IFRA/WORDOC Art Performance: "Hear Word! Naija Women Talk True"
Wednesday July 12, 3-5pm, Draper's Hall, UI
On Wednesday 12th of July 2017, iOpenEye Ltd, the Institut Francais of Nigeria, IFRA Nigeria and the Women Research and Documentation Centre (WORDOC) were pleased to present “HEAR WORD! Naija Women Talk True” in Draper’s Hall, Institute of African Studies, University of Ibadan.
HEAR WORD! is an innovative performance that addresses real-life issues experienced by Nigerian women. The performance, inspired by the famous Vagina Monologues, examines an array of cultural and societal norms oppressing women in Nigeria through comic and tragic situations that constantly shift the audience from laughter to tears. It incorporates dancing and singing into scenes of intense and thought-provoking monologues. It manages to deal elegantly with sensitive topics like physical and psychological domestic violence and female economic independence and leadership.
The performance was displayed in a light version of about 45mn. A longer version with sophisticated light and sound effects travelled all over the world and will be shown again in August in Lagos. The piece is directed by Ifeoma Fafunwa, author, writer and creative director of iOpenEye Limited, an art Production Company based in Lagos and addressing societal change through theatre, film and television works. HEAR WORD! Presentation in Ibadan was part of a tour funded by the Institut Français of Nigeria, comprising also Abuja and Enugu. The cast includes some of Nigeria’s most promising talents. Ufuoma McDermott, Debbie Ohiri, Omonor Somolu, Oluchi Tochukwu and Zara Udofia-Ejoh demonstrated their skills in a riveting show that dazzled the audience of students and University staff from various departments of the University of Ibadan. They were accompanied by drummers Blessing Akpofure and Emeka Anokwuru who added a fine musical touch.
The performance was followed by a panel discussion about women issues in Nigeria and art as a platform for women empowerment. The panel gathered Ifeoma Fafunwa, Dr. Sola Olorunyomi from the Media and Cultural Studies Dr. Seun Olutayo from the Gender Studies,the Institute of African Studies, but also Mrs Bisi Ogungbesan from the WORDOC..
The discussion, moderated by Dr. Emilie Guitard from IFRA Nigeria, enabled the speakers and the audience to delve into the sensitive themes of HEAR WORD! and to connect them to theoretical issues and personal experiences of women issues in Nigeria and beyond. Questions addressed encompassed distinctions between gender equity and equality, perspectives for woman empowerment in a challenging context in Nigeria or the legacy of colonial mindsets in gender issues. The audience wildly enthusiastic thanked the stage director and the cast by a standing ovation at the end of the performance, and voiced loudly its approbation of the performance and the points made by Director Ifeoma Fafunwa and the academic panelistsduring the discussion.