unSEEN Peek™OGONI BOY 2007 is a photograph from George Osodi’s OIL RICH NIGER DELTA 2003-2007 series.

George Osodi is a Nigerian photographer from Ogwashi-Uku, Delta State and  has won global acclaim for his documentation of oil pollution and communities within the Niger Delta.

He was awarded first prize at the Fuji African Photojournalist of the Year competition in 2004 in the Features and Portfolio categories.

Humanitarian, philanthropist and social entrepreneur Elisa Sednaoui-Dellal concludes her December 2020 Interview with AFRICA: Seen & Heard (ASH).

She shares insight into the November 2019 Contemporary Curated auction she co-curated at Sotheby’s London and how proceeds benefited Funtasia Education programmes during COVID-19 Lockdown.

ASH explores the concept of modern Noblesse Oblige in Nigeria.

Elisa explains the importance of creative and interdisciplinary education and how it can be used to optimally develop children, youth and adults.

Creativity is an effective medium proven to advance social harmony and empower the economic growth of developing nations; Elisa and ASH outline attainable 2021 goals for Funtasia Education to plan and activate within Nigeria.

DISCOVER: Funtasia’s Mission and projects in 2020 which can be activated in Nigeria and other nations with YOUR support and patronage.

Whilst researching the previous ASH Blog interview with Lemi Ghariokwu – one of Nigeria’s foremost living artists – we discovered that in the fight for Nigerian Independence, the early 1900s Southern Nigerian elite successfully harnessed Modern Art – which evolved into Nigerian Modernism – as a vehicle for political activism.

Pillars of Lagosian society, such as my great grandfather Dr John Randle and his peers Dr Oguntola Sapara ( born Alexander Johnson Williams), the Nigerian lawyer and British colonial era legislator Sir Kitoye Ajasa OBE (born Edmund Macauley) and the educator and administrator Henry Rawlingson Carr deployed Fine Art within their political activism and development of society.

As patrons they developed the careers of indigenous contemporary artists to establish values of racial equality, social justice and promote a moral economy based on Noblesse Oblige duties.

The NOBLESSE OBLIGE sensibility – a philosophy that wealth, power and prestige must be balanced by moral duty and social responsibility towards those who lack such privilege or cannot perform such duty or bear the responsibility – has been eroded over the past century to the detriment of Nigeria’s indigenous charitable and recreational activity.

I was very impressed with the CONTEMPORARY CURATED auction that you guest-curated with Funtasia Education’s Trustee and Patron Princess Alia al-Senussi at SOTHEBY’S LONDON in November 2019.

The sale assembled first class works from a diversity of postwar (1945-1980) and contemporary artists and benefited the Elisa Sednaoui Foundation (now known as Funtasia Education).

AFRICA: Seen & Heard’s Launch Experience featured an inaugural auction executed by Hugh Edmeades, Christie’s Head of International Auctioneering in benefit of the Weekend Arts College whose board I sat upon.

It is not easy for charities to promote sales without the support of stakeholder and community good will and very exceptional patrons.

I appreciate how much effort, diplomacy and hard work your successful sale must have taken!


Contemporary Curated truly was a great experience. For the selection process, for some of the artists we got to select between different works of the same artist and which ones to highlight.

For me it was an interesting process as I don’t come with an art critic experience.

I didn’t study Art beyond high school, but I did over the years through my own curiosity visit many shows and museums. My husband [Alex Dellal] collects, and also used to have a gallery [20 Hoxton Square] when he was younger for up and coming artists.

His knowledge is Huge: it’s always fascinating for me that he’ll know the artist, roughly when he did the work, what it means. This is good, because my approach is very instinctive.

So, sometimes I may know or have the chance to be told a bit about the stories, certain aspects, but then I really approach it by simply looking with my heart. How it makes me feel, is it something that I like?

I enjoyed doing the curation with Alia. She is the representative for Art Basel for the Middle East and the UK, a visiting scholar at Brown [University] and advisor to the Ministry of Culture in Saudi Arabia.

