Home ARTS & CULTURE The Rebirth Of Art And Onitsha Cultural Heritage.

The Rebirth Of Art And Onitsha Cultural Heritage.

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                                                                     OMA CREATIVE CIRCLE

 Onitsha kingdom is a commercial city positioned on the eastern bank of River Niger. It is endowed with lots of rich cultural heritage for ages of its existence. This kingdom is blessed in human and economic resources. It has produced personalities of high repute both in academics and artistic potentials. Especially in art field, we have celebrities like Odinigwe Prof. Ben Enwonwu, Okechukwu Odita and Oseloka Osadebe of Zaria Rebels fame, Paul Akpabona, Fred Okechukwu, Robison Egbuche, Pa John Okechukwu, and Chuma Uko Atuonah- a cultural Costume designer to name but a few.

This in view, motivated three creative minds namely Solomon Aniemena Ogbuli, Emma Ifeanyi Mbanefo and Frank Onyekwelu Atuonah to think and reason towards renkindling the light set by these men of honour. To reignite this fire of remarkable legacies of these great Onitsha sons, they initiated an idea towards an Art Movement. In 1990 they decided to form a creative and functional art forum named OMA Creative Circle. Onitsha, indigenous form of greeting is by embracing meaning love, welcoming, affection, acceptance, recognition, and reunion.

It is symbolically presented in the logo, which bears two figures fused together, curdled in embracing manner. OMA Creative Circle is a body of indigenous Onitsha Creative Practicing Artists. The aims and objectives are to rivive, reclaim and restore that natural potentials discovered in talents within the kingdom. To ensure continuity, to encourage and impact knowledge to the you younger generations, instilling sense of decency, values for cultural modernization and advancement within and outside this advent land of cultural revolution.

In 1991 April 27 the first Exhibition was held in the Palace of Obi of Onitsha. It was titled ITETEBITE INANAMINA Part 1. This is basically on Onitsha Mythologies. It means ages of discovery, cultural heritage, creativity and spiritual advancement. The Exhibition encompassed Wood Works, Mixed Media, Paintings, Beads and Pigments, Photography and Drawings.

Success of this pioneer outing was possible through the help of His Royal Majesty Obi Ofala Okagbue, Agbogidi, the Obi of Onitsha who allowed use of a space in his Palace, Moreso, Nnabuenyi P.O. Balonwu Esq (SAN) actively co-sponsored the Exhibition Brochure. Foster Okafor Izuna-Designer, Critic, Art Historian, Educator, and Author contributed immensely by accepting to write the introduction.

This grand Exhibition was in honour of Mr. J.P. La Page who was a retired Shell Nig. PLC. Director. It was graced by both Nigerians and Foreign dignitaries. Ever since then, OMA Creative Circle have participated in many Exhibitions in partnership with Society of Nigerian Artists Anambra State Chapter.

Enthronement of Obi Alfred Nnaemeka Mni. CFR, Agbogidi the Obi of Onitsha brought light, upliftment, hope and consolidation to this movement. Being a visionary leader, who is lover of art and Artists, he has been a great source of encouragement to this group. He has tried in many dimensions to expose the Onitsha Art and artists to a wider horizon. Through seminars, workshops, Exhibitions and symposiums he was able to create awaken spirits of art. His contributions and patronage both in cash and in kind is immeasurable. Agbogidi has given art and Artist place of existence, upliftment, continuity and value in Onitsha Kingdom and beyond. His vision, initiative and idea of setting up Chimedie Musuem will enhance and promote tourism, cultural emancipation and values by bringing the whole world down to Onitsha kingdom.

This symbolic revival body of Artists gave birth to Olokoto, Oraeze and Ndi Nka Onicha Ado N’idu. It is made up of vibrant, functional Artists of various art skills and efficiency. Frank Onyekwelu Atuonah inspired and led this group from 1990- 2021. Most recently as a facilitator, George Edozie relentlessly made motivational efforts to uplift and upgrade works of art. He also inspires members towards active participation in Exhibitions with respect to standard, techniques and material usage.

The group has been involved in promotion of cultural symbols and developmental aesthetic values through active participations in Exhibitions of both National and international status. OMA have been able to showcase Onitsha ethics and Socio- cutural values. Consequently, OMA stands to reclaim and restore dignity of Onitsha through the languages of art in order to foster cultural reformation, restoration of core values, and cultural advancement to regain past glory of this great kingdom.

                                                                                   ChuaUko Atuonah

                                                                            Frank Onyekwelu Atuonah

                                                                                    September 2023.                                                                     


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