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Monday, May 07, 2018

Anambra Artists Seek Govt’s Intervention

The Society of Nigerian Artists (SNA) in Anambra State  has urged the government to create an arts centre in Awka, to enable practitioners showcase their works.

It spoke at its third Arts Exhibition organised in conjunction with TrigPoint Hotels, in Awka.

The Chairman, Mr. Tony Otikpa, lamented that Awka, with seasoned artists, did not have a gallery.

He said this year’s exhibition was organised in honour of the late Prof. Uche Okeke, a former member, as well as to promote culture and raise patronage.

“We do not have a gallery in the capital and this is a major challenge for artists and collectors. We want the government to build an arts’ gallery for us.

“This exhibition is to commemorate one of our colleagues, Prof. Okeke, who died two years ago, to revive our dying culture and create opportunity for exhibitors to make money.

“I believe we are lucky this time to have a commissioner who is willing to support arts,” Otikpa said.

Mrs. Izlar Batil, a German arts enthusiast, told News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the works were rich in form and subject, with strong cultural underpin.

Batil, a visiting lecturer at the Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, claimed that works in most western museums were borrowed from Africa and advised the exhibitors to expand their frontiers.

“I am impressed; this is what I have always looked forward to during my stay in Nigeria.

“I have visited museums all over Europe, but I now discover that there are lots of works there that have forms and subjects taken from Africa and declared their own.

“My take is that artists should make this rich culture popular; find a place outside here and connect these works to the world,” she said.

The Managing Director of TrigPoint Hotels,  Chief Okuchukwu Ogbuefi, attributed the poor appreciation of art works to bad economy.

Ogbuefi, a fine artist, painter and arts collector, said Nigeria was losing its younger generation to western civilisation through the social media, noting that arts can change the value system.

He promised to use his organisation to promote arts and support the society.

“The economic situation has suppressed everything that has to do with arts. If you are hungry you cannot be creative and you can’t even appreciate creative works.

“We will not allow it because our children must know their history. I will promote arts as long as I live,” Ogbuefi said.

One of the exhibitors, Chuka Nnabuife, said Arts was rewarding, but a lot of patient was needed.

Nnabuife, a fellow of SNA, advised artists to be economically engaged in other activities, as arts reward was not automatic.

“Arts is rewarding to those who commit themselves to it and not rewarding to those who do not have patience. More importantly, it is fulfilling when you see your work moving people’s emotion,” he said.

Commissioner for Indigenous Artworks, Diaspora Affairs, Culture and Tourism Mrs. Sally Mbanefo hailed the quality of works exhibited and promised government’s support.

She said Anambra is home for talented youths and enjoined parents to allow their children with flair for arts to live their dreams.

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