Alia is definitely an academic and brought to the curation her deep knowledge. I love how her brain works.

Alia and I have many interesting connections. She was living in Cairo roughly at the same time when I was also living in Cairo as a child, we didn’t know each other then.

Her first art project was actually in Egypt, with Emilia Kabakov in Siwa, a magnificent , must visit location.

I always find it beautiful when the stars align and we meet new kindred spirits, as adults. It was my husband who introduced us.

I am very grateful to Alia and Sotheby’s for thinking of not only including me as a curator for the sale but also for choosing to give part if the proceeds of the sale – I think it was 12 works – of which proceeds were entirely donated to Funtasia Education.

Sotheby’s UK was exceptional in their support of Funtasia and how far they went to help sell everything at the best price.

It was really, really humbling and I enjoyed also the different parts of the event. We had a panel, a luncheon, a dinner. It was a great time of connection and exchange. How we used the funds?

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A post shared by Elisa Sednaoui Dellal (@elisasednaoui)

It was very lucky that the auction happened around November 2019, because 2020 was a demanding year for financial security to say the least.

2020 is also the year we begun programmes implementation in Mexico. We held a workshop in a public school of Xalapa for over 100 kids, including also some refugees minors living in a residence run by UNHCR. We trained 30 adults and now we are continuing entirely online – because the schools are closed in Mexico – with 600 youths; 6 public schools.

In Egypt we are happy to report we’ve been able to not lay off anyone.

Our educators moved very quickly online and delivered more than a hundred hours of online live stream programmes.

In-person programs have now resumed since several months, with no Coronavirus-related problem so far.

We’ve been very strict with masks and security guidelines, which can be challenging as in Luxor for example nobody wears masks.

We now have a Compliance Inspector, one person from the team that makes sure everybody sanitizes their hands before entering the space, that they wear a mask at all times.

It is important to say that our centre is open-air. But if someone doesn’t want to wear a mask, we need to make sure the local team is trained to use a diplomatic way to reiterate the rules that apply to our locations and that these are followed, as it is in everyone’s best interest.

With potential local peer-pressure, there is a lot of work we need to do, rather than of micro-management I would say, of “facilitation”, which is required for the positive execution of quality development work.

In Nigeria, Art tends not be recognised as an important subject within the education system.

Students from primary through to tertiary institutions have been deprived of Art within national curricula and essential material resources that would support creative teaching for many decades.

Art and cultural organizations including national museums and theatres and the Centre for Black and African Arts and Civilisation, of which AFRICA: Seen & Heard is Cultural Partner are also neglected and underfunded.

Over the past year we have discussed how vital a component of culture Art is.

You have passionately outlined and proven with innovative projects how creativity greatly impacts on a society’s social, economic and political development.

As Art is a tool subject and the universal lingua franca of the child, it is clear that Funtasia Education’s programmes are could enable Nigerian children – and adults – to practice and develop imaginative, intellectual, theoretical and practical skills that can assist healing from trauma, foster personal development and establish professionalism that would boost pathways to prosperity and economic productivity.

Nigeria’s general attitude towards Art education needs to be reset.

Art has been proven to augment traditional academic subjects which all require visualization and illustration to optimize the learning process.

Just over 100 years ago, Nigeria’s first modern artist Aina Onabolu championed Art being taught as a compulsory subject within Lagos schools. Despite offering to teach students without claiming a salary, he was rejected by the British colonial administrators.

Onabolu began to teach a creative educational practice he termed ‘new art’ to the children in his locale and would teach art unofficially in the handful of mission schools that would allow him.

After receiving patronage from my great grandfather, he was able to gain a Fine Art Diploma from St. John’s Wood College in London as well as a teaching certificate. On his return to Nigeria in 1922 – with Diplomas in hand – he was immediately employed at the elite King’s College in Lagos and went on to teach in other schools part-time. Until 1927, Aina Onabolu was the only art teacher in Nigeria.

