By Lari Williams
EVERY nation preserves their arts to remain cultured. Every nation’s culture remains her identity and arts becomes a vibrant and commercialy viable industry. This is necessary to keep her country alive, preserve her identity, style, carve its history and originality; and to identify a people.
Nigeria’s Arts industry is facing a nose dive.Rumour has it that the minister incharge of Culture,Tourism and National Orientation is spearheading the team in a plan for the concession of land around the National Complex, Iganmu in preparation to build a Five star Hotel thereby displacing, indeed erasing several Arts parastatals off the complex, sad to say, including the only Artists’ Village,the only and indeed first of its kind in West Africa.
I must say in all my travels visiting Art centres and training schools through England, America and Africa; I have not come across one such Arts community. It is unique not for the structure or looks but for its contents and service. The Artist Village at the National Theatre Complex is a supply source for the best of dancers, actors,drummers, painters,graphic and fine Artists e.t.c.
Artists cry havoc! The days of guns and bombs in nations against nations have passed with time, now greed and callous oppression have turned whirl wind aggression destroying itself. People now fight against their own.Society against itself; rulers against their subjects, individuals now seek power to overpower their nation embezzling enough money to buy a city, or state or evev buy their own country.
The Nigerian artist is swimming upstream against a violent current, indeed violent under current.
Till date the Nigerian professional artist is on his own; without legitimate expectations for gratuity or any form of social support, gratis or financial benefits in life or in death.
Culture through arts preserves and protects a people’s identity in dances, paintings, songs, sculpture as in costume and folklore.
Such are the duties and assignments of the artists and for the nation’s sake they are assigned to keep the tinkers and the bellows busy.
Since there is a ministry for the preservation of the art and culture,it’s duty should be to preserve the viability and propagation of our nation to the rest of the world.
It should not be too tedious to reach through the gobal village. After all, we have able representations in every nook and cranny. We also have ministers and ambassasdors that can arrange timely invitations for regular and continious propaganda tours of exhibitions of our sculptors, paintings, photography, dancers, theatre productions, movies.
I am sure such interactions will help to keep the smile on our nation’s coffers. Our cultured and articulate gentleman with gradeous position of a high chief knows enough to wheel these for Nigeria during his tenure in service. Restructuring in the Arts and culture can build a vibrant and prosperous economy for this nation. Show business industry has done it for America, Italy,and England. Japan and India can testify to that. When show business makes oil business a far second, strugling position with agriculture then Nigeria economy will be healthy.
Our cities can get better and stronger African identity; what with our skillful sculptors, painters, architect being kept busy. All they need is encouragement and proper chanelling of Mr president’s generous support.
It is over two years now since the president flushed the artists ‘’Greenroom’’ with an unprecedented gesture of financial support for the arts. By now at least 10 artists would have been singing ‘’hallelujah we have arrived’’.
In my open letter to the president after the generous act, i suggested the building of a ‘’Hall of Fame’’ which will immediately get at least 5000 artists employed. Architects, sculptors, painters, photographers.