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Gallery owners rebrand Nigeria through art…

By Japhet Alakam
The Art Galleries Association of Nigeria (AGAN) a body formed for the purpose of protecting the individual, collective, private, corporate and national interest of everyone connected with the business of arts, crafts, antiques, artifacts and other cultural products is poised to rebrand the image of the country through arts.

In the spirit of projecting artists and their works Art Galleries Association of Nigeria (AGAN) in collaboration with National Gallery of Art (NGA), Nigeria will from the 22nd to 31st of August 2009 present an exposition tagged “The International Art Expo Nigeria 2009″ at the National Commission of Museums and Monument Onikan, Lagos.

Nnenna Okorie, a Nigerian born US based artist in one of her shows recently
Nnenna Okorie, a Nigerian born US based artist in one of her shows recently
The event which is in line with the Public Private Partnership (PPP), an initiative of the Federal Government of Nigeria, is aimed at promoting the Nation’s art, particularly, bringing art to the mainstream of our economy. The event will explore relevant areas, develop, and market the art sector towards stimulating the economic growth potentials of the African countries.

To ensure that this year’s event supercedes that of last year and meet international standard the body is not leaving any stone unturned as all necessary arrangements have been put in place to make sure that they have a wonderful show.

Addressing a press briefing recently, the chairman of AGAN Frank Okonta hinted some of the innovations put in place towards making this year’s event unique. According to him “unlike last edition this year’s edition will feature artists from outside Lagos and even beyond Nigerian borders.There will be about a thousand different artworks, artists and visitors from west African sub- region. They are all expected to be on display at the event.” He said.

Explaining further , Okonta said that this year’s event will be used to correct any flaw recorded in the last edition and will surpass whatever was achieved or showcased in that edition..

AGAN spokesman Mr Askhia in his address said that the Nigeria event is being organized with the full support of the National Gallery of Art. On how an exhibiting artist can participate in the event, he said that AGAN policy is that all artworks intending for display should be registered through private galleries, with each gallery presenting artists whose works will best represent it for the exhibition. This means that participants will be admitted through galleries entries.

Speaking further Askhia said that holding of art exposition is not a new thing as many countries all over the world organize such annually or biennially. Such countries include Chicago, New York, London, Berlin, and Las Vegas. Art Expo Las Vegas for instance, he said is an annual event, and has been consistent for over 29 years now.

In line with this trend the NGA conceptualized this programme to be an annual event for the visual Art Sector. Every year, private galleries in Nigeria will bring together, the best modern art works from within and outside the country, display the same professionally for members of the public to view, appreciate and buy. Hence, it is a big market for the visual artists.

Speaking on some of the benefits Richmond Ogolo (AGAN) Vice chairman said that “The exposition will create market for Nigerian modern art works, project entrepreneurs to the international markets as well as create a platform for cultural exchange between Nigeria and the rest of the world ”.

The body believed that with such yearly event which is competitive in essence, it is hoped that the level of art creativity in Nigeria will be further enhanced.

Continuing Askiah added that the 2008 Edition of ArtExpo Nigeria was held successfully from 29th – 31st August, 2008 at the premises of National Commission for Museums and Monuments, Onikan, Lagos. And based on the success of last year’s expo this years own will be better as the necessary machineries have been put in place to safeguard gallery owners/artists and their art works during the period.


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