A LECTURER will be heading out to Africa to find the artists who worked with his parents.
Dr Tim Brennan, an international artist, curator and associate dean at the University of Sunderland, has launched the project, Tracing Lafia.
In the summer of 1960, Dr Brennan’s parents, Barbara and Martin, moved to Lafia in Nigeria to work with students at St Augustine’s Teacher Training College, who produced artwork.
The couple based their teaching on the ideas of the role of art in education and the collection described everyday village life in a positive and vibrant way.
After their deaths, the collection was passed to Dr Brennan, who is following in his parents’ footsteps, returning to the African community to trace the painters who produced this vivid chronicle of Lafian life.
WaterAid, which has several projects in Nigeria, and the charity’s supporter, Northumbrian Water, are backing Dr Brennan’s project, Tracing Lafia.
The collection of African artwork, which is currently on loan to the city’s university, will be unveiled and displayed at a charity reception being hosted by Northumbrian Water and WaterAid at the House of Commons tomorrow.
Dr Brennan said: “We are delighted that Northumbrian Water’s support of this project has brought us so far in such a short period of time.
“The paintings evolved from the direct personal experiences of local students. They were encouraged to ignore Western influence, embrace their local environment and create art works through free expression.
“This collection of paintings was completed 50 years ago by third-year students – who will now be in their late 60s and 70s. Only local materials were available, which included recycled paper from cement bags, and the paints were made from food and leaf dyes, hair dye, washing powder, soil and clay. Boot polish, henna, chalk and charcoal provided the means to draw.
“The aptitude of the Nigerians coupled with the expertise of the teaching transcended these limitations to produce this original and accomplished collection.”