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Soyinka, 14 African countries, others on African Drum festival attendees’ list

By NewsDesk,

Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka and other literary icons have been listed among personality that would be featuring in 2018 African Drums Festival expected to be attended by 20 states and 14 African countries.

It was gathered that the conference which would have drums festival is scheduled to hold in Abeokuta from 19th of April, to 22nd day of the month.

The Ogun State Governor, Ibikunle Amosun, said that Soyinka had been scheduled to coordinate a conference on April 20 at the Olumo Rock Tourist Centre, with the theme, “Drums For Advancement, and that during conference, , experts would speak on the importance of drums.

Speaking on the festival in the state on tuesday, Amoun indicated that an Art exhibition would also hold at the same venue while a “Walk For Drum’’, will also hold from the Cultural Centre at Kuto to the Olumo Rock at Itoku area in Abeokuta.

Amosun stated that Africa had a rich culture which predated the Western civilisation, saying that the festival was organised “to re-awake and revive our dying culture’’.

“We have noted that our culture is dying and need to be revived.

“Drums and Drumming are important features of the African culture that cut across the strata of the continent.

“There is nowhere that you don’t have one type of drum or the other and if we are to revive our ideals and ideas as a continent, we must start with a culture that cuts across, which is drumming, ’’ the governor said.

He disclosed that about 70 private cultural groups as well as other countries like Haiti, Brazil, Trinidad and Tobago, would also participate in the festival and that the state government was determined to nurture the festival to maturity, so that subsequent governments would also preserve the legacies of the festival.

“Thereby making it (Drums Festival) a flagship for cultural activities in the state and the country at large,’’ Amosun said.

According to him, the festival would continue to hold in Ogun annually on every third week of April.

Nigerian as longest aloud reader, makes Guinness record

By NewsDesk,

A Nigerian, Olawunmi Bayode, has set a new Guinness Record in  “Longest Marathon Reading Aloud” Category, after he broke previous record.

Bayode, father of three kids, logged 120 hours during Saturday noon at the YouRead Library Yaba in Lagos, beating the previous record set by Nepali Deepak Sharma Bajagain.

The latter had 113 hours 15 minutes in 2008 and another Nepalese, Tudikhel Ground tied the record.

Bajagain’s book reading began on September 19 and ended on September 24, 2008 during which he recited 17 different books from 13 authors during his record attempt.

It was gathered that Bayode had began reading at 1:30 PM of Monday, February 26 and ended it 15.30 on Saturday, 3rd of March, 2018.

Meanwhile, he announced the record on his Facebook page, of how he had finished the challenged of 120 hours marathon.

“Hello everybody, something just happened right now! My name is Bayode Treasures Olubunmi(Olawunmi) – I have just finished reading aloud for 120 hours non-stop!

I did it for the culture!”.

Before he began the record setting reading marathon, Boyode wrote on twitter,  “I have always loved to read good materials right from when I was in secondary school. I am doing this for the youths,”

Bayode studied at Osun State Polytechnic, Iree and Comprehensive High School, Ketu in Lagos.

How painting raises question on Yoruba ancient traditional leader’s decades missing granddaughter, Adetutu

By NewsDesk, with Agency report, 

If nothing is iconic about Yoruba ancient traditional ruler, Ooni of Ife king, Ademiluyi Ajagun, decades missing daughter, Adetutu, the fact that her painting was done by ethnic Igbo artist, Ben Enwonwu, was enough to tell that her story must have serve as linked bridge that settled national dispute.

As learnt, the painting of the Yoruba princess, whose father died in1930, by an ethnic Igbo artist, became a symbol of national reconciliation at a delicate time in Nigeria’s history.

A brutal civil war had ended just four years earlier between federal forces and Biafran separatists wanting an Igbo homeland in the southeast.

Enwonwu was professor of fine arts at the university in Ile-Ife, the cradle of the Yoruba people in southwest Nigeria, when he met Adetutu Ademiluyi and painted her in 1973 and 1974.

Few days to the record auction in London of Enwonwu’s paint of the Ile-Ife princess, there has been increasing curiosity to know more about the princess, whether she is alive or dead.

But like Leonardo da Vinci’s most famous portrait, Mona Lisa, finding more about “Tutu” has so far been elusive, even for her extensive family.

