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Arts will survive when people recognise its importance, says stakeholder

The former president, Society of Nigerian Artists (SNA), Olu Ajayi, on Sunday said that arts survival and growth would be sustained in the country when her citizens began to recognise its importance.

Ajayi told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos that for the sector to thrive, people had to be aware that they could derive several dividends from it.

“We must let them know that they can use SRT works as collateral to obtain loans from banks because over time artworks appreciate.

“An artwork you bought for N50,000 or less in 2018 can be sold for N1 million in the next five years.

“We need people in our society who can articulate a better case for the importance of the art sector.

“One of the problems right now is that the artists and the intellectuals are not making much efforts to campaign for how arts as a means of livelihood can thrive.

“They are comfortable in their corners and they are not speaking with one voice,’’ he said.

The artist said that most times his professional colleagues were more comfortable talking to each other than educating the public on what they could do to benefit from the sector.

He said that artists needed to enlighten the public more on what arts was all about.

“Specialised audience already knows what the art sector is all about but the average man on the street out there does not know the importance of the sector to national development.

“We need to educate them by organising more seminars, and exhibitions starting from the grassroots to the national level on what they can benefit from their art collections.

According to him, artists have to make larger and more inclusive cases about what they are for the man on the street to know the importance.

He claimed that if artists and intellectuals could not convince the larger society about the uniqueness of their works, then the larger society and its culture would suffer for it.

Ajayi, however, said that one of the biggest problems associated with the current electronic culture is that people were being controlled by social media, which was not helping matters.

“We have lost almost all of our connections with the past. And we take the present moment and narrow it down to fast track the future.

“Then, we turned everything into entertainment; which is not proper. We need to give every aspect its due diligence,’’ he said.

He said that he was worried about our society that sees so little about the present but saw virtually nothing about the past.

“This is not healthy for our society,’’ he said. (NAN)

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