The exhibition, which had about 34 artworks on display, was declared open by Dr Kunle Filani at Thought Pyramid, Norman Williams, Ikoyi, Lagos.
The festival’s 15th edition, majorly sponsored by MTN Foundation, features competition and exhibition of works by young talents in the Nigerian art landscape.
LIMCAF which boasts of the largest gathering of young artists, patrons, scholars, gallery owners and other stakeholders in the visual arts in Nigeria, would hold its grand finale on Oct. 29 in Enugu.
While declaring the exhibition open, Dr Filani, an artist, commended the Executive Director, Mr Kevin Ejiofor for his dedication and support of art.
Filani said it was rare to see someone so committed to the promotion of visual arts and that Mr Ejiofor was a symbol of hope for artists.
He added that promotion of young artists was critical, which was one of the things the festival and the exhibition would help to achieve.
“Promotion of young artists is critical to our environment and this exhibition would give them more opportunities to compete and transient to international level which is very significant.
“Art and creativity gives you the space to participate in a lot of things. I am happy with what I see today and I commend the artists for their interpretation which is key in the skill of an artist,” he said.
The Director, MTN Foundation, Mr Dennis Okoro, also said that MTN Foundation was always committed to promoting young talents, one of which was the festival.
Mr Okoro said MTN Foundation granted young Nigerians scholarships to study abroad and they came back to Nigeria to practise in the art sector after their studies.
He further urged the artists whose artworks were displayed, to be courageous and never feel intimidated by other professions.
“Whenever you come to the realm of art, know that you are the best creative talent nature can have. Never you feel inferior to any profession.
“You are creative and you not winning this competition doesn’t reduce your creativity.”
The Executive Director, (LIMCAF) Mr Kevin Ejiofor, said the festival would help make young artists proud to be called artists and also help them make a living from their creativity.
He, however, acknowledged the low turn-out by artists which he described as a result of students not being in school due to the ASUU strike, and also sponsors just recovering from the effects of COVID-19.
“Having 270 entries instead of about 400 entries is a low turn-out. It is a great concern for us but we are lucky MTN came to our rescue.
“Art is a way of life and everybody appreciates it, if not, how do you choose the colour of your clothes or the style of your hair.
“It’s just that not everyone knows how to manifest it. Art is not just the hanging on the wall, that hanging on the wall is an interpretation of the life the artist lives by bringing it closer to make a meaning out of it.” he said.
The Executive Director further urged the media to also support art by giving it enough space for adequate interpretation to the public.
The Art Director (LIMCAF), Mr Ayo Adewunmi, also said the low turn-out was due to the strike as the entry for the festival was driven through the schools which are all closed.
Adewunmi said the local juries will select 14 of the 34 artworks to join the 100 that would be competing at the Grand Finale in Abuja.
“This is the 15th edition and there are lots of activities aside the exhibition which are the grand finale exhibition, festival lecture and workshop for 400 selected students.” he said.
One of the artists, Samuel Abidemi whose artwork is titled “Idi Ileke”, said it was an interpretation of festival theme which depicts the pain a woman goes through but with mouth to express it.
Joseph Osundipe said his artwork titled “Silence is Golden”, depicts a woman who chose silence over words that could later lead to regrets of spoken words.
Mariam Aliyu with artwork titled “The Caged Bird”, said her painting was that of a girl who had a lot written over her face which she could not express but carried hope in her heart.