A renowned Enugu Sculptor, Dr Okay Ikenegbu, on Wednesday exhibited 23 art works and pledged to mentor young sculptors in the state.
The exhibition which took place at the National Museum of Unity (NMU), Enugu, with the theme “After the Rain”, An Outdoor Exhibition of Sculptures by Okay Ikenegbu, had many dignitaries in attendance.
Showcasing his various arts work, Ikenegbu said he was able to make some success through the help of God, the master of all creativity.
According to him, “I thank God who gave me privilege and opportunity to achieve this great work and I dedicate this work to him alone.
“I began to draw at form 2 class and when I visited my father at Akure while on vacation, I littered his room with drawings.
“When my father saw it, he said, my son, ‘I will support and encourage you but you have to study art for you to be able to defend what you have drawn’.
“When I was leaving, my father loaded my bag with various art materials and this was how my journey to study art at Alvan Ikeoku College of Education began in 1978.
“This was what triggered me in doing this art work we are celebrating today,” Ikenegbu said.
Ikenegbu said he would use the exhibition to impact positively on the lives of the younger generation in the field of sculpture.
He said, “During the last year meeting of Sculptors’ Association of Nigeria, I told them that I am pregnant and do not want to die with it”.
“I want to offload it for the younger ones because God gave it to me. He gives me idea and directs me on how to use them,” he added.
He explained that he acquired some materials used with little support while he got others from materials he sees around.
Speaking at the event, the Curator, NMU, Enugu, Mr Aloysius Duru, said, “This is the first time in the advent of the museum that we are privileged to put in use the original space air marked for open exhibition within the complex.
Duru said he was overwhelmed with Joy when the erudite sculptor made proposal to use the space.
He, however, urged other artists to key into the platform to showcase their work, adding that the art work on display is for sale.
The Direction General, National Gallery of Arts (NGA), Mr Ebete Ivara, said that the outdoor exhibition of sculptures by Ikenegbu is a product of consistency, ingenuity, passion and creativity.
“We hope this particular exhibition will form foundation upon which younger artists will be motivated to put in more effort in their practice,” he said.
Ivara, represented by the Curator, NGA, Enugu, Mrs Pat Nkwocha, however, noted that the exhibition would help to rekindle and stimulate the skill inherent on individuals irrespective of their various areas of specialisation.
He, therefore, pleaded with Ikenegbu to think towards initiating annual workshop to redress the fast- disappearing creative skills among younger sculptors in the South-East.