My son, in 21 market days, the king would be organising the 'Isé contest' — the drawing competition, between the youths of our kingdom (Aguiyi kingdom) and those of the Akwara kingdom. So make sure you channel your mind towards coming up with an idea for the contest. Emeka's father said to him, as he continued with his dinner.
But dad, what's even the origin of this drawing contest and why is it so valued by our people? Emeka asked his dad.
Well my son, the contest is organised in remembrance of the great war between our people and the people of Akwara kingdom. The war lasted for more than 8 years, our people were tired, and so were our opponents. In the eight year, the then King of our kingdom, King Ebute — the first, came up with a way to put an end to the war. He met the then king of Akwara kingdom, and the terms were accepted and the war was stopped. However, on that fateful day, he went with a portrait (drawn by his son, prince Okwute) of King Abuzie of Akwara. The king was so amazed with the portrait, that he commanded that it should be done every four years in the form of a competition in remembrance of the war. And that's how the Isé contest started. Emeka's dad narrated.
Wow! What an event. Now I understand why the king has been making emphasis on that since last year. Let me start making plans towards an idea. Emeka cheerfully responded. And son, our family has never won the contest. Make sure you maximize your artistic skills excellently, it would be a great honour if we win this year's contest.
10 days to the chosen date , the king called for all the artists to gather at the palace, where he will meet and decide on the number of contestants. We all know why we have gathered here today. Without wasting much time, my secretary here will evaluate the artworks you have come with, she will then choose the best. Which are the ones that will be representing this great kingdom. Furthermore, the chosen ones are allowed to come up with any idea. Of which the best would be the winner of the contest. The king said to the youths, as he entered his palace.
The day has come and all the contestants and the people of the two kingdoms have gathered at the market Square of Aguiyi kingdom, for the art exhibition and contest.
My people, today is a great day in the history of the Aguiyi and Akwara kingdoms. We are here to do what our forefathers have instructed us to do, in order to sustain the peace and harmony existing between the two kingdoms.
Before going into the business of the day, I would like to remind us of the rules of the contest. Firstly, all participating contestants must have both parents from either one or the two kingdoms. Secondly, (s)he must be within the age limit of 12 to 30 years. King Ike of Aguiyi said to the contestants. Now, I call on his Highness, King Ebuka of Akwara kingdom to declare the occasion open. And King Ebuka prayed and declared the contest open.
The contestants were called upon, one after the other, to show the kings and the audience their artworks. Contestants from Aguiyi had to go first (since they are the host of this year's contest) before those from Akwara kingdom.
Both the audience and the kings were all amazed by the excellent and attractive ideas put into drawing by all the contestants. But there was just an outstanding portrait. In that portrait are the two kings seated on the opposite side of a table with the 'Ofor — the symbol of peace' on the table, and their forefather behind them. The drawing not only expresses the essence of the contest but also, the strong bond the contest has brought to them.
The two kings fell in love with the artwork. When they called the contestant, Mba — the son of the town crier, to ask him how he came about the faces of the grandfathers he used in the artwork. It was then they realized that his younger brother, Dubem, was the one that made the drawing. However, he refused to participate in the contest because he's just 11 years old and dumb.
On seeing the situations at hand and the irresistibility of the artwork, the king's were forced to set new rules for the contest. They agreed to reduce the age limit from 10 to 30 years.
Everyone was happy with how everything went. Young Dubem was well rewarded for an outstanding artwork. While other contestants were well compensated.