AS part of activities to commemorate the 2018 International Women’s Day, Xquisite Gallery in conjunction with the Farida Wada Foundation staged an exhibition of paintings, drawings, and books on strength and beauty.
Speaking at the event, the artist and CEO of Xquisite Gallery, Chidimma Nwankwo, disclosed that rather than perceiving the practice of carrying loads on the shoulder by Gbagyi women as abuse, it is a display of their strength.
She said that the Gbagyi community assisted her with vital information about the culture of the people while researching her Ph.D. thesis. The exhibition, she explained, was her way of giving back to the community’s women.
Nwankwo promised to further showcase Gbagyi women on the global stage because of their unique strength and hardworking nature.
She said: “The women of the tribe are very strong, they have a unique culture that allows them to carry the load on their shoulder instead of the head, and that was the striking point because other tribes carry loads on their head. That was actually what attracted me to them. That prompted me to research the women, and that was how I came to work with the Gbagyi women.”
She advised Nigerians to always look inward for inspiration regarding culture because “Nigeria is filled with different cultures and we can explore things around us. We want to encourage the women not to sit back; they should be in the frontline taking charge in every area of life.”
Nwankwo also appreciated the community’s chief and the residents for their care and understanding throughout her stay in the community.
“When I came in 2013, the Chief appointed someone to teach me the language, and to research the culture, and use it to create artwork that people will appreciate”.
A copy of Dr. Nwankwo’s thesis was handed over to the Chief of the Gbagyi community in Gwarimpa, Mallam Yakubu Bayero, who thanked her and urged other Nigerians to emulate her.
Speaking, the founder/CEO of Farida Wada Foundation, Farida Wada, cited her admiration for the Gbagyi women as the major reason for partnering with the exhibition.