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Page last updated at 11:13 GMT, Friday, 1 October 2010 12:13 UK
Explore original art from Africa at exhibition
by Jenny Minard
BBC Berkshire reporter

Praise singers
Praise Singers will be on display at the exhibition

In order to see original African art you might have to travel thousands of miles.

But this weekend you can find works at Reading Town Hall thanks to an exhibition celebrating Black History Month.

A series of free exhibitions which explore African art have been organised by the group Nigerians in Reading.

Works of art such as etchings on ivorex and plastocast will be on display at the Town Hall.

Ngozi Fakeye, chairperson for Nigerians in Reading, explained why it is so important to bring culture to Reading.

"One thing for certain is, we love art. Africans are all about art and celebrating our culture in some shape or form.

"Nigerians in Reading is about celebrating our art with people in the area.

"The collection we have reflects life in Nigeria. It will educate people about life in Nigeria and how rich it is.

"It's important to share that with the people we live with.

"I think it will be nice for people to see a totally different aspect from what they hear and see about Nigeria."

Getting together

The group was formed in January 2010 after a dinner party of like-minded Nigerians in the town.

"We all love to dance and love art, and theatre," said Ngozi. "We realised there were quite a few of us so we held a carnival. We realised it would be fun to share that.

"We decided to come together and see what we could do to share with each other in that way."

Ngozi explained what visitors can expect from the exhibition which opens on Friday, October 1.

"People will see life in Nigeria," she said. "You will also see different types of art work which is common in Nigeria.

"We also have on show beads and dresses. It's basically going to be a feast for your eyes."

Original art

Ngozi explained that the art work is imported directly from Africa.

She said that most of the artwork is made from locally sourced products such as dyes from plants and tinfoil which is etched on boards.

Painting from the farm
Etchings and paintings will be on display at the Town Hall

She explained what the members do to make the group so special.

"Every single person in the group is from different walks of life. We all have day jobs and do this because we want to see if we can share with people in Reading who might not be exposed to African culture."

The group is also working with Liason Africa, a business set up to promote links from Africa with the rest of the world.

Ngozi explained how the group in Reading is already organising its next event.

"If it follows that the interest grows and it is something we feel is sustainable, then we will grow."

"We were able to bring in flatwork such as painting for this exhibition and we hope the next one we do we can get the fleshwork in, such as the carvings.

"It would be fantastic if we could do that."

This event is being funded by the Earley Charity and runs on October 1, 4 and 9.

For more information go to the Nigerians in Reading website.

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