The missing work of Enwonwu, one of the three on Tutu, was discovered in a north London flat recently.

It goes on sale in the British capital on Wednesday and is expected to fetch 250,000 pounds ($347,000, 282,000 euros).

 

Record have it that “Tutu” was that granddaughter of the traditional ruler, said to have married up to 47 times, had many mistresses and, unsurprisingly, many children and surviving relatives in Ife said they remember an Adetutu in the family.

“Adetutu wa one of the daughters of Kabiyesi (king) Ademiluyi,” said Olori (queen) Anifowoshe, who added that she was the only surviving wife of the former monarch.

But Anifowoshe, who is said to be more than 100, couldn’t recall if Adetutu married or had children but  told newsmen that the died many years ago.

Cecilia Ayoka is another centenarian and was married to Prince Okero Ademiluyi, a son of the former king.

“I used to know Adetutu in those days but for some years now I haven’t heard anything about her,” she added.

“Not many people knew Adetutu because Ademiluyi is such a large family.

“My husband who happened to be one of the direct children was over 120 years before he died and he had more than 40 wives,” she said. “Only three of us are still alive.”

Giles Peppiatt, the head of modern and contemporary African art at Bonhams auction house who found what he describes as “the mythical picture”, has been in Nigeria doing his own detective work.

Last week, he travelled the 200 kilometres (125 miles) from Lagos to Ife and said the older women in the family may have been referring to an Adetutu of a different generation.

He said family members told him a younger Adetutu was alive, in her late 60s and living in Lagos, which would tally with her being aged in her late teens when she sat for Enwonwu.

“Tutu is one of about 300 (children). That’s why it’s actually quite difficult to find her,” he said.

He added: “It’s amazing. I can’t believe she’s alive.”

Enwonwu — famous for creating a bronze sculpture of Queen Elizabeth II — died in 1994 and appears not to have left any clues about his subject.

At his studio in Lagos, the artist’s son, Oliver, said he can’t recall his father ever discussing it and doesn’t know where the remaining two paintings are.

But the 42-year-old, who is president of the Society of Nigerian Artists, said he was pleased about the increasing recognition his father was getting.

“It’s a thing of joy that several decades after his death my father’s works are being appreciated globally,” he added.

Peppiatt said although he was hopeful of finding the real Tutu after so long, it had no bearing on the painting’s worth as art.

“I will say, either way, I think it’s… just a beguiling picture, it’s an amazing portrait and whether we find her or not doesn’t really affect the value of the work.

“The value of the work is what he painted in 1973, not whether we find the sitter in 2018.”

UNESCO raises concern on how languages disppear weekly

By NewsDesk,

The United Nation Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), has raised concerned on how at least one out of the world’s estimated 6,000 languages disappears every two weeks, saying at least 43 per cent of the estimated languages spoken in the world were under danger.

UNESCO said that only a few hundred languages have genuinely been given a place in education systems and public domain, and that less than a hundred were used in digital world.

The Director-General, UNESCO, Audrey Azoulay, said that human values, beliefs and identity were embedded within language and that every two weeks a language disappears, just as she recommended that promotion of multilingualism could helps to stop programmed extinction.

On occasion of  2018 International Mother Language Day on Thursday, Azoulay urged for greater efforts to preserve and promote mother languages and indigenous languages, to bolster inclusion, diversity and ultimately, sustainable development.

“Every two weeks, one of the world’s languages disappears, along with the human history and cultural heritage that accompanies it,” the chief of the UN cultural agency warned.

“A language is far more than a means of communication; it is the very condition of our humanity. Our values, our beliefs and our identity are embedded within it.

“It is through language that we transmit our experiences, our traditions and our knowledge. The diversity of languages reflects the incontestable wealth of our imaginations and ways of life,” she added.

The 2018 theme for Mother Language Day is: “Linguistic diversity and multilingualism count for sustainable development.”

The UNESCO chief quoted Nelson Mandela as saying: “If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.”

Calling the Day an “essential component of the intangible heritage of humanity,” Azoulay underscored UNESCO’s long-standing commitment to preserving and vitalising language, defending linguistic diversity and promoting multilingual education.

