"Investing in art will help create jobs," Art veteran speaks

Since Buhari was declared winner of the just concluded elections, a flood of demands from a wide range of strata of the nation asking thats their pleas be heard and their requests granted. The latest call demanding salvation, healing and restoration from the incoming administration is the arts sector

 

The Society of Nigerian Artists has cried out to the incoming government of President-elect, General Muhamadu Buhari, to address the art and culture sector and establish for them a National Museum of Modern Art among, Daily Times reports.

Since Buhari was declared winner of the just concluded elections, a flood of demands from a wide range of strata of the nation asking thats their pleas be heard and their requests granted. The latest call demanding salvation, healing and restoration from the incoming administration is the arts sector, comprising the Nigerian Society of Artists, the Visual Art Society of Nigeria (VASON) and the Guild of Professional Fine Artist, Nigeria.

Addressing journalists at his studios on Military Street, Victoria Island, Lagos, last Friday, one of the most notable artists in the contemporary Nigerian scene and one-time Chairman of the Nigerian Society of Arts (Lagos Chapter), Mr. Olu Ajayi,l isted what the art sector expects from the government of General Muhamadu Buhari.

“We are expecting that the new government coming in on May 29th should address the art and culture sector, because you cannot have a vibrant economy without a vibrant culture —because that’s what drives the soul of a country. “But if you neglect that aspect, you’ll run into trouble because you don’t really understand the people’s demand and their wishes.”

A basic infrastructure which significance past governments have failed to recognise and provide, the 52 years old art consultant, administrator and curator lamented, is a museum of modern arts.

“Secondly, a government cannot be talking about promoting tourism and attracting foreign investors when it does not know what it means for a country to have a proper museum of modern arts; what potential investors want to see is part of your culture.” Stressing the dire need further, Ajayi wove a thread to link tourism, arts and culture.

He talked about how great countries are always associated with their arts, like the Chinese culture, the Indian culture, etc. According to him, investing in the arts would greatly help in job creation.

“They can also fund an average hub or community; if you go to other parts of the world, you can go to a whole district; all you see there are galleries and artists practicing their trade. So we need things like that. If we’re going to have a developed and robust art sector, all of these have to be in place.

He also spoke about government giving grants to artists just start off, saying the reason for the hindered development is due to the lack of political will.

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