Access ‘Mirrors the Master’

Herbert Wigwe, Group Managing Director/CEO, Access Bank Plc

In continuation of its support for Nigerian art and as part of its effort to project it on the global stage, Access Bank Plc has come up with another initiative targeted at the young called ‘Mirror the Master’

Bolanle Babatunde, head, Corporate Social Responsibility of the bank and coordinator of the initiative, explained the motive behind the project thus: “We have a strong vision to make a difference by developing the art masters of tomorrow. These young ones will be exposed to the Masters and gain inspiration from the works of the Masters who are celebrated from time to time.”

London based not-for-profit arts organisation, Kambani Arts headed by Chima Ezeilo will implement the initiative involving a workshop and exhibition session with children between the ages of nine and 16 for Access Bank.

The initiative started in Osogbo, Osun State on October 14 with children selected from secondary and primary schools reviewing the works of the late Ben Enwonwu, who is the selected master for the maiden edition, to produce their own works.

Apart from Osogbo where renowned bead painter, Jimoh Buraimoh interacted with the children, the three-day programme comprising workshop, excursion to art centres and exhibition of the works produced by participants  will also hold in Benin, Nsukka and Zaria zones.

10 participants drawn from public and private schools in the zones will work under the guidance of art teachers and a living art master. The Ben Enwonwu Foundation will provide research materials, information and some works by the artist to aid the work of the children during the sessions. Oliver Enwonwu, son of the late artist says of the project: “We are pleased to support the programme and we have no doubt that this initiative would go far in encouraging creativity in our youth and ensuring that they become the true Masters of tomorrow.  ”


Artist El Dragg Okwoju facilitated the session at the Benin zone from October 26 to 28. The children’s workshop will hold at the National Museum, Benin on the first day; they will visit Igun Street bronze makers on the following day, while their works will be displayed at the Oba Akenzua 11 Cultural Centre on the last day.

The Nsukka zone workshop will hold from January 18 – 20, 2010. Participants will work under the guidance of artist El Anatsui and others at the Department of Fine and Applied Arts.

Renowned Osogbo artist, Nike Davies Okundaye will facilitate the session in Zaria, Kaduna State from January 25 – 27, 2010. The children’s workshop will hold at the Department of Fine Arts, Ahmadu Bello University the first day; and they will visit the Emir of Zazzau’s Palace the following day.

Judges will select three winners from each zone, while a private viewing of the 20 best works produced by the children during the workshops will hold at the Nike Art Centre and Gallery, Lekki, Lagos on March 1, 2010. A public exhibition of the works will open the same day and run till March 6.

The overall winner of the competition to be selected by a panel of judges will be announced the same day. The winner and his/her guardian will go on a visit to London where they will be chaperoned by artist Chinwe Roy. They will visit the Tate Modern and Hayward Gallery and the Marlborough House to view Ben Enwonwu and Roy’s commissioned sculpture and painting of Queen Elizabeth.