Art has been proven to aid development of the vital imaginative, intellectual, theoretical and practical skills that children need to prepare them for continual personal development and professionalism as adults.

Onabolu’s art students included Nnamdi Azikiwe, the first president of independent Nigeria – whom he taught at 12 years old – and notable statesmen and captains of industry too numerous to list.

In the Twenty-First Century, Art Education deserves to be prioritized and enshrined within Nigeria’s national curriculum and available to all regardless of social status or gender.

Art as a subject is diverse in its scope.

Art education should be programmed to preserve Nigeria’s diverse indigenous cultures, propagate languages and develop and serve holistic Nigerian value systems.

In 2021, AFRICA: Seen & Heard will continue to facilitate Funtasia Education’s development and activation of Art Education programmes in Nigeria, primarily within the Niger Deltan Bodo Community.

We have introduced you to Mr Lazarus Tamana, who was recently elected as the President of the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP) and will promote Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) engagement of Funtasia Bodo.


Life skills and social skills are fundamental, because we can unlock our fulfillment and self and economic realisation if we are able to listen well, if we are able to manage conflict and our emotions, if we are able to take initiative, if we are able to read instructions and give instructions. All competencies we adults can take for granted, but as a parent I now know they need to be taught.

As parents, we also need the surrounding community, the school, the educators, to support in the example of a better way of interacting or dealing with conflict.

I can feel it with a seven year old and a three year old and I can bet you see it with your daughter, life skills are not just the example we give as parents.

Unfortunately, most teachers in formal schools are not trained to pay proper attention to the socio-emotional wellbeing of children, they are more preoccupied with academic knowledge.

We believe at Funtasia that schools need this support. 

Teachers who get to start to work with us and learn about the Funtasia approach ask for further professional development because they need it.

Teachers need to be motivated and to continually be given tools to deliver more transformative group educational experiences.

So, I believe going back to the skills, those skills are key to the self realization of any individual and to support successful academic learning.

There is data that shows – that when a child is exposed to cultural activities or artistic activities they perform better in Mathematics for example.

Extensive studies have shown that extracurricular activities provoke this type of improvement. These type of activities are most commonly referred to as extracurricular, but to us they are more than that, we view education as truly comprehensive.

To us education is a 360⁰ spectrum which includes of course the academic knowledge: the geography, the history, the facts, the science, the physics, the maths, the grammar, of course all of this but then of course gardening, nutrition, coding, wellness, emotional management, self care, sport.

All of these tools prepare an individual.

Winnie: “That’s excellent. It is about having that really holistic engagement, you’re forming a child who is a citizen of a country and in a globalised world, a citizen of the world. It’s giving them civilized social skills and humanity really. To see otherness, respect other people and respect themselves.”

Yes, so they can take aware decisions, whichever these are and they possess tools to inform themselves before they take those decisions.

There is data about how many positions are going to need to be filled in Technology and Coding. That gives us an indicative sense about how many people are going to be needed with coding skills. The number is huge.

The way I receive your question, I see two aspects:

On one side, all the potential employability of people working in Coding or Technology. If effectively people are trained then suddenly they can work from home and earn an international salary. They can be competition for India, which I now believe is the biggest coding labour pool.

That’s one thing…

Winnie brought up the infrastructure gap in Nigeria, particularly Power.

Then what you’re telling me is the first thing that needs to happen is to figure out how to capitalise more on solar energy.

I think one could start with that. Then, use the Solar Technology to enable the internet connection, the electricity, the power to access it. Then I see again, the power of the employability in tech, along with the access the infinite access to knowledge that one can get through the internet and connectivity.

Whether its Funtasia Digital classes or the MOOCs [Massive Open Online Courses] or all the universities, the tutorials and the free courses that you can access online.

It will be interesting to see what can blossom.

