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Bayelsa-Born Fashion Designer's Dress Gets Permanent Place In American Museum, As Govt Pledges Support For Budding Talents

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Bayelsa Deputy Governor, retired Rear Admiral Gboribiogha John Jonah at the weekend, showered encomiums on the designer of an award winning dress, tagged, “Lady Esther” Patience Tolorwei at the just concluded Earth Matters fashion competition show held in Washington DC in the United States.

The dress which is billed to be taken to the Smithsonian National Museum of African Arts, Washington DC has given Bayelsa State and the country as a whole a pride of place in the prestigious international museum.

Speaking during a send forth/ exhibition ceremony in Yenagoa, the Deputy Governor hailed the designer of the dress, a Bayelsan for being in the vanguard for the preservation of the environment, which the design and colours of the dress depict.

The dress, 'Lady Esther' is designed in colours and characters depicting the theme of the fashion competition, “Earth Matters.”

According to him, Tolorwei has made not only the state, but also the country proud, especially on issues concerning the environment, which he noted, 'means a lot to the world'.

He described the inspiration behind the dress as quite apt as it captures the essence of the lifestyles of the people of the Niger Delta, who have suffered the effects of environmental pollution on a daily basis for several decades.

In his words: “The story is told by the dress; 'Lady Esther'. The environment means a lot to the world now. Environmental degradation in Africa, particularly in the Niger Delta area arising from activities of crude oil exploration is quite clear and are documented in some areas.

“The lifestyle that she has told in this simple, but complicated dress, for those who had the privilege of growing up in the rural areas, the story is quite apt. Such people will have a clear understanding of the inspiration behind the dress.”

The Deputy Governor used the opportunity to encourage young people to develop their innate talents, stating that the government would support the designer in grooming budding talents to develop their potentials by providing a place for training.

In her remarks, the Chief of staff, Government House, Yenagoa, Mrs Didi Walson-Jack disclosed that  Tolorwei was among 8 selected African designers, adding that, 'Lady Esther, having emerged winner of the fashion competition, has earned it the right to have a permanent home in the Smithsonian Museum of African Arts in Washington DC.

Earlier, the designer of Lady Esther, Patience Tolorwei explained that, she named the dress after her late mother and was easily inspired, because of her early life in the rural area in Bayelsa.

Commenting on the significance of the dress, she explained that the colours and characters of the dress depict the pollution and destruction of the environment occasioned by crude oil exploration, mining, blood diamonds in Liberia and other parts of Africa.

Tolorwei, who condemned these activities as having adverse effects on the environment, said she is an ambassador of change through her artistic works to help make the world a better place.

Daniel Iworiso-Markson
Chief Press Secretary to the Governor of Bayelsa State