Porth Harcourt-based Costume Designer, Mr. Chike Mordi spoke to Ogi John and James Ibechi on this year’s (December 2017) edition of Agila Carnival.
Who is Chike Mordi, for the sake of our readers?
My name is Chike Mordi, I am a costume designer.
We understand you are the costume designer for Agila carnival, what is the inspiration; how did you come about the idea of the designs?
As you all know, custom designs are character-inherited. The inspirations for the costumes are drawn from the film. Film-based designs are what we do for the carnival to interpret the theme for the year, which is one people one love. The Idomas are known for their unity because it is popularly said in their dialect “ Opiatoha Ki’Idoma ”. That is, their strength lies in their unity. Based on that, we are working on the design that is based on the history of the people. We look at the Idoma yesterday, today and tomorrow.
Marketing of carnivals costumes is a huge revenue source where you make the costumes and people buy them, wear them, style up with them and they remain fashionable after the carnival. Are you able to do that for Agila Carnival?
Like you just rightly said in other carnivals around the world, people take freebies; people buy stuff that they can take home for other people to see and know. It’s a sort of creating awareness for the carnival. Yes for this year in Agila Carnival we are looking at having stuffs like that where people can get souvenirs and take home. Not only the souvenirs, we are not going to be in charge of producing the souvenirs of the carnival, but we are also looking at human capacity building, because the people have to benefit from the carnival. The carnival has a commercial value, so we are looking at booming the youths of Benue State – talking to them and training them on these things like producing costumes, to market themselves in the carnival. Produce their artworks, their artifacts and other things that tourists will come over for carnival, buy and then take home. The 2017 edition of Agila Carnival will witness training, sales and all forms of exhibitions for costumes. And not just costumes, Idoma-based arts will also be on sale. Example are their traditional attires. You have their fabrics and will be put out there for people to know that Idomas are capable of doing that and if they properly invest in them, they will produce in quantity and they will have commercial value. This year, we are seeing how we can get the people involved because the carnival is for the Idomas and generally Benue people. So they have to embrace their carnival and come together, celebrate themselves so that the world will recognize them and also celebrate them and we are calling on all Benue indigenes, all Idomas, all Tivs, etc. As far as I am concerned there is no difference between them. They are one people. Let them come together and enhance the theme, “One people one love”.