From Godwin Tsa, Abuja
Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed said the county’s creative industry has enormous potentials to drive the economy.
The minister stated this on Tuesday at the Stakeholders Forum of the National Gallery of Art with the theme, “Transforming Nigeria through contemporary Visual Art: Public and Private Sector Funding Interventions and Synergy,”
He said the Federal Government places much emphasis on the development of the creative industry.
Represented by the Director, Entertainment & Creative Services Department, Mrs. Ugochi Akudo-Nwosu,
assured that the Government will continue to support the creative sector through conducive environment to attract Foreign Direct Investment (FDI).
Director General, National Gallery of Art (NGA), Chief Ebetan William Ivara in his remarks recommended an amendment to the act establishing the NGA to make it revenue driven.
He said the Act establishing the NGA makes it service oriented observing that making it revenue driven will be a starting point in making the gallery more impactful.
The DG further observed that critical challenges bedeviling the creative industry in Nigeria which the NGA is part of need to be addressed because if left unchecked are capable of undermining governments policy plan of building a creative and imaginative nation.
He lamented the poor funding of the NGA noting that as the repository for the country’s creative spirit, lack of sufficient funds has greatly limited its capacity to rise to the occasion.
“The suspicion of the political class over the years has been that the creative industry, especially the Visual Art is only but a drain in the national purse as they lack capacity to generate reasonable wealth for the nation. “
He said this has affected the will for favorable policies that will impact the industry positively and challenged stakeholders to craft a better future where it can enable and empower the Visual Art Sector with the necessary support and enabling environment that can launch creative ideas and visions into reality.
This, he said is to have a vibrant and robust sector that positively channels 70% of the country’s population which are youth to productivity to create a platform for civic engagement, advocacy and entertainment.
Cultural Counselor of the Chinese Embassy, Mr Li Xuda who was at the occasion, assured that China will always be there to support Nigeria in its quest to develop the virtual art sector.
He said art and culture can bring people together regardless of their nationality, gender, race, religion as they play positive and indispensable roles in building the friendship.
“I assure you that China will always be here as your friend and big supporter, the cultural exchange and cooperation between our two sides will be definitely further strengthened in the future,” he stated.
Earlier, the Director, Planning and Research of the NGA, Dr.Evelyn Otaigbe explained that the Stakeholders’ Forum is designed to assemble distinguished artists of African descent, art scholars, administrators, captains of industry, private gallery owners etc. to brainstorm and chart a new Course for Visual Art Industry in Nigeria and come out with recommendation on way forward.
Dr Otaigbe said the theme of the forum is apt coming at a time National Gallery of Art is at a crossroad and needs transformation and contributions of all the relevant stakeholders to make NGA viable revenue generating agency and contribute its own quota towards Nigeria’s economic growth and development.