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Whip Not Child…artists' war against child abuse
Thursday, March 18, 2010
'If parents can engage their pets (cats, dogs and birds etc) in dialogue, how much more can they do with a child? These were the words of Chidi, Kwubiri, the German-based Nigerian artist who initiated and spearheaded a recent project tagged Whip Not Child in Lagos.

Kwubiri left Germany recently to join four other top artists to execute the project in Nigeria. He teamed up with the likes of Mike Omoighe (Lagos, Nigeria) Ade Bantu (Nigeria/Germany), Uche James Iroha (Nigeria) and Emma Enyang (Nigeria) to organize workshops and exhibitions in protest against child abuse.

The first segment of the project saw the two artists interacting with people on the issue of corporal punishment.

They assembled at the Civic Centre, Victoria Island to debate the relevance or otherwise of using whips/canes to admonish pupils and children.

Following this, the coordinators initiated several workshops for students at different venues in Lagos. the workshops kicked off at Yaba College of Technology, and soon moved to Ilupeju, Akoka and Ikeja areas. At the end of the workshops, pupils and children came up with artworks, which highlighted visual interpretations of their diverse experiences. Many of the children came up with highly creative works, which chronicle their encounters with corporal punishment either at home or in school. In essence, majority of the children condemned use of sticks, canes or whips by parents and teachers. They all clamoured for the use of dialogue and other punitive measures for erring children.

After the workshops, the artworks and documentations were collected and showcased to Lagosians and other lovers of visual arts. Essentially, the artists focused on educational practices in schools and children's homes, after which they collated artistic expressions by pupils on the topic, Corporal Punishment and Child abuse. According to Kwubiri, the project was made possible by several charitable and nonprofit organizations including GTZ, Germany, IFA, Germany, Rotary Club, Pulheim-Germany, WDR, Germany, the Cultural Department of the city of Cologne and the Goethe Institute, Lagos.

Asked about the post-exhibition activities of the Whip Not Child, project, Kwubiri said; The concept will come to a conclusion in a presentation of the project in Germany, where an exhibition will be held in late summer 2010. It will include documentation on the workshops, the subsequent exhibition, the response in the press and the public.

A catalogue is planned, which will contain works displayed together with a final report on the art project and supplemental information on corporal punishment and child abuse in Africa. To ensure that the information gathered are made accessible and well perceived in Germany those to be invited to the exhibition will include journalists, representatives of humanitarian and charitable organizations, and figures in politics, education and business community. This should prompt an exchange among authorities in area, together with a discussion on the use and aims of support and aid in Africa -- an exchange that, in the end would enact the interactive approach to which the artists aspire.''