“This commitment concerns mother languages in particular, which shape millions of developing young minds, and are the indispensable vector for inclusion in the human community, first at the local level, then at the global level,” she elaborated.

Azoulay said UNESCO supports policies, particularly in multilingual countries, which promote mother languages and indigenous languages and recommends using them from the first years of schooling, because children learn best in their mother language.

The UN agency also encourages their use in public spaces and especially on the Internet, where multilingualism should become the rule, she added.

“Everyone, regardless of their first language, should be able to access resources in cyberspace and build online communities of exchange and dialogue,” said Azoulay.

She called access to language resources “one of the major challenges of sustainable development, at the heart of the United Nations 2030 Agenda.”

“On the occasion of this international day, UNESCO invites its Member States to celebrate, through a variety of educational and cultural initiatives, the linguistic diversity and multilingualism that make up the living wealth of our world,” she concluded.

Lagos receives Ford Foundation’s approval for $600,000 museum

By NewsDesk,

The Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, has disclosed that the state may soon begin construction of a proposed Lagos museum following Ford Foundation approval of $600,000 meant for architectural design of the facility which would be sited at old Presidential Lodge in Lagos.

Amobode indicated that the foundation has also indicated interest to embark on a global road show to generate additional funding for the museum.

 

Speaking during Executive Vice-President of Ford Foundation, Hilary Pennington, and other top executives of the foundation visit to the state house on Monday, the governor hinted that with the fund, museum would be completed in three years and that plan was also underway by his administration to construct a museum of contemporary arts and sciences in Alausa area of the state.

Ambode explained that the museum was in line with the vision to promote the economy of the state through tourism, hospitality, arts, entertainment and culture.

Oh Pennington’s part, funding the construction of the Lagos proposed museum was an honour for the Foundation to partner the state government on such an iconic building.

She said the donation was in fulfillment of the pledge made by the foundation’s president when he visited the governor a year ago.

“We are honoured to partner with you and to support your vision for the state to build an iconic cultural space to make available to all diverse cultures and protect the heritage of this great city, and to create space that will be opened to people from all over the world to see and learn about the heritage of this city.

“This is a great city; it is one of the world’s great cities and it deserves the kind of iconic space that you are creating, and we are very honoured to be part of this,” Pennington said.

The governor had earlier received members of the Oriwu Club, Ikorodu, on a courtesy visit.

Ambode said that Majidun and houses around Ibese in the Ikorodu axis of the state would be developed into world class tourism outlets.
He promised that more projects would be embarked upon in the axis.

The President of the club, Mr Kayode Anibaba, lauded the governor for his various development projects across the state
.

He pledged the club’s support for Ambode to have a second term in office.

Ben Enwonwu’s painting to sell for £300K

By NewsDesk,

Renowned painter and sculptor, Ben Enwonwu’s 1974 painting of an Ile-Ife princess will be auctioned in London on 28 February and may fetch a record price of between £200,000 to £300,000.

The sale is expected to be broadcast live to bidders in Lagos is that of Princess Adetutu Ademiluyi and had been declared missing for decades until it was found in a North London flat recently.

If it goes over the upper limit, the sale will set a new record for a modern Nigerian artist

Known as Tutu, the paint is a national icon in Nigeria, with poster reproductions hanging on walls in homes all over the country.

A Nigerian family gave out the paint to the director of modern African art at the auction house Bonhams, Giles Peppiatt, who said that the family members had declared that the painting was inherited from their father.

“Such is the anticipated interest  in the paint that its appearance on the market is a momentous event”, said Peppiatt.

The artist, Enwonwu, regarded as the founding father of Nigerian modernism, painted three versions of Tutu and the image became a symbol of national reconciliation. But all three were lost and became the subject of much speculation.

Nigerian novelist, Ben Okri said it amounted to, “the most significant discovery in contemporary African art in over 50 years, it is the only authentic Tutu, the equivalent of some rare archaeological find. It is a cause for celebration, a potentially transforming moment in the world of art.”

Okri, writing in the forthcoming Bonhams magazine, said he hoped Tutu’s rediscovery would help bring about a wider re-evaluation of African art.

“Traditional African sculpture played a seminal role in the birth of modernism in the early years of the 20th century, but modern African artists are entirely absent from the story of art,” he said.

