The Art Stampede is a quarterly parliamentary event in which artists, art critics, art journalists and art connoisseurs gather to discuss hot burner issues in the arts. The very first stampede, held in Festac Town on June 2, 1991, had as its theme: What is Literature?
It problematised the issue of the quality of prose and poetry coming out of Nigeria. Writers had opportunity to critically engage the work of one another in an atmosphere of comradeship. Since then, the idea that Nigerian literature started and ended with the pre-Independence (1960) writers such as Wole Soyinka and Chinua Achebe started looking passé.
Attention was then shifted to new writings coming out of the forge of the younger generation. This has helped in facilitating the flowering of new voices in the literary firmament of Nigeria, with many of them stepping out boldly to win prestigious literary prizes around the world. One of the most recent stampedes was on the evolution of the Nigerian movie.
CORA took the position that our home videos evolved from our TV soap operas (including the formats) and that the soap operas were coming from a tradition that started with The Village Headmaster, our first televised drama series. But we ended up discussing more about the distribution and piracy. We do take off on tangents at these discourses, but they help enrich whatever is in the air.