In March, I attended the 7th Annual Commonwealth Africa Summit 2020 to identify industrialisation and employment growth opportunities that could negate the need for irregular migration.

People movement often leads to human trafficking and Contemporary Enslavement and now we must also factor in the peril and implication of the global Coronavirus pandemic.

Tobias Masterton, the Executive Director of Tutudesk UK, a charity that AFRICA: Seen & Heard has synergized to assist Funtasia Education’s programme provision in settings lacking writing surfaces also attended the Summit.

We both appraised the fact that the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) will hinge on Africa’s development.


We are opening now the first solar panel fuelled computer learning labs in Mexico, in Xalapa.

Our partner organisation is called Computer Aid and they’re based in the UK. Their main backing sponsor is Dell.

Dell favours a model of co-partnership with local partners, who take responsibility for the long term running of the lab. If there is this commitment, Dell will provide all the technology.

Our common future holds harnessing the technology that is available in a more effective way.

In Africa, Computer Aid previously run some of these labs in Nigeria. Some are currently active in Kenya and South Africa, as well as Mexico and other countries.

SHINE THE LIGHT WITHIN EACH CHILD: Zithulele Village is a remote village in South Africa’s Eastern Cape where the local students have little access to technology. A Solar Learning Lab was deployed on the site of Computer Aid‘s local charity partner, Sihamba Sonke.

Rehabilitating a shipping container that is not used anymore as a social-distanced computer lab, enabling access to education, can also represent a social-entrepreneurship venture opportunity, since the lab itself can evolve into an internet café where people can pay for the access to internet if they don’t have it at home.

The end goal for me, is for the local community to be able to pay for the education themselves.

The government or a big corporation can maybe continue to sustain one part of the costs, but the success of all of this will be realized when the local communities are able to pay for the education of their children and not continue to think that it’s the rich person, the corporation or the perpetrator of capitalism that owes them, who needs to cover this. If we continue in this mentality, I believe then where we’re not advancing.

Winnie: “Nigeria’s greatest wealth is human capital. There is also so much to trade rather than relying on foreign aid and IMF assistance. It is as much creating that paradigm shift in mindset: this is what we have and what we can deliver whether from the soil, made with our hands, or invented by innovative minds; on the whole most think this way but there are many access and activation barriers.

If people have the ability they don’t always have the opportunity and if there is opportunity it can also be squandered via nepotism and kleptocracy rather than given to those who deserve or have earned opportunities based on merit.

In 2021, ASH’s Contemporary Enslavement Programme will be focused on harnessing innovations in Agricultural and Food Production technology. With our local and international partners we would like to further explore engaging creative education focused on Nutrition and Cooking in our business development models, particularly in Bodo.

Our cornerstone maxim is: “Prevention is Better than Cure”, so the younger we can engage citizens, the less likely they are to grow up and require or attempt irregular pathways to prosperity.

In Nigeria we support Mr Tamana’s enhancement of human-machine relationships that increase agricultural productivity and food processing capacity in the Niger Delta.

We will also support other local actors in other States to unlock sustainable new market opportunities that assure domestic food production, regional trade, national food security and the export of exceptional produce.

In the UK our new practice ASH Culinaria has begun to market and promote sustainable Nigerian produce via our culinary consultancy with Michelin Star-trained, award-winning Caribbean Chef Anthony Cumberbatch.

A product that has been well received and we are currently innovating concepts, dishes and products with is the exception Turmeric that Mr Tamana is cultivating in Bodo.

It has a delicate aroma and very mild flavour, more akin to a pudding spice than a curry cornerstone.


I started using Turmeric after I had my first child, because for the first time I suffered from a very severe sciatica inflammation.

Like severe at the level of, not being able to bend at 25 years old.

I am quite in tune with my body and I had never had an issue like that.

I remember clearly that it was during – of course- the first workshop run by Funtasia in Luxor in 2014. And by the way, this was two weeks before my civil wedding. I was in severe pain.

