Following the closure of submission of entries for the WeNaija Photography Contest and the selection of the top 100 images through public voting, the Nigeria Solidarity Support Fund (NSSF) has announced plans for the auction and exhibition of the selected images. The funds generated through this competition and other activities will be used to upskill the Nigerian youth as a means of enhancing recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic in Nigeria.
Tunde Folawiyo, Chairman, NSSF Board, revealed that the photographs are already on Bonham’s website – https://www.bonhams.com/auctions/27853 – for preview and open bidding ahead of the auction. Bonhams Auction, a leading online auction vendor in the UK, with affiliations in major cities across the world is a Partner of NSSF on the WENAIJA Photography contest. The auction/exhibition will be a two-day event; a live auction of the top 20 images on January 18, 2022, and a photography exhibition on January 19, 2022.
According to the Chairman, “The funds raised from the auction would be channeled into empowering the youths through the upskilling of at least 500 young Nigerians in life-changing vocations for the betterment of the Nigerian society in furtherance of efforts to mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Each photograph tells a COVID-19 story that every one of us can relate with.” He added.
Aigboje Aig-Imokhuede, leading Nigerian Philanthropist and NSSF Board Member, stated that the entries had many iconic images of the response to the COVID-19 pandemic showing extraordinary courage and strength amid vulnerability, as people across this great country battle to find meaning despite the ravaging pandemic. Commending the participants, he noted that the photographs are images of hope, joy and peace in the midst of despair and death. Dr Fejiro Chinye-Nwoko, General Manager, NSSF, stated that the auction will offer a rare opportunity for Nigerians, friends of Nigeria, organizations and institutions in and outside Nigerians to partner with NSSF by acquiring one of these unique photographs which captures significant moments of the COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria. She explained that most of these images were taken by non-professional photographers, yet the images were so creative and poetic. All images captured symbolic moments that demonstrated how Nigerians had been adapting to and are indeed working to overcome the economic, health, education, and social impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
On the quality of the photographs, she remarked that the exceptional photographic quality of the images reflected the richness of the photographic talents that abound in Nigeria. She added that each photograph is unique and that every winning bid will get a photograph signed by the photographer artist and accompanied with a Certificate of Authentication sealed with the NSSF Hologram.
Lastly, she explained that this was beyond a photography exhibition but a call to Nigerians to take personal responsibility to protect themselves and their loved ones from COVID-19.
NSSF is an innovative platform for resource mobilization primarily established to supplement efforts to mitigate the adverse economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on Nigerians by supporting vulnerable members of the population, strengthening the country’s healthcare system, and reskilling the Nigerian workforce for a post-pandemic world.