Solanke, First Fe­male SAN, Makes Liv­ing leg­ends’ Por­trai­ture

The Guardian (Nigeria) - - VISUAL ARTS - By Ta­judeen Sowole

ANOT-FOR-PROFIT vis­ual doc­u­ment­ing ini­tia­tive, Liv­ing leg­end, has an­nounced Chief Fo­lake Solanke (SAN), as its 7th icon. Solanke is the first fe­male lawyer con­ferred with the hon­our of Se­nior Ad­vo­cate of Nige­ria for her le­gal con­tri­bu­tion to the so­cio-eco­nomic and po­lit­i­cal sphere in Nige­ria. Or­gan­is­ers of Liv­ing Leg­end, Olu Ajayi Stu­dio stated that on Thurs­day, Au­gust 31, 2017 at Bodija area, Ibadan, Oyo State, Solanke, at­tired in silk re­galia, sat in a com­fort­able pos­ture be­fore five artists. Taiwo Fadare, Oluse­gun Ade­jumo, Aki­nola Ebenezer, Toro­made Tosin and Olu Ajayi were the five artists, who ex­pressed their artis­tic in­ter­pre­ta­tion of her sit­ting pro­file from dif­fer­ent per­spec­tives. Cu­ra­tor and Busi­ness Man­ager of Liv­ing leg­end pro­ject, Eki Eboigbe, said it was an hon­our to re­ceive Solanke’s ac­cep­tance to sit for the sev­enth edi­tion.

In 2008, the pro­ject started with doc­u­ment­ing per­son­al­i­ties, who are mak­ing great im­pact and cre­at­ing le­gendary foot­prints that will make for schol­arly and artis­tic ref­er­ences at all time. The for­mat em­ploys the medium of draw­ing, paint­ing, sketch­ing and sculpt­ing to cre­ate and im­mor­talise per­son­al­i­ties that fit into ‘Leg­end’ def­i­ni­tion of the or­gan­is­ers. It is the hope of or­gan­is­ers that the process of high­light­ing the deeds and ac­com­plish­ments of Nige­rian, African, and in­ter­na­tional icons would ig­nite the spirit of em­u­la­tion and re-awake na­tional con­scious­ness, his­tory and pa­tri­o­tism among cit­i­zens.

“It will lo­cate the in­ter­ces­sion and in­ter­ven­tion of the arts in na­tional de­velop- ment,” she said.

So far, the pro­ject has doc­u­mented the un­der listed per­son­al­i­ties - Prof. Wole Soyinka, Prof. Yusuf Grillo, Dr. Bruce Ono­brakpeya and the late Oba of Benin ( Omo n’oba n’edo, uku Akpolokpolo, Oba Ere­di­auwa), Prof. JP Clark and Gen­eral Yakubu Gowon.

Dur­ing the sev­enth edi­tion, Solanke said it was a unique ex­pe­ri­ence for her to be part of the pro­ject. She prayed that good for­tunes would at­tend the Liv­in­gle­gend in­no­va­tion. “I’m very elated to be in­cluded on the same pedestal to the pre­vi­ous doc­u­mented leg­ends, the likes of Prof. Wole Soyinka, Prof. Yusuf Grillo, Dr. Bruce Ono­brakpeya and the Oba of Benin, Prof. JP Clark and Gen­eral Yakubu Gowon.”

She then posed a per­sonal ques­tion to the ini­tia­tor, ask­ing how the pro­ject was be­ing funded? Ajayi said fund­ing has been a sore point in the unique pro­ject, as cor­po­rate Nige­ria is yet to see its vi­a­bil­ity, say­ing it was only in­ter­ested in short-term projects that yield huge prof­its. Ajayi ex­plained that though the pro­ject re­ceived fund­ing from NNPC for the Yakubu Gowon edi­tion, all other edi­tions have been funded by the stu­dio.

SOLANKE was born in Abeokuta on Tues­day, March 29, 1932 to the il­lus­tri­ous fam­ily of Chief Ja­cob Sog­boyega Odu­late, also known as Alabukun of Iko­rodu, who made his name and fame in Abeokuta. He was a phar­ma­cist and the pro­pri­etor and founder of Alabukun Pa­tent Medicine Stores, Sapon, Abeokuta. Her father was the in­ven­tor and man­u­fac­turer of Alabukun pow­der and many other med­i­cal prod­ucts. His pho­to­graph is de­picted on the popular Alabukun pow­der sa­chet. Her mother, Seku­made Odu­late died young when she was only two years old.

Solanke at­tended kinder­garten and pri­mary at Ago-oko School and Imo Girls’ School re­spec­tively. In 1944, she sat for the en­trance ex­am­i­na­tion into Methodist Girls’ High School, La­gos. Hav­ing passed with a spec­tac­u­lar re­sult, she was placed in Form II in­stead of Form I. She at­tended Methodist Girls’ High School from 1945 to 1949, where she ob­tained Grade I in the Se­nior Cam­bridge School Cer­tifi­cate Ex­am­i­na­tion and was a School Pre­fect and Games Cap­tain. Solanke worked for a few months in a min­istry in La­gos and found the cler­i­cal work un­bear­ably bor­ing; she was re­lieved when she left the min­istry. She then left for the United King­dom in Jan­uary and en­tered King’s Col­lege, New­cas­tle-upon-tyne, then in the Univer­sity of Durham, now Univer­sity of New cas­tel-upon-tyne, from 1951 to 1955, where she ob­tained B.A. de­gree and Diploma in Ed­u­ca­tion, teach­ing Latin and Math­e­mat­ics, as a res­i­dent teacher in two fee-pay­ing pub­lic schools: i) Pipers Corner School, Great King­shill, High Wy­combe, Bucks, and ii) St. Mon­ica’s School, Clac­ton-on-sea, Es­sex.

One of the doc­u­ment­ing artists, with Chief (Mrs.) Fo­lake Solanke in the back­ground at the 7th edi­tion of Liv­in­gle­gends

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