Adire Her­itage Fes­ti­val… A Lift For Nige­ria’s Indige­nous Tex­tile In­dus­try

The Guardian (Nigeria) - - HERITAGE - By Eni­fome Ukodie

WHILE Nige­ri­ans at home still shame­lessly ape and pa­tro­n­ise for­eign prod­ucts with­out putting any pre­mium on in­her­ited, indige­nous prod­ucts, much less rais­ing their pro­files to in­ter­na­tional stan­dard, those in the Di­as­pora are singing a con­trary, heart­warm­ing tune. The Adire Her­itage Fes­ti­val, which ended last Sun­day at Free­dom Park, bore out the Di­as­pora’s pas­sion and aware­ness that look­ing home-wards, both for cul­tural and eco­nomic re-engi­neer­ing, is how Amer­ica and Europe con­quered the world, with soft power and turned Africans to be poor mir­ror-im­ages of the west.

This year’s fes­ti­val, the se­cond, was aimed at show­cas­ing Yoruba tex­tile, adire, her­itage on a global plat­form through fash­ion, mu­sic, life­style, po­etry, sculp­tures, dance, and food.

Ac­cord­ing to U.k.-based head or­gan­iser of the indige­nous tex­tile fest, Mr. Omo­tunde Ko­mo­lafe, the fes­ti­val, which holds yearly, both in Nige­ria and Europe, is a means to en­cour­ag­ing Nige­ri­ans in the Di­as­pora, who are do­ing great to come home to share their ideas and also give back to the com­mu­nity, where they were born. He also noted that Nige­ri­ans must be­gin to ap­pro­pri­ate their in­her­ited indige­nous cre­ativ­ity, knowl­edge sys­tems and prod­ucts, in­no­vate and mod­ernise them to suite cur­rent trends and profit from them the way the west does.

With gov­ern­ment talk­ing tourism and seek­ing new ways to gen­er­ate wealth for the coun­try away from oil, Ko­mo­lafe said, I” be­lieve this ( adire fes­ti­val) will be a good medium for tourism and wealth ac­qui­si­tion.”

The fes­ti­val turned out to be a call for the unity of all cul­tures, as it fea­tured a va­ri­ety of dis­plays from Nige­ria’s ma­jor tribes. Over 40 brands, com­pa­nies and ven­dors show­cased var­i­ous in­dige­nously fash­ioned wares that were pleas­antly unique on ac­count of the crafts­man­ship and in­no­va­tive­ness that went into their mak­ing. Ko­mo­lafe said although adire is a Yoruba indige­nous fab­ric, the sig­nif­i­cance of pro­mot­ing cul­ture through the fes­ti­val lies in its em­bod­i­ment of other Nige­rian cul­tures, a rep­re­sen­ta­tion of the whole and a medium to call at­ten­tion to other indige­nous cul­tural prod­ucts ly­ing fal­low all over the coun­try and still wait­ing to be har­nessed.

To qual­ify for a stand at this year’s fes­ti­val, ex­hibitors were ex­pected to have a run­ning busi­ness or brand with which they could show­case their brands that must also have some­thing orig­i­nal to Nige­ria or Africa. Some of the brands present were Crowngis, Ex­pres­sion, Vivid Arts Gallery, Eso­er­emo, Harpheez Art, Teranga Art Gallery, Great Sparkles1 Events, House of Lit­tle Trea­sures, among oth­ers.

While giv­ing her ex­pec­ta­tion of the fes­ti­val, CEO of House of Lit­tle Trea­sures, Nike De­nis, said: “I think that any­thing African is some­thing that sparks global in­ter­est. It sparkles within us, not to talk of the peo­ple that would come from other coun­tries for such fes­ti­val. Peo­ple have trav­elled far just to be here and I am re­ally ex­cited to be able to show­case all the beau­ti­ful things that we have here in Africa.”

Eri­ata Orib­ha­bor-led Po­ets in Nige­ria (PIN), a not-for-profit lit­er­ary ini­tia­tive de­signed to stim­u­late in­ter­est in po­etry writ­ing, read­ing and per­for­mances across the coun­try, was also part of the adire cul­tural fi­esta. Eleha Ibrahim, a mem­ber of the po­etry group, said Po­ets in Nige­ria were part­ner­ing with the or­gan­is­ers to show­case “what we have here in Nige­ria in terms of lit­er­a­ture, books, and spo­ken word per­for­mances. We want to eradi- cate the wrong idea that po­etry is lim­ited to only writ­ten forms. Po­etry in Nige­ria has been re­formed from what it used to be. Po­ets to­day have col­lab­o­ra­tions with mu­sic artistes, and po­etry has been gain­ing a very huge au­di­ence by fit­ting into var­i­ous as­pects of our so­ci­ety,” he said.

Po­ets in Nige­ria mem­bers per­formed pieces on the clos­ing day to spice up the cul­tural fest. Other mu­sic and per­for­mance con­certs were an ex­tra that added spice to the fes­ti­val. Mary Whyte and her band, an Igbo rap artiste, Chuka, with his afro-ge­nius swag that wooed the au­di­ence and Amarachi Atama, whose per­for­mance chants in Igbo struck a cord brought the fes­ti­val to a glo­ri­ous end. There were also Chuqa Ndu, Ben Priset, Vala Kids Dance Acad­emy and Womba Africa Drum­mers. Other high­lights in­cluded, fash­ion show, arts and crafts show, raf­fle draws, gele (head­gear) con­test, and hair show.

Ko­mo­lafe also ex­plained the sig­nif­i­cance of the iconic venue, Free­dom Park, to the fes­ti­val’s mis­sion. Ac­cord­ing to him: “The park has his­tor­i­cal value, as it was con­structed to pre­serve the his­tory and cul­tural her­itage of Nige­ri­ans. Free­dom Park has be­come a venue for di­verse so­cial events and recre­ational entertainment. A lot of peo­ple come in and out daily for a va­ri­ety of events at the Free­dom Park!”

Adire and bead stand at the fes­ti­val

Omo­tunde Ko­mo­lafe and Chief Frank Okonta, spot­ting adire, at a ses­sion dur­ing the fes­ti­val

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