Acclaimed arts collector, Engr. Yemisi Shyllon, has acquired the artwork of ‘Ori Agbe’, a poem that popular performance poet, Akeem Lasisi, dedicated to the Nobel laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka.
Shyllon did so at the maiden edition of African Citations, an exhibition of poetic tributes that Lasisi recently held in Lagos.
The founder of the Omoba Yemisi Adedoyin Shyllon Arts Foundation has forwarded the artwork to Soyinka.
According to him, the poem is grand and captures the essence of Soyinka’s enviable journey in literature and humanity.
Shyllon described the African Citations exhibition as innovative, saying Lasisi had initiated something unique in Nigeria’s arts history.
“Akeem Lasisi has given us a distinct genre for which we must all commend and support him. His is an excellent mind that is always producing novel ideas and helping our arts and culture towards newer directions. I thus congratulate him and assure him of my continued support.”
Many lovers of Lasisi’s poetry and other stakeholders had gathered at the MUSON Centre, venue of the event, where the colourful and inspiring poetry artworks were displayed.
READ ALSO: Ondo: Aiyedatiwa makes new appointments
They included those dedicated to legendary writers and entertainers such as Soyinka, professors Chinua Achebe and Niyi Osundare, Taiwo Ajai-Lycett, Angelique Kidjo and Genevieve Nnaji; Sudanese-British business mogul, Mo Ibrahim; and his Nigerian counterparts such as Aliko Dangote, Femi Otedola, Mike Adenuga and Folorunso Alakija.
Others who got poetry tributes were top educationists, Aare Afe Babalola and Professor Ayobami Salami; media leaders, Chief Ajibola Ogunshola; Mr Adeyeye Joseph; Mr Steve Ayorinde; Mr Dotun Oladipo and Ayeni Adekunle.
From other corporate settings are Funso Aina and Omobolanle Victor-Laniyan, while The Punch, The Guardian, Access Bank, the First Technical University, MTN and Nigeria LNG also have poems dedicated to them.
From the public service, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State, the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency’s Chairman, Buba Marwa; and the Commissioner for Information in Lagos State, Gbenga Omotoso, also have poems dedicated to them.
Beneficiaries from the entertainment sector include Angelique Kidjo, Taiwo Ajai-Lycett, Kunle Afolayan, Genevieve Nnaji and Mike Dada.
Also speaking at the event anchored by actor and culture activist, Ropo Ewenla, where Lasisi and his Songbirds troupe – alongside Edaoto – performed, Omotoso said the poet had enriched Africa’s poetic legacy.
He noted that Lasisi had also been exceptional even as a journalist, adding that the values that African Citations projected reflect those defining the philosophy, policy and programmes of the Sanwo-Olu administration.
Joseph, who is the Managing Director of Punch Nigeria Limited, recalled how Lasisi had always projected his poetic talent even as a journalist with ‘The PUNCH’.
He noted that the company’s management had always supported him and was with him on the African Citations project too.
In his welcome address, the poet, who is the producer of popular videos like EELELETURE and UDEME, said the exhibition aimed at expanding the utility value of poetry.
He said it brought the verse close to the people, bringing all and sundry under the canopy of performance poetry.
Lasisi said, “On the one hand, African Citations celebrates the honourees’ contributions to the advancement of humanity. On the other, it further takes poetry out of the usual context so that more people can see and feel its beauty. We are presenting the tributes in a multimedia form: artworks, musical, video and live performance.”
Other top media personalities in attendance included CORA founders, Mr Jahman Anikulapo and Mr Toyin Akinosho; Dr Yinka Oyegbile; Mr Steve Ayorinde; Dr Lasisi Olagunju; Mr Dotun Oladipo; Dr Kabir Alabi-Garba; Mr Bamidele Johnson;Mr Olumide Iyanda; Mr Tosin Ajirire; Dr Shaibu Husseini; Bemigho Awala; Sewedo Nipowaku; Bukola Adebayo; Akinpelu Dada; Pastor Sule Kehinde; Mr Funso Arogundade and Dr Bisi Deji-Folutile.