed”.

The next student questioned, “Are there specific sizes for the work?”

In response, he told them that a format will be given. For 2D works the size is ½ imperial and for 3D works that is sculptures 30cl.

Yet another student asked, “Is it restricted to art inclined students alone? And when will it start?”

“It is not restricted to art students but then, the person must have a creative mind. As for the commencement, it has started and will end on the last Saturday of September, 2010 for submission, he answered.

Further, he advised them not to bring in already made work from another person but to do it themselves and that during the presentation, there must be convincing evidence that it was done by the student. Therefore, they should have mental preparation and develop their sketches.

“What about those presenting snapshots and what would be the size of their presentation?” asked a student.

The reply was that there must be a composition to back it up. As for the size, it must not be as small as a passport. Okonofua informed them that, the presentation would only last between three to four hours for the student to do the finishing.

Another student asked, “Can one bring many sketches?”

He answered, yes, but only one presentation will be made. For the competition, it is one artist one work.

“Since sculptures takes much time, can one come with a sketch?” a student asked.

The answer was, yes, but not finished work.

Another question raised was, “what if one's imagination is bigger than the specified size?”

“Then the student should reduce it to correspond with the required size”, he answered.

At the end of the question and answer session, a student from University of Uyo expressed gratitude to the frontiers for the programme. He acknowledged that the problems especially in the Niger Delta Area have been a hit and as such, information on them would be better portrayed pictorially. Additionally, he advised the science students not to be intimidated, that as long as one has a creative mind, the person can present something good.

They were informed that the presentation date will be the 30th of October 2010, time 10:00am and the venue will be communicated to them through their email addresses. Hence, they wrote down their phone numbers and email addresses to receive further information. At the end of the programme, Dr. A. T. Ibim thanked all the students for honouring the invitation and urged them to go back and start preparing their work for the d-day.

The programme was concluded with a closing prayer by a student of University of Port Harcourt; she thanked God for the success of the forum, and prayed that He should give them great ideas to portray the problems in Niger Delta and their solutions in their works. Also for long life in behalf of all. That was followed by some group photographs.

The exhibition preparation meanwhile is attracting wider interest. Invitations are being sent out also to potential sponsors to ensure good awareness and participation in promoting the motto of the event: 'Arts a Substitute for Guns'.


Preparing the secondary school segment of the exhibition - Oromenike Girls Secondary School

This is Oromenike Girls Secondary School in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Nigeria. The entry is protected.

View of the court yard of the school.

Pupils of the Oromenike Girls Secondary School listening while Adaba Ibim tells them all about the Mundus maris Initiative, particularly the planned exhibition. They pay much attention as Adaba explains how they can take part and why this could be of interest to them.

At the end of the session, Adaba chats with the teachers of the school.

Others in the scene, though not pictured are Ineba Bobmanuel, a Mundus maris Associate, and Solomon, Davis Chris and Amadi Christian, all of the Agricultural Support Foundation.

Six School Preparation Marathon

12 October 2010 was the school visit marathon for Dr. Adaba T. Ibim, her collaborators of the Agricultural Support Foundation, and Brenda Ogosi, all Mundus maris associates. Together they visited five secondary schools to alert them about activities of Mundus maris in support of sustainable seas and more specifically about the exhibition of artistic works scheduled for 30 October. The key message was to invite the schools to participate in this forthcoming exhibition inspired by the motto 'Arts a Substitute for Guns'. The schools newly visited were Elekahia Senior Secondary School, Montess Junior Highschool, Faith International College and Niger Grammar School. The team also paid a repeat visit to Oromenike Girls Secondary Highschool and Brenda Osogi visited Stella Maris Secondary School, all in Port Harcourt.

Tammy Solomon sent this summary account of the effort. The first school visited was Elekahia Secondary School. During the visit, Dr. Mrs. A.T. Ibim introduced the Mundus maris Initiative to the Vice Principal (Academics) of the school, highlightinng the activities already carried out and planned. She also showed the flyers and the internet website. She underlined the purpose of the visit, namely to introduce the youngsters to sustainability principles and give them the opportunity to participate in an exhibition for youth arts work. The winners might have their work shown in Germany in an international exhibition scheduled for next year. Handshakes were exchanged with the Principal in his office and Dr. A.T. Ibim gave some further explanations of the thrust of the Mundus marisInitiative and its next activities in Nigeria.

She showed how Nigerian groups had already participated in earlier occasions and that extending participation would open new networking opportunities for the schools and the youth.

The Principal and his two Vice-Principals were quite interested in the planned activities and agreed to encourage the participation particularly of the senior pupils of their school in the forthcoming activities.

Some of the interested youngsters posed for a photo in the Principal's office together with their agriculture teacher.

The premises of Elekahia Senior Secondary School consist of ground floor class rooms (only partially visible on the photo) and an administrative and teachers building.

Tammy, Davies and Christian from the Agricultural Support Foundation are the indefatigable team sustaining much of the efforts, taking notes, photos and otherwise supporting preparations. Photos are by Davies and Christian.

Next in line of the visits was Faith International School, Niger Grammar School and a revisit of Oromenike Girls Secondary School. The typical format of the visits was to inform the principals and interested teachers and then show the pupils examples of past Mundus maris works so that they could get an idea for themselves that participation in the forthcoming activities would open networking opportunities for them as well.

The demonstrations of the Mundus maris website were particularly popular.

While the kids were exploring the website, Dr. A.T. Ibim could discuss with the arts and agriculture teachers the short-term and longer-term prospects of cooperation.

Having taken in and discussed the information and forthcoming activities, interested pupils posed for a picture.

Next in line for a visit was Niger Grammar School. Adaba and her team again showed the Mundus maris information materials and invited the principal, teachers and pupils to engage actively in the forthcoming activities, particularly the exhibition end of the month.

A number of pupils were quickly fired up and showed interest in participating, encouraged also by their Principal and arts and (female) agriculture teachers.

To close an intensive visit, the Principal and interested teachers pose for a picture with Adaba, looking forward to the concrete preparations and the exhibition itself.

The same dynamics was at work in the other schools visited by Adaba and Ineba. After this whirlwind information day, the next challenge is to stock up with materials for the painting and other artistic works for D-day and create good conditions for the young people to act out their creativity. The results can soon be seen on this website.