Where I was last Sunday


……………Ha!  See  where I was last Sunday

 ………….Festival of Nations  in St. Louis , Missouri 

………..Looking  for my effigy , Ere Ibeji 

At the Festival of Nations


    Festival of Nations celebrating

Spectators at the event




Looking for Ere Ibeji  (Twins Effigy) 


WATCHING from  afar off one could see a sea of heads at the Park. On the stage were dancers and drummers doing what they know best. The Drummers who were in green ,red and yellow color costume  exhibited their skills as they  beat traditional   drums like Djembe,  Conga  ,  Bata,  BougarabouNgoma, and the Ashiko. The   Conga drummer  displayed his dexterity while the  Djembe  drummer  too  used all his energy to do justice to the drum. The  female dancers were the cynosure of all  eyes as they danced their hearts out while the audience was electrified  by their powerful performance .  A  Rastafarian  was  prancing around while another woman was  dancing and mimicking one 0f the dancers  as  her  dreadlocks were dangling like pendulum . This was  last Sunday at  one of the activities lined up for  FESTIVAL of  NATIONS . Festival of Nations is an annual food and entertainment festival hosted by the International Institute non-profit organization in St. Louis, Missouri.

Drummers doing their job  

Visitors  were   mooching around where antiques, artefacts ,woven cloths and  crafts  were displayed  for sale.  Those who were hungry went  to where assorted Continental foods were being sold . Some   were  walking  up and down feeding their eyes . Couples   held  themselves tightly as if   kidnappers   were after   their partners .Some  were seen munching ,some dancing to the music blaring from the  speakers  that were strategically positioned  at the venue. Some  went into  a frenzy    jumping  and wriggling their waists while some sat on the bare floor watching the dancers on the stage  and while  some  of course  were busy selling or  purchasing products of all kinds.  As a matter of fact no one stood still as they were all busy doing one thing or the other .While some  came for window shopping .

Some of the Chinese  art works

Before you say Jack Robinson  I had  buried myself in the midst of the crowd  and joined both  the professional and amateur  Camera men  leaving Ronnie at a Hawaiian Cuisine place   .Cameras of  different types   were  sighted as both professionals and amateurs were busy doing the job;  Selfitis  were not left out as    they were  taking shots and  posting them  on  social media. the annual Festival Of Nations  united them  at Tower Grove  Park, St. Louis , Missouri.

Drummers at work


Different Sculptures, statues, carvings  were  displayed for sale. Some of these are  as old as the creation. Some   had  seen ages while some  are as old as the hills. Many had decayed and  become  fragile . Some  of these artworks   have seen ages while some too have become Methusela.

Abiodun at  …..

All kinds of foods  in the continent were displayed from  local food to continental food .  Chinese, Indian, American, African, Hawaiian food, American  were all available. The more you looked at them  the more you are  salivating as the aroma would not let you  be.

Abiodun inspecting some of the artworks 



Different cars  were parked  at  various locations at the venue  .Rules of parking were  not violated to my  surprise ,anyway violators would be issued tickets. The roads were jammed packed . It was the day I knew Arts and Culture is a Universal language. It was another day I knew  Lovers of Arts are allover the world  as the venue of the Festival of Nations  was jampacked by different nationalities.

Our journey to Festival of all Nations started when  Ronnie’s phone rang and her younger sister, Renata Macintosh  told her there was a festival going on at the  Park in St. Louis . Oh my God , what were we waiting for?

I refused to bath. Walaitalai I  didn’t  bath for I didn’t want to waste time. . Church ? Walaitalai , I shelved church for I would still meet  Church next time. But this festival is an annual one . All festivals were aborted last year because of COVID. Ronnie knew how crazy I am about Culture. She dressed up and that was how we forfeited our breakfast  and lunch that Sunday.

Armed with my camera and other gadgets we drove to the park. At first Ronnie was  upset when  she could not find where to park .

  get Infact there was no place to park as she  was burning the  gas  going forth and back looking for  space. I begged her to exercise patient  that last year  nothing happened due to COVID .Luckily we got a place to park and lo and behold a truck was leaving and we quickly  pullover and parked .

Suddenly my stomach was  producing rumbling sound .I was hungry. It was  then  I knew I had not eaten . Ronnie now remembered she had not had her breakfast as we were both hungry.

Taiwo Abiodun looking for what to  eat


The place  could be compared   to  the cemetery where one would meet fresh and dried bones. When I sighted all these arts and crafts , and seeing ‘heads’ I started looking for twins’ effigy. I saw most of the artworks I saw in Nigeria . I asked  the Gallerist about his materials . The young man  gave us the price. He said ” this one is 200 dollars , it is an antique”, I was shocked for the said antique was old and already decaying . I believe it must have seen ages. When I tried to touch it , Ronnie warned ” please don’t let it break ”.

I frantically searched for ” Ere Ibeji” Twins effigy .But I was not   sure of what they  were. Ha!  I asked myself where all these African artworks come from. Africans are rich in Culture , this I am proud to say.

We left the art market and went round looking for where we can see Nigeria food but what we were seeing were Togolese, Liberian, Hawaiian, Kenya etc food.

Ronnie had wanted to eat pounded yam ( Iyan ) with egunsi  soup and  vegetable (efo riro) or  okra (ila asepo)  but none of these were seen. And we settled  for snacks .


It was fun as we went round  and saw all races at the venue. The festival united them all.

Back home in the evening I started ruminating over what I saw in the morning . I  was happy and satisfied that I got all these pictures and stories.

Next Sunday I will go to church . The church will not run away but   next year is another time for the festival. I know they will say all the arts and crafts are idols. I know they will look down on all these artworks saying they are not for Christian but have forgotten that there is a big different between Religion and Culture.


Author: Taiwo Abiodun

I am a blogger . taiwoabiodun.com and TAIWOABIODUN.BLOGSPOT.COM

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