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Seun Awobajo: Why we are hosting Bariga Photo Festival

Timothy Sirma

Sept. 20, 2019

Olamide Babatunde
Bariga isn’t one of the most beautiful places to think about in Lagos. It doesn’t echo great affluence neither is it the worst kind of slum that could come to mind, but the Lagos suburb is just bad news to some.
Spurred by the need to change the negative narratives about Bariga, celebrated theatre director and choreographer, Seun Awobajo, is set to showcase the diverse talents that abound in Bariga, through a photography exhibition tagged “Bariga Photo Festival”.
The festival is scheduled to hold on October 24, 2019, and is the climax of the eight-month long photography workshop. It is an offspring of the #MyBarigaMyPride# initiative championed by Footprints of David with the full support of the Bariga Local Council Development Area.
Awobajo, the founder/artistic director of the Bariga-based acclaimed Footprints of David Art Academy, said, “This is the maiden edition of the photo festival, and is organised in partnership with Canon. Since February, we started the Bariga Photo School where we train youths on the art and act of photography. We have trained 20 adults and 20 children every month on the art of photography for free. We are going to continue this training till October where we are going to have an exhibition in celebration of Bariga Photo Festival.”
He observes Canon sent its representatives to train youths on the different genres of photography, stressing that the Photo Festival was initiated with the urge to rewrite the story of the Bariga community and its environs.
According to him, the festival, which is one of its empowerment programme, has trained over 600 persons in the last four months to become professional photographers. Awobajo further stated that the Bariga Photo Festival would take place at different locations in Bariga, where budding photographers and enthusiasts would exhibit their narrative realities in pictorial medium.
“Fundamentally, the festival is expected to be a melting pot where artists and enthusiasts meet on neutral ground to share ideas, innovation and capacities. Thus, “this maiden edition especially concentrates on the reciprocal energies of established photographers and emerging hot-blooded photographers and also how we could open the discussion of how to create a flexible and more egalitarian world within the existing global restrictions,” Awobajo said.
Undoubtedly, one of the few socially committed artists from Bariga, Awobajo, who was born and raised in Bariga, is the founder of Footprints of David, an art academy established over a decade ago. He said, “We teach toddlers and teenagers how to harness their creative side in form of arts, drama and dance.”
The group has enjoyed tremendous success over the years as evident in invitations to concerts and performance across Europe and Africa.
He said, “Footprints of David arts started as an after school Art Initiative since in 2005 to empower, especially disadvantaged children through the teaching and training of performance art in the sphere of theatre in dance, drama and music alongside its functional supportive departments.
“Over the years, we have run an Art academy that has trained amazing children. They are trained into professionals on creative-performance Art. I saw the need to leverage fun and arts to drive a better society. The objective is to put lasting smiles on people’s faces via the promotion and preservation of the rich culture of Nigeria.
“With over 50 children from the ages of 4 to 13 currently engaged, we have executed lots of outstanding projects independently. We have also performed at many state sponsored events. Our belief is that one of the key drivers for a better Africa is in the ability of children to grow in an environment of fun and strong morals.”
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