LABAF 2019 Press Release — Honourees

September 9, 2019


– To Celebrate Life and times of recently departed members of the arthouse

The Committee for Relevant Art, CORA directorate is pleased to announce her “Arthouse Honourees” for the 2019 Lagos Book & Art Festival, LABAF scheduled to take place from 4-10 November 2019 at the Freedom Park, Lagos.

It is the 21st edition of the week-long annual “feast of Life and Ideas”, which critics have dubbed the “biggest culture picnic on the continent;” and the theme is “EMERGE… Breaking into the NEW.”

The idea of the yearly conferment of Honours on select members of the culture producing community is to formally acknowledge the immense contributions of each of the honourees to the development of the creative sector;  essentially to spotlight them as role models to the robust tribe of younger artists, many of who indeed owe their career and successes to the generous selfless giving(s) of the honourees’ intellectual, moral and material resources. The honour is,  however, conferred on such individuals as they each attain a milestone in their lives, starting from those clocking 60s and above.

The honourees for the year are:

The Octogenarians:

  1. Wole Soyinka at 85 – Dramatist, Director
  2. Tunji Oyelana at 80 – Musician, culture activist

The 60s Club:

  1. Theo Lawson – architect, culture activist
  2. Segun Ojewuyi – theatre director, teacher
  3. Mahmood Ali-Balogun – theatre artiste, filmmaker
  4. Moji Bamtefa – theatre artiste, arts manager
  5. Tope Babayemi – arts administrator, activist
  6. Norbert Young – actor, acting teacher
  7. Jerry Buhari – painter, fine arts teacher
  8. George Ufot – arts administrator
  9. Edmond Enaibe – actor, art activist
  10. Kunle Adeyemi – visual artist, teacher


Celebrating the Departed:

The 2019 LABAF dedicated to the memory of the renowned printmaker, David Herbert Lawrence who passed on —  will also remember and celebrate the life and times of notable members of the artistic and culture community, who passed on in the course of the year. These include:

Bisi Silva (art curator); Okwui Enwezor (art curator and historian). Paul Emema (Scriptwriter, Film Producer); Pius Adesanmi (culture activist and scholar); Eddie Ugbomah (filmmaker and art activist);  Molara Ogundipe (Literature teacher culture scholar); Stella Oyedepo (playwright, Arts administrator); Jide Ogungbade (theatre director and broadcaster); Frank Okonta (filmmaker and art patron); Idowu Nubi (film editor).




Kennii Ekundayo

Communications Manager, CORA/LABAF ǀ +234(0)7062438726



Described as ‘Africa’s biggest cultural picnic,’ LABAF is a week-long comprehensive open-air carnivalesque ‘feast of Life and Ideas’ featuring a mix-grill of artistic and cultural events  including: exhibitions of books and arts,  live reading sessions; conversations around books; seminars on visual, performing and allied arts; displays of paintings, sculptures, mixed media, installations and crafts; children and youths art workshops; live music, poetry, drama and dance presentations among others. Preceding the last three (weekend) days of the weeklong event is a four-day Pre-Festival series of events which include a Publishers’ Forum, Writers’ workshops and Book Treks (writers’ visits to schools and engagement with pupils). Overall, it is a carnivalesque atmosphere created to make books look cool.

More at



The Committee for Relevant Art is a group of artistes, art enthusiasts, art promoters and art writers committed to the development of the Arts of Nigeria and their enabling environment.

MISSION: To Create an Enabling Environment for the Flourishing of the Contemporary Arts of Nigeria and the Continent.

VISION: To Make Art & Culture the Prime Destination for Investment in Nigeria and Africa by 2018.

DEFINITION: We Are ‘Cultural Landscapists. The CORA is the Winner of the Prince Claus Award, 2006.

Aside the prime programme, the Lagos Book & Art Festival (LABAF), the CORA’s projects include the quarterly Art Stampede, the quarterly publication, Lagos The City Arts Guide, the annual Lagos Open Air Cinema Carnival; and the periodic CORA Book Party (with its extended yearly collaborative version with the Nigeria Prize for Literature, NPL as endowed by the NigeriaLNG).  CORA also collaborates with other artistes, activists and enthusiasts to organise the annual Lagos Comics Carnival; the Great Highlife (Revival) Party (Elders’ Forum). Recently, the CORA launched its monthly BookTrek series, which has run eight editions so far in the course of the year. 

The CORA continues to seek out, tend, groom and harvest the best of the old and emerging arts of Nigeria.



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