“This is an oversight that urgently needs rectification if the art world does not want to imply that contemporary Africa has made no contributions to the world’s artistic achievements.”

Okri said Enwonwu was already world-renowned as the greatest living African artist when, in the summer of 1973, three years after the end of the Nigerian civil war, he encountered the princess and was entranced, asking to paint her portrait.

Enwonwu was a student at Goldsmiths, Ruskin College, Oxford, and the Slade in England in the 1940s, he became more widely known when he was commissioned to create a bronze sculpture of the Queen during her visit to Nigeria in 1956, a work that now stands at the entrance of the parliament buildings in Lagos.

Bronze sculpture of the Queen during her visit to Nigeria in 1956,

However, Tutu is regarded as his greatest masterpiece – the image was on display at his funeral in 1994.

The whereabouts of the other Tutu paintings have however, remained a mystery.

Nigerian movie producer set to hold cultural carnival in Scandinavia

By Zulaykha Abodunrin with Agency report, 

Denmark-based Nigerian movie producer and director, Stephen King, has disclosed that a Nigerian Cultural Heritage Carnival will take place in the Scandinavia from May 2 to May 5.

He told journalists during a the telephone chat from Copenhagen, Denmark, on Sunday that the event would be the first of its kind and that the event was aimed at promoting Nigerian culture to the people of Scandinavia.

King posited that the Scandinavia have a booming market opportunity that can be useful to Nigeria, adding that a day would be set aside for business forum for Nigerian entrepreneurs and business community to interact with colleagues from the Scandinavia.

“I made the proposal for this event and sent to the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture. The ministry approved the proposal and we have started arrangements to hold the event. We want to bring Nigeria closer to them and let them know about our country. Scandinavians are afraid to invest in Nigeria. If they know about us, there is a possibility that many of them will invest in Nigeria and do things with our people.

“The cultural carnival will be the first of its kind in this region. It is expected that Nigeria will take advantage of the booming market opportunity in the area. The event intends to help in the process of integration and cultural diversity in Copenhagen by offering a unique platform for Africans and African descendants to share the cultural aspects of our country,” the producer said.

King projected that the main event will feature  Nigerian dance, music, clothes, drama, and films. States and Local Governments are free to participate to showcase their potentials.

“We want to show them what we can do, who we are. We want to show them that Nigerians are loving people and have great business potentials,” he said.

Scandinavia and the Nordic region is a historical and geographical region covering much of Northern Europe with countries like Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Iceland which make up the region.

 

To Laolu Senbanjo, ‘art is sacred’

Culled from TheGuardian Life

Laolu Senbanjo’s rise to fame was not fortuitous. From his house in Nigeria’s north-central state of Kwara, where he taught himself how to paint on marble floors, his art has appeared on bodies of celebrities like Beyoncé and Alicia Keys to products of global brands such as Nike and Bulgari.

Laolu has come a long way since he quit his job as Senior Legal Officer at the Human Rights Commission in Abuja and moved to the United States in 2013, where his art called Afromysterics, which is the representation of the African thought pattern through his chosen medium – the Sacred art of Ori, blossomed.

His decision to leave the country was pivotal to his success. The main reason for this for him was the pressure from family and friends to get a job. He says, “I just feel like I needed to change the environment to be myself and just explore; that’s why I went to New York and the rest is history.” Almost like a need to clear up the air, he says, “I didn’t learn anything in New York; everything that I did there is the same thing that I did here.”

The representation of Ori according to him is a concept he developed that draws inspiration from Yoruba mythology. As Ori, loosely translated to a personal god, is individualistic, so is its representation in Laolu’s work.

“What I do is I listen to your vibes and take elements from your Ori; your Ori could simply mean your vibe, it could mean your light, your intuition, it could mean a lot of things. If you give me a vibe of one of the Orishas, for example maybe Osun, Oya, Obatala or Sango, I take elements, existing patterns from these deities, and put those patterns on your skin. What I’m doing is transporting you from who you are now back in the past and putting you back in that person.”

Linking these African thoughts and patterns with lines, he has been able to create a roadmap of different subjects’ journeys as well as used his art to start a conversation and interpret his views of the world through his patterns.

