There is an urgent need for the country to have a befitting National Gallery, where all indigenous artworks and artifacts, including those brought back from foreign countries will be safely preserved and managed for the socioeconomic development of the country.
Lovers of arts from different parts of the world made the suggestion at an Arts Exhibition held at Yaba College of Technology, YABATECH, Yaba, Lagos.
The exhibition of art works was the high point of activities lined up by the National Gallery of Arts, NGA, to mark the “Art Fair Lagos”.
The event enabled lecturers and students of the School of Art, Design and Printing Technology, of YABATECH to Showcase their artworks and designs.
In his remark, the Director General, NGA, Mr. Ebeten Ivara said that part of the objectives of the programme was to increase collaborations with stakeholders for better preservation and management of indigenous art works and designs.
Mr. Ivara who noted that his agency had collected high number of outstanding art works from different parts of the country , called on the Presidency and the National Assembly to come to the aid of the agency by providing funds to build a national Gallery where all the artifacts gathered would be properly preserved and accounted for.
“I don’t see any reason why we should not have a National Gallery. Already the drawing of the National Gallery is ready. Every other thing is ready. The only challenge is we don’t have the land ; We don’t have the finances to commence the project.
“All the artwork, including the one the British returned to us have been collected. I hope that with the coming of the new National Assembly, as we are presenting the repeal of the Act of the National Gallery, they will look into”, he said.
Mr. Ivara suggested that if possible, one of the buildings seized from corrupt persons by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC should be released to the National Gallery of Arts to be transformed into a National Gallery.
He said , “we paid courtesy call and we appealed to them (EFCC) to give us any deceased property, especially the one that has a large land space so that we can develop it alongside whatever building that is there. But we have not gotten a response from them until now”, he submitted.
Speaking after inspecting the art works, the Director General of the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria, FRCN, Dr. Mansur Liman said that he was highly impressed with the quality of arts works displayed at the exhibition.
He noted that the collection of art works displayed at the fair showed how creative Nigerians were.
The DG, who was represented by the Director, Lagos Operations of the FRCN, Mrs. Bolanle Owoyemi expressed the hoped that with a national Gallery, the art works gathered would be beneficial to the country, especially in promoting tourism.
” I am really impressed. What I have seen today shows the creative mind of our people, particularly our artists ; the past and the present. It shows that the mind is working and they are able to give a picture of what is in the mind. Art work is created in the mind and built for people to see. We have seen creativity.
“My suggestion is that, first and foremost we need to have a National Gallery where all these art works will be preserved. When the DG of National Gallery of Arts was talking,he said that he is waiting for a situation when we will have that . When we have that ,all these arts will be there and the things that are needed to be done to preserve them will be done. People can come to see and then money will be made from it”.
On his part, the Director General, National Broadcasting Commission, Mallam Balarabe Shehu , who was represented by the Director of Special Duties, Dr. Chibike Ogumike said that he was not surprised at the quality of the art works displayed at the fair, going by the fact that YABATECH was known for excellence being the first higher institution in the country.
“I’m highly impressed. These are wonderful arts; the sculptures and paintings are excellent. I ‘m really happy to be here today”.
The event brought together veterans in the field of arts including the Professor of Visual Arts and Aesthetics, African American University, Porto Novo, Benin Republic, Professor kunle Filani.
Some foreign nationals were also on ground to appreciate the beautiful artworks displayed at the event which portrayed the nation’s cultures and richness in diversity.