By Simon Ebegbulem
BENIN—GOVERNOR Godwin Obaseki of Edo State has commissioned the Nigerian Pavilion at the 57th International Art Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia, Italy, the governor also stressed the need for Nigeria to exploit its arts potential to boost the nation’s economy.
This will be the first time Nigeria would have a pavilion at the historical art biennale. According to the governor, “My love for art started when I was a child born in the ancient city of Benin. Due to our rich cultural and artistic prowess, I believe that if properly tapped, we will exploit our potentials in that sector to earn foreign exchange for the Nigerian economy.
“Art brings beauty into our world, giving us a sense of enjoyment and pleasure. But art is not all fun and personal gratification, it is also central to social change. Through their expressive talents, artists can deepen knowledge of, as well as initiate positive changes, in the people‘s political, economic and moral life.”
According to Obaseki, the aim of the Nigerian Pavilion, was to expand the understanding of Nigerian contemporary life through the works of three artists: Victor Ehikhamenor (painter), Peju Alatise (sculptor) and Qudus Onikeku (Choreographer).
Governor Obaseki disclosed that he was excited about the exhibition, not only because it was Nigeria’s first showing at the Biennale, but also because it corresponded with Edo State Government’s vision to engender socio-cultural and economic development through the promotion of art and tourism.
The curator at the Exhibition, Adenrenle Sonariwo, revealed that their presentation sought to use the narrative of the present to interrogate the minefield of societal consciousness in addressing aspects of identity and belonging as they relate to Nigerian history.