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Nigeria Masterweb News Report

    Dateline: 18/12/2001 00:03:22

    Nigerian Wins World Best Artist Contest
    From Kayode Abdulwahab in Ilorin

    Barely a month after Nigeria's Miss Agbani Darego emerged as Miss World, another Nigerian, Mr Ibiyinka Olufemi Alao, has been declared the best fine artist in the world. His selection followed a thorough a scrutiny of various works of arts in a competition organised by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).

    In a United Nations news statement-International Poster Contest Winners- a Kwaran, Alao won the first prize in the above 19 years category in which his works featured. Samer Mohammed A. Al-Shameri of the Republic of Yemen placed second while Arisoa Andrinianina Rakot-onirina of Madagascar was third.

    The UN satement, made available to THISDAY in Ilorin, Kwara State, said UNFPA commenced the organisation of the contest in 1992 with a "view to increase awareness and understanding of population and development issues."

    The theme for the 2001 contest is "Population and Environment" with a specific focus on the connection between family size and the environment.

    Artists were asked to examine how the environment had changed since their parents' time, how as individuals they could make a difference, and the connection which the status of girls and women could have on protecting the environment.

    Over 320 entries were received from 61 countries at the UNFPA office at 42nd Street New York, United States of America, where the works were rated.

    There were five categories between age six to above 19 years, where Alao featured

    Alao's entry was sponsored by the Federal Ministry of Information and National Orientation. This was conveyed to him in a letter of September 24, 2001 .

    Reacting to the news, Alao, a 26-year graduate of architecture from the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, expressed delight at the development and called on the three tiers of government to pay considerable attention to arts and artists because "it is a veritable avenue to calm frayed nerves and the attendant tension just as it could bring a lot of foreign exchange and respectability to Nigeria."

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