But, in spite of the impacts his art has created, Laolu admits that his mastery of the mystery of Ori is not total at this point. It is expected his art will evolve as his understanding of the sacred art develops further. He says,

“There’s so much existing under Yoruba mythology in Nigeria, West Africa. Nigeria alone has over 500 languages; that’s a lot of ethnicities and culture in one spot. What I’m doing is just one, which is Yoruba.”

The journey to becoming the artist he is known for today wasn’t an easy one. When asked how he was able to hone his craft while practising law, he says, “I didn’t stop, I just practised a lot more.” Quitting his job as a lawyer did not signify the end of being an activist for social change.

As a lawyer with Nigeria’s rights commission, he was tasked with the education of parents in the Northern region of the country on the Child’s Right Act. He says, “This opened my eyes to my own privilege and understanding that I didn’t have to go through that and I know a lot of people didn’t have to go through that. It opened my eyes to poverty and classism in the Nigerian society. This is why some people will never attain a certain level of work in their life just because of their background, because their parents don’t see the reason for their education.” Moreover, he became aware of the vulnerability and many troubles of the girl child in the region.

The effect of this on Laolu’s work is pretty obvious as he reveals it’s why he does a lot of his work on women as a thing of elevation, saying, “A lot of my work centres around women as a cornerstone of the African society.” Leaving that job to concentrate on his art has not deterred Laolu from speaking against the harsh treatment of the girl child in Nigeria.

Through one of his works called Dreamscape, an intricately patterned painting, he highlights how the future of the girl child is determined by where she’s born.

“Children have no control over where they are born, so why should your life depend on that environment? And that in itself is something that disturbs me.” He adds, “[They] become sexualised depending on the environment they are and some girls at the age of 15, 20 are already adults because they’ve seen so much. I talk to some of them and when you look at them you can tell and it just breaks my heart because this is just a child but this child is already a woman.”

Global recognition came for Laolu when Beyoncé worked with him on a video for a track off her visual album Lemonade. His art was featured on the bodies of Beyoncé and some of the dancers in the track Sorry. His feature in the four-minute video catapulted his art to the world. It also initiated his parent’s acceptance of his art, as he recalls his dad calling him to ask, “Laolu, who is Beyoncé?”

Hitherto, his father was not disposed to him dumping his law career for art. Speaking on the acceptance, he says, “At the end of the day, every Nigerian parent just wants to be proud of their child and, if that thing is outside their reality, it’s hard for them to connect with it.” He is also quick to add that, “But they see it now because everything is changing; the whole concept of being successful and the method of being successful is changing.”

As the global acclaim blooms, Laolu finds himself becoming an international face of the Nigerian culture, a role he is happy to embrace. “I just want to be able to let other people around the world know that Nigeria is blessed with a lot of people like me,” he says.

“I’ve just been fortunate to have the chance to take advantage of opportunities that have been presented to me. I just want people to know that Nigeria is not just about 419 scams and bad governance; we have people who can work really hard, we have talent and culture; we have things we can actually sell to the rest of the world, things that can make other countries jealous.”

Even with the fame that he has, Laolu is still being stereotyped because of his county of birth. He is visibly miffed every Nigerian in the diaspora is deemed a scammer. “You just don’t use one broad stroke to brush everybody up,” he says. “Everyone isn’t a scammer because you’ve had one bad encounter with one person. I try to educate them as much as possible. When they know who I am and what I’m doing in the world, they begin to think differently; it paints a good picture. I’m trying my possible best [not to] let my people down because, at the end of the day, I’ve never felt more Nigerian than I feel right now, being outside Nigeria.”

When he is not painting, Laolu is making music. His genre is subsumed under the broader umbrella of Afromysterics and complements his visual art. “A lot of my art is interpreted into music; a lot of my music is interpreted as art,” he says, adding, “I like to play music, not because I want to be able to perform, but because it’s how I live.”

He is working on a visual album and would like to work with genius producer Cobhams.

To Nigerian artists with similar backgrounds as himself, he says, “Everybody’s journey is different. Try as much as possible to understand you and listen to yourself because I also did not listen to anybody. I was very stubborn. Sometimes you just have to trust yourself because your body knows you more than anybody else; pay attention to those things.”
To artists he mentors, he says, “Take advantage of what you have, go to school, learn all that you can, but at the same time don’t lose your own creativity because that alone is what is going to set you apart.”

