Gone are the days when our culturally and artistically deprived youth and the world at large cried goose at the complete lack of an art culture in Nigeria. Now with not just one but three conventions holding each year in celebration of visual and contemporary expression, our creative industry is, for lack of a better word, on steroids!

The Comic Connect Africa Digital Art Festival held for the second time this year as the final installment of the Lagos Fringe. Its aim is to connect artists and consumers alike with the right tools and experts in their field to help them hone their skills.

As expected, the event kicked off at 10:00 am prompt with a Comic Cliniq. This was an interactive session where aspiring artists and creators get to discuss one on one with their favourite Comic Republic artists, bringing along their works in progress or just any project for evaluation and advice.

Comic Cliniq at Comic Connect Africa

Next came the Let’s Talk session which had in attendance prominent figures in the development of Nigeria’s art society. These included representatives from Comic Republic (Jide Martin, founder), Lagos Fringe (Kenneth Uphopho, festival director), Samsung (Olugbenga Awomodu, marketing comms), Boom Play Music (Oye Akideinde, regional director), The Thespian Family Theatre (Ayodele Jaiyessimi, founder), NAICCON (Brian Barassa, co-founder of Nairobi’s comic convention and popular movie director and CEO of Anthill Studios, Niyi Akinmolayan among others.

Let's Talk Comic Connect Africa
(L-R) Jide Martin, Niyi Akinmolayan, Ayodele Jaiyessimi. Photo via Comic Republic

Soon after listening in on inspiring stories and advice we moved to Heroes as Icons which touched on careful points in creating heroes. Then finally, the audience moved to a wider viewing area for a live Digital Art Battle (DAB) in partnership with Wacom and cosplay competition where over ₦100,000 (hundred thousand Naira) was won, including a lottery for Samsung phones and Genesis Cinema movie tickets.

Dayo Lasekan, Digital Art Battle winner at Comic Connect Africa. Image via Comic Repbulic.
Dayo Lasekan, Digital Art Battle winner at Comic Connect Africa. Image via Comic Repbulic.

The event ended with the winners in each competition going away with their prizes, but what was perhaps the crux of the experience was the exclusive viewing of the first ever superhero full length animated trailer, Guardian Prime.

With my spirits heightened and wallet properly disciplined it made sense to spend the rest of my evening cooling off at The Beatz After Party hosted by Comic Republic and DJ Sose. This time, there was a silent disco, free refreshments and some very nice people.

All In all, I cannot wait for next year, where I’ll get to enjoy the event – twice – among many others.

How’s the comic culture in your country? Drop by the comment section, let’s talk.

Check out photos from the event on Facebook