AMAE's artistic rendition depicts state of Nigeria's maritime industry


Artistic rendition by the maiden African Maritime Art Exhibition (AMAE) fully expressed the beautiful and ugly sides of the Nigerian maritime industry.

Art, being a beautiful way of creating awareness, was employed to send a clear message on  the state of shipping in Nigeria.

This artistic impression of what the industry looks like was depicted at the maiden edition of African Maritime Art Exhibition (AMAE).


Industry players commended AMAE for providing maritime industry stakeholders and other national and continental participants tangible artistic reminders of Africa's shipping domain, its major challenges and numerous opportunities.


Held at the Alliance Fran├žaise, Mike Adenuga Centre, Ikoyi, Lagos, AMAE is curated by Hazi’s Art, an arm of Maritime TV Africa to tell Africa’s marine/ maritime story using images and artistic impressions, painting, drawing, digitised photography, textile print, sculpture and many more.


Despite having the 2050 African Integrated Maritime Strategy (2050 AIM Strategy) which is a coherent long-term multilayered plans to enhance maritime viability for a prosperous Africa, the artworks exhibited at AMAE depicted the realities on the menace of marine litters, disorderly seaport terminals, value for aquatic life, coastal and riverine communities, and other maritime issues.


AMAE, which held at the Alliance Fran├žaise, Mike Adenuga Centre, Ikoyi, Lagos, is curated by Hazi’s Art, an arm of Maritime TV Africa to tell Africa’s marine/ maritime story using images and artistic impressions, painting, drawing, digitised photography, textile print, sculpture and many more.


Despite having the 2050 African Integrated Maritime Strategy (2050 AIM Strategy) which is a coherent long-term multilayered plans to enhance maritime viability for a prosperous Africa, the artworks exhibited at AMAE depicted the realities on the menace of marine litters, disorderly seaport terminals, value for aquatic life, coastal and riverine communities, and other maritime issues.


The Chairman of AMAE 2022, the first ever African member of the Executive Committee of the International Maritime Economic History Association, IMEHA, Professor Ayodeji Olokuju  explains that the Maritime Art Exhibition isn't only about beauty but also tells history of continents and its environment.


"Lagos had ports long before the Colonial masters arrived. Badagry was a trade port several years before colonialism. The seas should be treated be with more seriousness and there should be more awareness. Over the years, our governments, universities and institutions have marginalized the seas. Until 2006, when I started  a course in the University of Lagos (UNILAG), nobody ever taught a course in Maritime History. Until this year, no one ever taught the history of the seas in relation to West Africa, but that has changed," he said.


Olukoju was delighted to find children among the participants at the event, emphasizing the need to catch them young as they appreciate art and  historical developments in the maritime sector.


"This particular event is unprecedented and I want to specially thank all the participants who decided to honour this occasion and give it the priority it deserves. Out of a population of over 20million people living in Lagos, the number of participants in here tells the story of the nation. It's a situation maritime scholars describe as sea blindness."


"Most Nigerians aren't aware of the importance of the seas and most residents in a coastal state like Lagos  don't have any concern about the seas. Sea blindness isn't limited to Lagos, it's a national issue because most of the government policies focus on other modes of transportation like land, while the seas are treated as an adjunct of land based matters. Today's outing corrects that impression," he said.


The former Continental President of African Women in Maritime (WIMAFRICA), Mrs. Jean-Chiazor Anishere (SAN) observed that "there is a clear distinction between the media or an operator telling you about the maritime industry and an art exhibition through pictures, designs on fabrics, among others."


Anishere who commended the organizers novel initiative said "it also brings to our immediate notice the beautiful and the ugly side of the maritime industry. I say this because I saw an artwork on canvass showing either Tin Can Island or Apapa Port container depot with cars littered all around. Such terminal shouldn't have too many cars because it isn't a roro terminal and cars shouldn't be littered that way, even if it was a roro terminal"


"So, the artist is showing us what our container terminal looks like and invariably telling us that it isn't the ideal scenario. The organizers haven't just got art about the maritime sector but they sought to correct the anomalies by telling compelling stories via art."


The CEO, Genero Engineering, Capt. Suleiman Baiyee described AMAE as a beautiful and innovative way of raising awareness about core maritime issues.


"In life there are different ways of raising awareness of things we seek to change or improve. Art is a very beautiful way and it is a permanent medium for raising awareness. Art is unique because everyone would have a different way of interpreting one picture, whereas one speech can only give one message."


"Since art is a powerful tool, I see this exhibition as a unique way of promoting the maritime industry. It is also special because art isn't a popular medium for promoting things in Nigeria. Therefore, I commend the people who organized this, but I would recommend that AMAE doesn't stand on its own. Every major maritime event in the nation should have a section like this attached to it. This way, everyone who attends a major event would be exposed to the exhibition. So, from the position of raising awareness, we may need to consider partnering other national and regional summits," He noted



The convener of African Maritime Art Exhibition, AMAE, Ezinne Azunna expressed that the intention of the AMAE is to make Africans more conscious of the maritime sector, asserting that it is also a subtle way of educating people about global issues, policies, regulations and how best to manage the industry.


In her words "Africans are said to be alarmingly and unforgivably sea blind. Our waters are notoriously described as one of the biggest unexploited industries, as much as lands are our heritage, the waters are too, we should truly embrace our waterscapes. At Hazi's, our portraiture is focused on human interface with the waters, aquatic life and vice versa. We launched in 2021 with over 30 digitised oil paintings, many of which are displayed today."


"Africans have been accused of not paying enough attention to the seas, but I think that opinion is fast changing with the African Union's AIMS strategy and Blue Economy. However, some of these initiatives don't connect to the common-man and that's where art comes in because art reaches everyone. Whether it is a bracelet one is wearing or a t-shirt with maritime prints, it resonates differently. We want people to have a vivid memory of what we are talking about when we talk about marine pollution, aquatic life, coastal communities, among other maritime issues"


The stories in the artworks portrayed current state of the marine domain; from ports and jetties to ships and the sea, rivers and estuaries, coastal communities, beach scenes, seafaring, marine life and science, seascapes showcasing different continent history


Maritime industry stakeholders at the exhibition were; the Chairperson, Nigerian Ship-owners Forum, Barr. Mrs. Margaret Orakwusi; President, Ship Owners Association of Nigeria, SOAN, Dr. Mkgeorge Onyung; Arit Nwokedi;  former Assistant Comptroller-General of Nigeria Customs Service. NCS, ACG Charles Edike; Director, Operations and Administration, Nigerian Chamber of Shipping, NCS, Mrs. Vivian Chimezie-Azubuike; Founder, Ocean Ambassadors Forum, OAF.


Other stakeholders were; ; Founder, Committee of Friends for Humanity, COFFH, Mrs. Carol Ufere; Secretary, Women's International Shipping and Trading Association, WISTA Nigeria, Convener, Lagos International Maritime Week, Mrs. Oritsematosan Edodo-Emore.

President, African Marine Environment Sustainability Initiative, AFMESI, Dr. Mrs. Felicia Mogo;


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