……………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
PHOTOS: TAIWO ABIODUN
Festival of Nations celebrating
Spectators at the event
PLS WATCH THIS
FEED YOUR EYES
Looking for Ere Ibeji (Twins Effigy)
WHERE I WAS LAST SUNDAY
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, Bougarabou, Ngoma, 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
FOODS, ARTWORKS ETC
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
LOOKING FOR MY EFFIGY , ERE IBEJI
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.