By Henry Akubuiro 


•Lanre Olagoke in his London, UK studio


After recovering from what has been described as undisclosed cancer treatment, King Charles III will make his first major public event when he decorates artist, Lanre Olagoke, and others with Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE). Sources have disclosed that official delegation from Nigeria and a number of Nigerians, mostly from the diaspora, have been invited to the event in honour of their own, Olagoke, who has been listed among the awardees.

King Charles will give the MBE awards to the recipients at the Windsor Castle on May 22, 2024. Over 1,000 recepients across diverse professions were listed to receive the king’s honour when the British government announced the list early in the year. “The New Year Honours List recognises the exceptional achievements of people across the country and those who have shown the highest commitment to selflessness and compassion,” British Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, said in his announcement of the awardees. “To all honourees, you are the pride of this country and an inspiration to us all.”

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 Sources disclosed that expected to grace the award ceremony are Nigerian Ambassador to the UK, Dr Cyprian Terseer Heen; Minister of Arts, Culture and Creative Economy, Hanatu Musa Musawa; representatives of Ogun State Government; and Chairman, Nigerians In Diaspora Commission, Hon Abike Dabiri-Erewa, among other invitees. The MBE for Olagoke is being given for his Art-Alive Arts Trust (AAAT), in “services to charity and young people.” 

In a letter of congratulation to Olagoke, Dr Heen noted that Art-Alive Art Trust (AAAT) of the artist had been a strong platform for young people of creative talents. “Your mission in creating the Art-Alive Art Trust, which has served children, adolescent and young vulnerable adults people find a platform to actualise their full potential and find their place in society through arts and creativity deserves accolades,” adding: “This award serves as a source of inspiration to us all.”

 Àhead of the award ceremony, Ogun State Government, which is expected to be represented, has sent a congratulation letter to Olagoke, who is an indigene of Abeokuta, the state capital. “This well-deserved honour did not come as a surprise; it’s another feather to a cap already decorated with notable achievements and accomplishments,” Gov Dapo Abiodun wrote in a letter shortly after the British Government announced the list of the new MBE awards. “Undoubtedly, the Art Alive Arts Trust under your leadership has been taken to enviable height, profoundly influencing countless lives positively in the society.”

 Looking forward to the award ceremony, Olagoke expressed profound gratitude to all Nigerians, home and the diaspora who have sent congratulatiory messages and shown interest in attending the ceremony. Olagoke disclosed that more of appreciating people’s support would come after the award ceremony. “I hope to host a party to appreciate friends and supporters at one of the most exclusive Private Art-Member Club in the Uk, with pedigree of membership such as Frank Bowling OBE and Late Professor Ben Enwonwu, among others.”

 Beyond the glitters of the awards, Olagoke has assured that he will be stepping up his art activism, with more focus on Nigeria. Based in the U.K, Olagoke’s Art-Alive Arts Trust (AAAT), has also extended its activities to Nigeria in the past. “I will be coming to Nigeria to continue the activities of AAAT beyond what we did in the past,” Olagoke assured. “We did quite some works, inspiring the less privileged with creative activities in Lagos, which will be boosted by MBE awards as we go forward.”

Olagoke founded Art-Alive Arts Trust, as a charity in the UK, in 1997, as a platform to help young people in various settings from primary schools to prisons access the arts. Olagoke’s AAAT has been engaging participants in various art workshops within and outside the UK.

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