Festival Press Release!
The Edo Global Royal Art and Culture Canada (EGRACC) and their African continental partners are putting finishing touches to the hosting of this year’s Global Black Festival of Arts and Culture Canada (GBFACC) in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Speaking ahead of the event billed for this summer, Jackson Osamede Igbinosun, Co-founder / Operations Director Edo Global Royal Art & Culture, said the festival’s city-in-focus is the Great Benin Kingdom and “the theme of the conference segment is Great Benin Kingdom: A Quintessence of Ancient Civilization.”
He disclosed that one of the aims of the festival is to provide a platform to draw attention on the need for preserving and promoting African arts and culture, specifically the Edo (Benin) arts and culture. He added that the festival will also be an avenue for holding conversations and building dialogues on issues of diversity, humanity against racism, harmonious living, gender, and multiculturalism. “This is more so because culture requires continuous updating and renewal to ensure that the global march of civilization is constantly lubricated for the common good of humanity.
While noting that His Royal Majesty, the Oba of Benin, OmoN’Oba N’Edo, Uku Akpolokpolo, Oba Ewuare II, will be gracing the occasion, Igbinosun said “The Great Benin Kingdom, which is festival’s city-in-focus, is renowned as the cradle of black civilization, the ancestral home of the Bini people, quintessential of ancient arts and craft of historical significance and royal splendour, transcending centuries of successive dynasties. “Benin City, originally known as Edo, was once the capital of a pre-colonial African empire located in what is now Southern Nigeria. The Great Benin Kingdom is one of the oldest and most highly developed states in West Africa, dating back to the 11th century.
Igbinosun said in the spirit of the UN International Decade for People of African Descent, “we have written to notify the palace of the Oba of Benin of our forthcoming festival and respectfully request the blessings, support and endorsement of His Royal Majesty regarding the activities of Edo Global Royal Arts Canada and Culture Canada and the Global Black and African Festival of Arts and culture, scheduled to hold annually in Toronto, Canada.” He added that through the festival that they seek to take a glance at the Great Benin Kingdom that is a quintessential ancient civilization with the hope that the Binis, Nigerians, Africans and indeed all global citizens can be mobilized or galvanized to surmount whatever socio-cultural or socio-economic despair and handicaps they may be faced with and get on a more progressive, inclusive wagon of world-bests in cultural, social, economic and educational terms.
He said the organizers would welcome contributions from the academia, business, civil society organizations, government agencies, which are not limited to the following theme and sub-themes:
Great Benin Kingdom: A Quintessence of Ancient Civilization; Global COVID-19 Impact, Mitigation, Recovery and Revitalization of Local and Global Economies, Social and Cultural; the Place of Equity, Fairness, Humanness, Inclusion, Diversity in a Contemporary World and Repositioning Africa’s Cultural Resources for Societal Transformation.
Speaking on the importance of the festival to the host country, Canada, Igbinosun said Culture is the lifeblood of a vibrant society, expressed in the many ways stories are told and celebrated. “Our creative expression helps define who we are and helps us see the world through the eyes of others. Ontarians participate in culture in many ways—as audiences, professionals, amateurs, volunteers, and donors or investors. “In addition to its intrinsic value, culture provides important social and economic benefits. With improved learning and health, increased tolerance, and opportunities to come together with others, culture enhances our quality of life and increases overall well-being for both individuals and communities.
He added Canada stands to gain from tourism as culture contributes to the tourism industry in Ontario, further supporting job creation and encouraging infrastructure development. “In 2010, cultural tourism generated $3.7 billion in GDP and resulted in 67,700 jobs for Ontarians. So, this festival will attract tourists to the city.”
He further added “There are significant opportunities to grow cultural tourism through marketing cultural heritage assets. Historic sites in Ontario had over 3.7 million visits in 2011, placing built heritage in the top five most popular tourist attractions in the province.”
Igbinosun also appreciated the endorsement and support of the Centre for Black and African Arts and Civilization (CBAAC). He said “’The Centre for Black and African Arts and Civilization (CBAAC) houses all the materials which constitute the core collections, artefacts, and rare cultural items that were used during FESTAC ’77. The decision to hand over these materials to Nigeria was to reinforce and build upon the gains of the historic festival. It was in fact in fulfilment of Nigeria’s pledge to keep the materials in trust for the 59 Black and African countries and communities which participated in the Festival that gave impetus for the establishment of the Centre.’
Arta & Culture
Since the reign of Oba Ewuare the first, (1440 -1473), it became compulsory for every Benin man and woman to bear tribal marks known as Iwu. That was to identify the Benin people who might have escaped from the kingdom as a result of the stringent laws enacted by the reigning Oba. Read more..
Mode of Greeting
The Benin people worldwide have a peculiar way of recognizing their blood relations irrespective of colour, dressing or civilization. By greeting someone on first contact, a Benin citizen can identify his or her family member in the global crowd. Read more..