The city of Ibadan is famous as the centre of Nigerian culture and literature. Many of the greatest names in Nigeria’s arts and culture history cut their teeth in the city. From Christopher Okigbo to Wole Soyinka to Femi Osofisan to Niyi Osundare to John Pepper Clark, the list is long and impressive. Added to these venerable names are the various cultural troupes and icons including Mbari Mbayo and Baba Sala to mention just two.
Sadly, the socio-economic decline in various facets of Nigerian life did not leave the arts and culture space untouched. And Ibadan’s vibrant arts and culture life was no exception. Gone are the Art Centres, cultural troupes and iconic art personalities who called the city home, thus leaving a deep vacuum.
It is this vacuum that Tunde Odunlade, a world-renowned Art and Culture professional, seeks to fill. On Thursday 10th of December 2020, he gathered some notable names in the Arts community to formally open the eponymous Tunde Odunlade Arts and Culture Connexions, an avant-garde cultural centre in the city.
Housed in a suitably designed multi-storey rotunda building, and located in New Bodija in the city’s middle class neighbourhood, the Centre aims to serve as the new base of art and culture activities in Ibadan. It will host year round arts exhibitions, regular entertainment, drama, poetry recitals, book reading, and dance. The ecosystem designed to support the Center will include refreshment facilities serving both palm-wine and more conventional food and drinks.
At the opening, Speaker after speaker, including Professor Femi Osofisan, Dr Yemi Farombi, Prof Bolanle Awe, Mrs Catherine Ade-Ajayi (widow of Prof Jacob Ade-Ajayi) and Mr Ademola Aderinto, Special Assistant to and representative of the Oyo State Governor, lauded the initiative and prayed that the Centre will lead the charge to return Ibadan to its glory days. The hope shared by all is that it will help to rejuvenate the interest in the arts, a sector that has proven to be one of Nigeria’s great exports to the world.
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