The venue was the Freedom Park, Lagos Island, Lagos, Nigeria. Before this place became what it is today – a place for theatrical performances, book readings, arts-related seminars, lectures and workshops – it was one of the prisons built by the colonial masters. Some of its inmates included one of the most popular anti-colonial fighters, premier of the Western region and sage, the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo. The event, on 5th June 2016, was the 25th anniversary of Nigeria’s most influential arts and culture organisation, the Committee for Relevant Arts (CORA).

The events that marked the celebration of this organisation that has contributed more than any other in directing the course of Nigeria’s art and culture industry was attended by several art lovers, artists, scholars, activists, sponsors, government representatives, foreign agencies and Non-Governmental Organisations. A major part of the celebration was a special Art Stampede, an event where all stakeholders engage with various issues that affect the development of the arts and culture industry.

This special edition of the stampede was to assess the impact of CORA as an organisation made up of “Cultural Landcapists” in Nigeria’s and indeed Africa’s arts and culture landscape. Present at the event were “big masquerades” such as Professor Duro Oni, Deputy Vice-Chancellor, University of Lagos; Dr. Rueben Abati, ace journalist, former university don, and former Special Assistant to President Goodluck Jonathan; Mr. Ben Tomoloju, playwright, culture activist and pioneer of arts journalism in Nigeria; Toni Kan, award-winning writer, Molara Wood, poet and novelist; Dr. Tunji Azeez, writer, critic and scholar;  Francis Onwuchie, ace Nollywood actor; Jumoke Verissimo, award-winning poet, and many more.

The event recognised the immense contributions of CORA to Nigeria’s culture industry with its highly impactful programmes. Most important of all is the encomium poured on the founders of CORA, Mr. Jahman Anikulapo and Mr. Toyin Akinoso, whose vision, industry and sacrifice have held CORA together for the past 25 years.

To learn more about CORA, visit their website.

This post was written by the author in their personal capacity.The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not reflect the view of The Theatre Times, their staff or collaborators.