How does Laolu manage the expectations of being an artist with global acclaim? He doesn’t let it get to him. He says, “I don’t see it like I’ve accomplished a lot. I just feel like I’m still scratching the surface because there’s a lot to do. I just see my work as work and whatever needs to be done, I get it done.”

‘I will be a painter till I draw my last breath!’ – Benin Artist

By Adewunmi Abodunrin

Having discovered true passion and admirable talent in the arts, a Benin-based artist, Oluwarotimi Farore has promised to paint and draw till death comes visiting.

He said this at an exhibition tagged Beauty of Life in Benin City, Nigeria.

Farore stated that the purpose of doing the exhibition in Benin City was not to make money, but to pass a message that good things could come out of Benin.

According to him, “As an artist, I discovered myself drawing as a kid. I discovered my talent early in life. People started telling me what I was doing was good. I learnt that if your talent is not putting food on your table, there is an error somewhere. So, I have to put extra effort to showcase my works.

“Art exhibition in Benin is not a failure. I don’t know why people are running from Benin. There is good business in Art in Benin. If you look at all the work, I put effort in doing each and every one of them. I will have no regret if I did not make any money from this exhibition.

He added that the decision to choose the title, ‘Beauty of Life’ stems from the belief that God is the best artist, stressing that He (God) took his time to create humans and use only voice to develop every other thing.

“When you look at the sky, butterflies, birds, without those things there would not be any beauty. Imagine this world is painted blue. It would be dull. No beauty. When you see varieties of colour, you will enjoy the beauty of life,” Farore stated.

FG foresees more foreign earnings, protects in Calabar’s carnival

By Abdulwaheed Usamah,

The Federal Government has said that it was high time the country start looking Calabar annual carnival beyond mare street entertainment but make it means for earning more foreign currency since it has attracting international visitors and come to stay.

It assured that it would make the annual carnival a major foreign exchange earner for Nigeria and people of the city who have serve as agency to the development.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, stated that the carnival, which has united the people over the years and had attracted wider participation, was the longest street party in the world with 12 kilometre-lond route.

Addressing gathering while flagging off third dry run of 2017 carnival which has the theme ‘Migration, on Sunday in Calabar, Mohammed said that it was time for people to start seeing the carnival beyond entertainment but see the seriousness and the message it conveys.

He hinted that the government was pushing the Calabar carnival to be a major foreign exchange earner for the country and it was significant to recognise the city with 26 beauty queens from 26 African countries who would be contesting for the 2017 Miss Africa pageant.

He added the participants would be spending two weeks in the city and return to their countries as Nigerian own ambassadors.

““They will tell the story of what they have seen and the hospitality of Cross River and that is a big plus for the state and the country. What is happening here today is reverberating throughout the world because this dry run is unique in the sense that it gives the organisers and participants the opportunity to perfect their act.

““I also want to take this opportunity to appeal to the world to see this street party beyond dancing and beyond the costumes’’, he said.

Mohammed noted that festival had become a platform for youths to vent their creativity and a platform to turn Nigeria’s creative industry into a veritable creative economy, adding that, he was delighted to know that everything being used in the carnival were manufactured locally by Nigerians.

According to him, Calabar carnival does not only create an economy, but also unites the whole of Nigeria because it had enlightened the people of Nigeria and the world about Climate Change and Migration’’, he said.

The Minister, touring monorail ride from Calabar International Convention Centre (CICC) to the Tinapa Business and Leisure Resort, described the project as a major booster to the tourism sector in the state.

“”I am happy to know that the second phase will also link the airport. This shows that Cross River is taking a major step in building infrastructure that will help in pushing the state as a conference hub.

““We will not hesitate in helping the state government to sustain this kind of project. We are ready as a government to provide the enabling environment for states like Cross River to thrive.

“”Even in the Federal Council of Tourism, Cross River is a member because we recognise the giant stride the state is making in tourism’’, he said.

Earlier, Cross River State Deputy Governor, Prof. Ivara Esu, said that the annual festival had become an international brand and that the state was delighted to have the minister in person to perform the flag off, adding that, preparations had been made for the grand finale of the carnival billed for Dec. 28.