Curator urges all tiers of govt to create endowment fund for Arts

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LAGOS – An art curator and art advocate, Sandra Mbanefo-Obiago, on Friday urged all tiers of government to create an endowment fund for the arts and to be more supportive of the creative industry.
Mbanefo-Obiago told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos that the governments must play a pivotal role to enable the art sector to thrive the way it .
“Government should have an endowment and other funding initiatives where artists, visual and performing arts, in collective groups, can apply for funding to go and represent the country locally and internationally.
“This is what is done in every civilised country in the world; we still have a long way to go.
“Nigeria was ahead in the 1970’s with FESTAC ’77, it was an incredible event that brought in interests from all over the world but we never continued,’’ she said.
Mbanefo-Obiago noted that great Nigerian artists like Bruce Onobrakpeya and the late Ben Enwuonwu, as well as other notable entertainers, made it on their own because they went outside shores.
“They came back and interpreted our own culture in a way that was appealing for international recognition.
“Government funding is what young artistes need to be able to go , see and interact with their contemporaries around the world and also sell our arts.
“These things should begin from the local base, we are lagging behind very much, it is terrible that our own artistes have to scramble to represent and present our country.
“The Private sector also has a role to play in terms of sponsoring and promoting arts in the country,’’ she said.
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The curator added that government should create a platform to attract private sector involvement, while the media should be trained to have a better knowledge of the arts.
Mbanefo-Obiago, however, said that there was a generational gap in the art sector because of the neglect the sector had endured over the years.
“South African arts are being celebrated worldwide because of how they have promoted their culture.

“It was a strategic decision by their government, where they go, they use their embassies as their platform, whether public or private, to showcase what they have.
“Nigeria should do same to promote our arts and generate huge from it,” she added. (NAN)
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