Kufre Ekanem, Corporate Affairs Adviser, NB Plc, declared open the 2015 edition at a press briefing held at Ikoyi, Lagos office of the AAF.

Ekanem, speaking on the company’s sponsorship, said the National Arts Competition is one of the platforms of NB Plc’s ‘Growing With Communities’ focus area in the ‘Brewing A Better World’ sustainability agenda and also a key component of their commitment to ‘Winning with Nigeria’, PM News reports.

“This competition enables us promote and encourage the development of creativity, arts and artists in Nigeria. We recognise that art plays an important role in strengthening cultural values in any society and this sponsorship remains part of a broad initiative to support art development in Nigeria, as well as the development of talents in various fields of arts,” he said.

The competition is open to aspiring Nigerian artists expected to showcase their talent in diverse mediums such as painting, sculpture, photography, mixed media, installation, and video art. This year’s interesting and creative theme for the competition has been tagged “Future Histories”.

Interested competing artists are expected to think laterally about social, political and cultural climate of their local communities while exploring their creativity.

Entries for the competition commenced 9 June and would close 3 July. There will be a shortlist of the 12 best entries who will participate in the finals.

This will be followed by an artists’ retreat and workshop facilitated by leading artists, scholars and art practitioners. There will also be mentoring and studio visits for the finalists.

The grand finale and judging ceremony will be held in November 2015 to select winners. The winners will be decided by a panel of judges led by the internationally acclaimed award winner Professor El Anatsui.

The winner will go home with cash prize of N2 million and a Solo Exhibition. There will also be N1 million each for winners of the Outstanding Concept and Outstanding Production.

Last year’s competition was a huge success with Erasmus Onyishi, a sculptor who specializes in drawing attention to recycling waste materials from the environment emerging as winner.

And since his emerging winner, Erasmus has participated in several exhibitions as well as many speaking and mentoring programmes.