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WTC Arkansas Hosts U.N. Art Ambassador

May 27, 2021

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ROGERS – The World Trade Center Arkansas welcomed United Nations Art Ambassador Ibiyinka “Ibi” Olufemi Alao to Northwest Arkansas for a discussion on art, culture and trade. Alao has been an instrumental force in helping regional artists broaden their role in the creative economy.

Alao, the first guest artist in residence at the Rogers Experimental House (RXH), spoke to the media and a private reception on May 20 held in the Center.

Also will spend the remainder of May engaging the NWA community with his workshops that incorporate messages of peace, hope, love, forgiveness and unity.

In April, as part of Alao’s residency, RHX installed one of the largest paintings in the world — 100 feet wide and 12 feet tall — at its historic Downtown Rogers property. Alao has continued working on the canvas against the backdrop of community events.

The painting was the centerpiece of the May 13 Art on the Bricks Art Walk.

“The bedrock principles behind Alao’s artwork and mission can easily be applied to the business world,” said Denise Thomas, the Center’s trade director for Africa and the Middle East.

“By harnessing peace, love and art, we can bridge gaps between nations to increase positive exchange between cultures. That in turn will help build stronger business relationships and support a robust, global trade network.”

Alao, a Nigerian artist, filmmaker and author, became the first place winner of the prestigious United Nations International Art Competition amongst 61 countries. His entry “Girls and a Greener Environment” chronicles the life of a girl-child from infancy to adulthood and the values she acquires along the paths of life.

The mission of the World Trade Center Arkansas is to grow trade and increase Arkansas exports by connecting Arkansas businesses to the world through international trade services.

The center is part of the University of Arkansas and serves as the official trade promotion arm for the Arkansas Economic Development Commission. For more information and valuable updates, please follow the center on Facebook and Twitter or subscribe to the World Trade Center Arkansas newsletter.

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