My son at one year old was quite heavy already. I did start working out more after that, because I understood that I needed to become stronger to be able to carry my boys. I had never strenghtened my back or anything. Didn’t even know it was possible.

Initially, I took Voltaren 100mg but I would still feel the pain. It was not doing enough to really take away the pain.

My mother suddenly told me, over the phone: “Oh, you have to use Turmeric. Go to the market, buy the powder and make a tea of it. But be careful, as it can stain your hands and your teeth. Drink this tea.”

So I drank it and WINIFRED, I COULDN’T believe it, I couldn’t believe.

Immediately, I drank the tea and I could not feel the pain anymore.

What the Voltaren was not able to do, the tea did in one second.

When people start taking these natural supplements – you know, I take adaptogens in an informed way, I try to do it in a way that I actually feel the results –but sometimes you get this feeling that you take them and you don’t actually feel anything, right? And the idea is that you have to take it every day for a while, to feel anything.

With Turmeric what is shocking is the immediacy of the anti-inflammatory effect of relaxation for the body muscles.

It helped me tremendously, not only for the sciatica. I then started taking it every day to help with general inflammation.

I believe Turmeric is the most powerful natural anti-inflammatory known to man.

Now, I have learned that the dosage is very important if you take it in capsules. The root or powder are not practical for me. The pills take away a lot of the thinking, they make intake easier. I hear it needs to be mixed with Cayenne pepper to be more effective.

Another man friend, a friend of my husband’s who is a geek of sort of natural remedies told me: “If you take the pills, you need to take them with HOT water as it helps efficacy.

So, that’s my experience of Turmeric, I am very much a believer.

If I don’t have to cook it, very, very delighted to have it in my food and in my drink as well!

WINNIE: “That is good to know, I will have a gift of the Ogoni Turmeric that Lazarus produced ready when you are back in London.

You will love the Ogoni Turmeric Latte that I am working on. It is mainly Ogoni Turmeric which is delightfully mild and relaxing, a few renowned global superfoods, some delicious secrets and new discoveries.

In the meantime you can try making one with your usual Turmeric powder, some honey and hot milk – dairy or plant-based – it will have a good anti-inflammatory effect but won’t taste as delicious as our fantastic Ogoni Blend!”

You have been a muse and campaign face to many of fashion’s greatest designers including Giorgio Armani, Karl Lagerfeld, Roberto Cavalli and your godfather Christian Louboutin and serve as co-chair of the CFDA Fashion Trust Los Angeles.

In 2014, I gave a guest lecture as part of the Luxury Brand Management MA program at Regent’s Business School in London, in my presentation and hand-outs, I noted:

Although 50% of Nigerians live in poverty, there are over 60 million upwardly mobile citizens; more than South Africa’s entire population. The population is youthful and growing in comparison to mature luxury markets in the West and East.

Nigerians represent one of the biggest consumer market segments by geography to many international luxury brands and retailers and are also gaining prominence and eminence in the design, production, distribution and marketing of luxury goods and services.

During the first 2020 Lockdown when the Luxury Goods market sharply contrasted, I appraised a programming opportunity for potential training initiatives:

Nigeria has a wealth of raw and sustainable luxury materials and many indigenous artisanal crafts.

These national assets could positively contribute to the ethical stock of Western premium brands who are re-evaluating their supply or whole value chains, production processes and business models in the new era of luxury.

Would Funtasia Education be open to explore integrating Fashion into its creative education activities in a manner that could: 1. Engage the stakeholdership of legendary Nigerian artists, 2. Secure the Corporate Philanthropy of Western Luxury brands, 3. Raise funds to activate regional projects and 4. Advance the Made in Africa Agenda?

The answer is Yes, absolutely.

One of the first programmes we’re interested in working on is Sustainable Fashion, teaching youth the truth about fashion production and how we can make more informed choices as customers to be able to protect our planet and also our industries and production worldwide.

That’s one thing, there are so many more.

