Lovers of arts and culture from different backgrounds joined Terra Kulture to count its blessings on Friday when it marked its 10th anniversary at the Eko Hotel, Victoria Island. The largely classical performances that punctuated reminiscences and emotional remarks on the supremacy of culture gave the night the ambience of renewal.
The heroine of the night was Terra Kulture founder, Bolanle Austen-Peters, who was profusely saluted for dreaming big and backing her dream with tenacity and style. From the Minister of Trade and Investment, Dr. Segun Aganga; Shell Managing Director, Mr. Mutiu Sumonu, to the Managing Director of Access Bank Plc, Albert Igwe, Lagos-based lawyer , Mr. Femi Lijadu and many more, encomiums poured on Austen-Peters, who also could not hide her excitement. Indeed, observant minds could see that the show was planned in a way to make a statement.
Classical music singer, Olumide Dada, set a booming tone for the performances when he sang the National Anthem on a very inspiring note. Unlike some artistes that bastardise the anthem when pretending to perform it, Dada ensured the sacred song retain its honour, while still dishing it out to the appreciative audience in an artistic way. This elite display got a boost when songbird Yinka Davies, in a duet with another fine chanter, Ranti, later mounted the stage and wedded music with drama.
Another top performance came from KPs, emerging voice who shocked many ears when he infused his own kind of fuji into one of John Legend’s popular songs.
In a tribute laden with poetic allusions, Lijadu described Terra Kulture as the remarkable achievement of Austen-Peters.
“It is the story of love of arts and of capacity to translate vision into reality. We are here because theatre is important. Culture is crucial; it is the symbol of civilisation,” he said.
As Austen-Peters later affirmed, Lijadu recalled how she rallied her family, friends and associates to fund the dream that became Terra. He, however, noted that the late Managing Director of GT Bank Mr. Tayo Aderinokun, played a major role by making the bank to buy into it.
A documentary also captured the moods of many people who have related with Terra Kulture, all of who commended Austen-Peters for making the centre happen. These include the Nobel laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka; ARM CEO, Mr. Deji Ali; scholar and writer, Prof. Ahmed Yerima; fashion entrepreneur, Deola Sagoe; celebrated actress Joke Silva; popular visual artist, Olu Ajayi, and MulticChoice Manging Director, Mr. John Ugbe.
Austen-Peters noted that the Terra Kulture idea came to her at a time she was tired of law practice. She thanked the late Aderinokun, who she described as her mentor. She also commended her staff, who, according to her, had generally demonstrated commitment.
“I am very happy,” Austen-Peters said. “I am glad everybody is here tonight. I am glad there is a Terra Kulture. Terra has been a blessing to me. I have met many people. Terra has taught me boardroom politics. It is not all that easy. So much is going on behind the scene. Terra has made me grow as an individual.”
The centre presented a posthumous award to the late Aderinokun, which was received by his widow, who thanked Austen-Peters for remembering him. Terra’s long-serving staff – Ibrahim Kuta, Muhammed Goni, Rasheed Adeleye and Temitope Sanya, got awards.
While a new drama by Bolanle Austen-Peters Productions – Full Circle – was premiered, Access Bank’s MD congratulated Terra Kulture and saluted the founder for daring to invest in the art and culture sector, from which many shy away. She described her as an ambassador of arts and culture.
Igwe said Access appreciates the sector and has been supporting for long.
“Beyond enjoyment, art is a true store of value,” he said.
Also at the event were a Deputy Vice Chancellor of the University of Lagos, Prof. Duro Oni; popular art collector, Prince Yemisi Adedoyin, and a writer, Toni Kan.