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Why Nigeria needs gallery edifice – The Nation Newspaper

  • December 1, 2021
  • 4 min read
Why Nigeria needs gallery edifice – The Nation Newspaper

Nigeria news – Nigeria's breaking news website
For the umpteenth time, stakeholders in the visual art sector of the creative industry have strongly canvassed a befitting national edifice for the National Gallery of Art (NGA). But, this time, with a caveat that provides a minority status for the Federal Government in ownership and operation of the national gallery, which should be funded on a Public-Private Partnership.
Other terms for the realisation of the project include: to create a national gallery in compliance with the digital world; create programmes and activities to work with artists on a continuous basis; continuation of major intellectual discussions on the value of art towards building on those poor areas of our history; explore new areas for national collection growth and make significant investments in personnel and train human capacity of the industry.
These were among resolutions reached at this year’s National Gallery of Art Stakeholders Forum held in Lagos last Friday.
Guest speaker Omooba Yemisi Shyllon, who spoke on Beyond art preservation and promotion: Gallery edifice as a major drive for diversification of Nigeria’s economy, assured that Nigeria has the potential of attracting about six million visitors per annum to its national gallery of art, thereby generating an income of $56 billion per annum. To achieve this, the above recommendations need to be taken seriously with a view to showcasing the inherent economic strength and human creative resources of Nigeria into providing some significant inputs in the diversification of the nation’s economy.
“Such diversification, arising from building and enhancing our creative talents, towards generating the much needed inputs for the growth of our galleries and growing the export of artworks,” he added.
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Omooba Shyllon said Nigeria remains in need of a national edifice to conserve and preserve the modern and contemporary artworks of artists. Some of these works, he said, adorn private galleries, homes of collectors, banking halls, reputable public buildings and institutions.
“The artworks of many Nigerian artists are thus lost in the long run and their impact remaining uncoordinated for public exposure, permanent exhibition and promotion. It is not an exaggeration to state that the lack of a national gallery edifice is a key retardant to the development of modern and contemporary art in Nigeria. A national gallery edifice being a public space for the unique and important collection of artworks over time for the public benefit, tell some coherent stories in paintings, sculptures, and photographs, spanning decades and reflecting how artists in our nation have lived and responded to the myths of religion, history and contemporary events, covering human forms and our unique cultures,” he said.
According to Shyllon, a national gallery edifice constitutes a living legend of Nigerian peoples’ cultural achievements as expressed in art forms and is therefore an estimable resource for understanding our world and heritage. He noted that a national gallery therefore owes a national responsibility to cater for and add to the national collection for display to the public, in advancing scholarly search and to promote enjoyment and understanding.
The founder Shyllon Museum at Pan Atlantic University, Lagos, stressed that ‘we cannot but clamour for a befitting edifice for a permanent exhibition of Nigerian modern and contemporary art that would attract millions of people and many more online.
Director General National Gallery of Art Mr. Ebeten William Ivara said the idea of this year’s forum is to use it as a platform to create awareness of building a befitting edifice for NGA, which has been a cardinal part of his agenda since assumption of office. “No country worth its salt can do without a world class structure as its gallery of art. Smaller countries in Africa like Zambia, Gambia and Zimbabwe have showpieces as their National Gallery of Art, which attract local and international tourists. The South Africa’s National Gallery of Art has been in place since 1930,” he added. Other discussants at the forum included Edosa Ogiugo and Bunmi Babatunde.
 
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