By Chikelu Chinelo, Abuja
… APCAD Investing To Economically Emancipate Artists
Ex-Deputy Speaker Chukwuemeka Ihedioha has rallied artists spirits to continuously promote and win public’s interest in art.
Hon. Ihedioha who spoke at the opening ceremony of the Association of Professional Creative Artists and Designers in Nigeria (APCAD) and Korea Culture Center (KCCN), Exploring Nigeria-Korea Visuals exhibition, said arts and culture has the capacity to become a major source of revenue within and outside Nigeria.
The exhibition features over 50 art pieces from across the country, and arranged amidst photographs, hanbok fashion, crafts and moving images of Korea permanently established at the culture centre.
The ex-lawmaker, art lover and a collector of a “a fairly number of artworks’ said artists are gifted creativity by God to explore livelihood through art, and to excel in whatever community they exist in. However, he urged they exert a little more effort to create awareness for the arts among the Nigerian public and find its ready market.
“As a lover of the arts and one that encourages art, we are grateful to the Korean Culture Center Nigeria for partnering and providing the space for the exhibition. Korea has a rich cultural heritage and I am sure we will be encouraged by their efforts at promoting the arts to do so,” Ihedioha stated.
Director of the KCCN, Han Sungrae, said the partnership speaks volumes of Korea’s commitment to work with stakeholders in Nigeria’s art and culture sector.
Meantime, the National President of APCAD, Kingsley Okafor said the association’s aim is to ensure the economic emancipation of Nigerian artists through the sales of their artworks. Although he dodged the question of assuring the sales of all artwork in the exhibition, Okafor said by improving the welfare of artists through the creation and sale of global standard art pieces, they can contribute to the economy via payment of taxes. The onus he said lies in creating a viable environment for arts to thrive.
“Today, Africa is the hotbed for new, original art. We are looking towards the day we can sell an artwork for N10m to N20m. We had just sold an artwork for N5m in an exhibition a few day ago. We are aiming to break that record in sales. Our exhibition today is with the KCCN, tomorrow with the Germany and so on. The idea is to create an enabling environment for artists to produce works, are economically emancipated and be able to produce works that meet global standards,” added Okafor.
Among works showcased at the exhibition include Endurance Omoloja’s environmental and found art pieces of a cock and female’s bust. Both pieces are made of found and recycled mechanical parts, with every nut, bolt, chain and shrapnel finding its place as in a jigsaw.
There was the artist Lawani Sunday’s abstract piece on maidens. In this illustrative piece, four maidens in ceremonial attires balance clay pots in their hands as though partaking in some ritual for young women. The audience is forced to wonder as to the significance of the moment to the subject and their one-eyed shut expression.
Chinze Ojobo’s art which explores effects of textures on colours via her multi-media pieces, are captivating largely because of her upcycling of jute bags, and used papers to produce a unique form of paper and medium she paints on. The paper differs in colour and texture, yielding varying results upon contact with the abstract and multimedia’s artist various medium, pen, marker, oil and watercolour. Ojobo also merchandizes her specially crafted paper, which she said are used for invitation cards and writing notes.
Finally, there is fledgling young photographer, Adaeze Obiobasi, a mass communication graduate, whose photos at the exhibition indicates an eye for capturing storytelling and humanist images. These amongst a few other untitled art pieces engaged viewers at the exhibition.