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How Arts can change narrative on northern Nigeria – Show Convener

Ms Suchet Baba, Convener of the annual arts show, “Arts and Vibes”, says the show is mobilising visual and performing artists across the country for social change in northern Nigeria.

From L-R: A dancer and choreographer, Mr Ochai Ogaba; the Convener of “Arts and Vibes, Ms Suchet Baba; and a musical artist and filmmaker, Mr Godwin Josiah, during a panel discussion on arts and social change at the annual Arts Show tagged, “Arts & Vibes in Kaduna on Friday. [NAN]
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She told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the annual event, which began in 2021, was designed to bring visual artists, poets, dancers, and musicians together to tell their stories through various forms of arts.

According to her, the stories will change the dominant single story of insecurity about the northern part of the country by showcasing the rich cultural heritage and tourism potential of the region.

“We started the Arts & Vibes because of our love for arts and how it can be used as a veritable tool for social change in this part of the country and Kaduna State in particular.

“Many people are skeptical about the northern part of Nigeria due to the spate of insecurity, but one thing we can do with our arts is to change the narrative.

“Through our arts, we will put Kaduna state and the northern part of Nigeria on the global map for the world to see that there is more than a single story of insecurity in the north.

“We want people to know that it is safe enough to do their arts shows; it is safe to host people from other parts of the country and the world which will bring more investment and promote tourism.”

She said that Arts & Vibes was providing the needed platform for visual artists to showcase their works to the world, while the poets get audiences to thrill them with their words of inspiration.

Baba said that the event gives young people the voice and the platform to express themselves, tell their stories and have the opportunity to grow bigger beyond Kaduna and northern Nigeria.

She expressed optimism that the event would grow to become an international show in a few years to come, attracting people from different parts of the world, coming to be inspired through arts.

Also, Mr Tobi Solomon, co-organiser of the show, said that the annual event would help in fostering unity because of people’s love for arts.

“Our gallery displays different forms of arts from paintings to string arts and photos, depicting social issues in a unique way that appeals to people differently.

“In line with the theme of this year’s event, “Introspection”, the event brought together people of like minds; people that love arts to look inwards to find lasting solutions to the issues affecting us as a people.

“Arts stand for peace, beauty, and everything good and can be used as a tool to change our negative narratives to something very beautiful and showcase them to the world.” Solomon said.

One of the artists, Mr Ochai Ogaba, a dancer and choreographer, described artists as nation builders through their aesthetics and philosophical inspiration.

Ogaba, who is the founder of Mud Art Company, a Kaduna-based contemporary dance outfit, said that artists contribute to the growth and development of society through creativity that addresses social challenges.

“Artists create artworks that inspire people for greatness and encourage citizens to tap from the huge entrepreneurial opportunities and possibilities for improved quality of lives,” he said.

Also, Mr Godwin Josiah, a musical artist, and a filmmaker, said that peace exists where arts thrive.

He stressed the need for the government to partner with artists in building sustainable peace.

On using arts to address poverty and climate change, Josiah said that artists have a duty to create the needed awareness on the impact of climate change and advocacy for poverty reduction through different forms of arts.

One of the exhibitors, Ms Laura Galadanci, 21, thanked the convener of the event for giving her a platform to showcase her artworks.

Galadanci, whose painting — “Dark Places” depicts the pains and anguish of the people of Kaduna state, said she would continue to advocate for lasting peace through her painting.

NAN reports that other highlights of the event include art exhibition, poetry, singing, and panel discussion on arts and social change.

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