A new literary festival has joined the African literary scene! The Ibom International Art and Book Festival is a new initiative that makes space for African writers to showcase their work and meet new audiences.
The Ibom Art and Book Festival, an initiative of the non governmental organization Inspire Community Network (ICON), was founded in 2022 with the aim of “dismantling stereotypes that have caught minorities in a web of misrepresentation.”
The inaugural festival edition is themed “Reclaim and Redefine: The Artist and the Art.” The festival theme attempts “to bridge the gap in the representation of artists and arts in books and art festivals around the world.”
As noted in a press statement, the festival organizers seek to center minority voices by fostering a global space where writers from Akwa Ibom can engage with writers from other parts of the world.
We are as interested in undiscovered art and artists as much as the celebrated ones. We are interested in Benin’s art while exploring Ijaw’s creative talents. We are interested in creative writers from Akwa Ibom while celebrating creative artists from Ebonyi and Calabar. We are celebrating voices from Trinidad and Kenya while featuring artists from Albania and South Africa. We are interested in Australian sculptors while featuring artists from Cameroon and Uganda. We are interested in reclaiming to redefine misrepresented and underrepresented identities in mainstream representation of minorities, and it begins with one artist and art and one story and a writer.
Another objective of the festival is to foster a space where diverse interests in literature can converge. For three days, “poets, musicians, artists, dancers, filmmakers, actors, students, book lovers, entrepreneurs, vendors, cultural enthusiasts, and thinkers” will come together under the banner of their love for books and art.
The three-day festival is scheduled to take place in Uyo, the capital city of Akwa Ibom State in South-Southern Nigeria. It will feature a range of activities including panel discussions, book chats, art exhibitions, workshops, book fair, vendors exchange, documentaries, exhibitions, poetry performances, concerts, etc.
Confirmed guests include acclaimed authors such as the Liberian-Dutch writer Vamba Sherrif, the Nigerian writers A. Igoni Barret and Iquo Dianabasi, the cartoonist and critic Mike Asukwo, and the American author and activist Nadia Hashimi, as well as a host of emerging and established writers and artists. Each festival day will begin with a keynote address by a special speaker.