Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo on Saturday urged Nigerians to be keen supporters of arts and cultural heritage. Osinbajo made the call in Lagos while speaking at the cultural and arts exhibition organised by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Embassy in Nigeria.
The exhibition is a celebration of cultural diversity through various forms of arts that included music, visual arts, short films and dance.
The exhibition is also aimed at promoting cultural ties between UAE and Nigeria while creating opportunities for the exchange of information and ideas between artistes and the relevant stakeholders.
According to Osinbajo, the relationship between UAE and Nigeria is deep, fruitful and growing at a very promising rate.
He said that a relationship of such depth was very necessary and expressed optimism about collaborations in the arts sector.
“Nigerians make up some of the most frequent visitors to Dubai, many of whom visit for the cause of tourism in particular.
“I’m sure that in years to come, we will be visiting both countries for arts and culture in particular,” Osinbajo said.
He said that the creative industry in Nigeria had seen collaborations with the UAE and cited the case of Nollywood blockbuster: The Wedding Party, which was set in Dubai and became Nigeria’s highest grossing movie.
“The success of the movie was as a result of the partnership between both countries and we are excited that such collaborations had yielded not just money, but other cultural links between our people,” he said.
Osinbajo further said that the arts sector was in the most innovative moment in history.
“The artiste today uses various medium.
“It is no longer arts as we used to know it as there are many innovations now.
“The line up we see today is an impeccable mix of Emirati and Nigerian artistes who use their works to tell stories about identity, language and contemporary contexts.
“I am excited about how the artistes chose to open a dialogue with us through their works and equally excited about how this event will open a dialogue with the UAE at the interactive person to person level,” he said.
He expressed his fascination with all that artistes could say through their works and said they helped humans to connect with one another.
“In painting, we see that the love of an Arab mother for her children and family is as deep as that of the African mother for her children and family.
“It helps us see that our hopes and fears are the same and shows us how flimsy racial discrimination can be when diversities are created by God to be celebrated and enjoyed,” he said.
He added that the UAE had been supportive of Nigeria in many ways, especially, in the area of terrorism and aiding in the recovery of stolen funds.
He also commended the personal commitment shown by Ambassador Fahad AlTaffaq in deepening the bonds between Nigeria and the UAE.