Now that we’ve opened this topic, that I hear those words out loud, I realise there are so many sub-topics within this overarching theme, of how fair-trade can be done and it means to do fair-trade.

Or better even, how can we go further than Fair Trade?

A friend, who is also a board member of Funtasia in the UK, Amy Christiansen, an American coming from a background in Development and a philanthropic family, worked in development for many years and launched a few years ago the first sustainable luxury fragrances brand, called Sana Jardin.

Not only are the fragrances quite exceptional, they’re produced with flowers picked by Moroccan women who reap flowers for the biggest fragrances in the world, including Chanel.

They wear white and they chant as they pick these flowers. The reason I am talking about Sana Jardin right now is because, Amy defined the brilliant concept, which she trademarked, Beyond Sustainability©.

Beyond Sustainability©, because it is not enough anymore today to be sustainable and to pay the correct minimum wages to the people who produce. We can go much further with our skills and expand the model. As Amy met with these women to create the fragrances, she understood that they only worked seasonally. She realized that with everything that is being thrown away when the essence of the flower is extracted, additional items for sales such as candles could be produced.

These candles are now being distributed all over Morocco through a supermarket chain.

Today these women can produce income all year round. I would be interested in developing further programmes around Fashion. We’re living a very interesting reassessing time for fashion worldwide.

The next couple of years are going to give us a sense of where we’re going, what is going to change.

Hopefully something is going to change in production, because I think we can all agree that too many exacerbated aspects are not viable any more.

It’s not ethical to overproduce, and then burn clothes. It’s not sustainable to give an over-pumped price first, if you then sell the same items with 50%, 60% discount a few months later.

There are a lot of practices of production, business that we need to change and hopefully Covid-19 will be seized as an opportunity for this renewal.

This progress requires a very deep level of resetting. I commit to this everyday personally, with the choices I make of products to buy, and of course with the work that we do at Funtasia. We aspire to grant the next generation increasing opportunities for access to the most varied tools. So they can inform themselves and as we said earlier, take informed choices.


HAPPINESS AUDIT: Ask yourself questions about how your current day-to-day actions are aligned with what makes you happy? Which transformative initiatives can you easily support that will bring happiness and opportunity to those less fortunate in society? #HappyHereAndNow http://elisasednaoui.org/

FEEL: Instinct, Experience and the Creative Risk of Contemporary Art

LISTEN: In conversation with Funtasia Education Founder & Director, Elisa Sednaoui-Dellal & Trustee, Princess Alia Al-Senussi on modern womanhood, mixed parentage, social responsibility and fashion sustainability.| A Modist Meeting

Princess Alia Al Senussi‘s family ruled Libya until 1969. She is a respected cultural strategist, patron and academic and shares her thoughts on rebuilding a country through Culture: https://www.thenationalnews.com/uae/libyan-princess-on-qaddafi-war-and-rebuilding-a-country-through-culture-1.825463

EVALUATE: Money Alone Can’t Fix the Nigerian Village Ruined by Shells Oil. In 2015 the community of Bodo won a $77 million lawsuit against Shell for two oil spills that devastated their environment and livelihoods. The money from this landmark victory has now been spent, but is Bodo any better off?

IMAGINE: An African continent, where leaders use mineral wealth wisely to fund better health, education, energy and infrastructure. Kofi Annan, the seventh Secretary-General of the United Nations envisions the future ASH and Funtasia Education work towards.
RECOGNISE: Africa is poised to take on more manufacturing in the face of global trade tariffs and rising wages in China. Three of the continent’s fashion leaders discuss: Lagos Fashion Week founder Omoyemi Akerele, Made in Africa Executive Director Matt Liu and Ethiopian-born model Liya Kebede, founder and designer of the made-in-Africa label LemLem.

© W. O. Adeyemi/ AFRICA: Seen & Heard Ltd and africaseenheard.wordpress.com, 2020. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to W. O. AdeyemiAFRICA: Seen & Heard and africaseenheard.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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