New Telegraph

DG of NGA restates commitment to building National Gallery edifice

The Director-General, National Gallery of Art (NGA), Chief Ebeten William Ivara, has assured of his commitment to building an edifice called the National Gallery that can attract tourists from all over the world and that can generate revenue for the Gallery.

He stressed the need to, apart from having a permanent exhibition of the national collection, also showcase works of contemporary Nigerian artists, old and young.

Ivara stated this at the maiden edition of the National Gallery of Art, Lagos Station 2023 RATTAWU Week held recently at the National Gallery of Art (NGA), National Theatre, Iganmu, Lagos, with the theme: ‘International Best Practices in Gallery Management: Closing the Gaps in the Management of Galleries in Nigeria’. The DG who was represented by the Zonal Coordinator, South West, National Gallery of Art (NGA), Mufu Onifade, congratulated the entire Exco of the NGA RATTAWU, and challenged them to continue to do things that accommodates the welfare of their members.

The DG assured both the RATTAWU and the public that he is “committed to building an edifice called the National Gallery, that can generate IGR for the Gallery, that can attract tourists from all over the world to come and see Nigeria’s aesthetic legacies, especially as contained in the national collection. The National Gallery also, apart from having a permanent exhibition of the national collection, will also showcase works of contemporary Nigerian artists, old and young.”

Chairman, RATTAWU, National Gallery of Art, Lagos, Chapter, Easter Evbodaghe, in his welcome address, underscored the significance of ‘International Best Practices in Gallery Management: Closing the Gaps in the Management of Galleries in Nigeria’ as theme for the event. He noted that well established galleries are contributing, in no small way, to the economies of many countries.
“The foreign exchange flowing into some countries through the patronage of their galleries has become highly significant. Artists, gallery owners and gallery workers are all better off in those countries. Unfortunately, in spite of the creative ingenuity of the Nigerian artists and volume of works of arts, the Nigerian economy, artists, gallery workers and gallery owners have not been positively impacted,” he said.

The Nigerian artists, he emphasised, are rated among the best in the world, adding that iconic works by Nigerian artists are being exhibited in world class galleries around the world where they are creating sustainable incomes for gallery owners, artists and gallery workers.

According to him, the essence of this intellectual discourse “is not to lay blame or cast aspersion on institutions or on personalities but to trigger a paradigm shift that would engender positive changes that are in alignment with international best practices in the management of galleries in Nigeria.

“Distinguished guests and comrades, it suffices, at this juncture to say that nations cherished values and history, are preserved in arts. People visit our galleries to see who we were, who we are and who we are going to be. For galleries in Nigeria, private and public, to occupy their rightful place in the socio-economic matrix, management practices and principles that cater for the interest of all the stakeholders, I.e artists, gallery owners and gallery workers, must be adopted.”

Renowned artist and former chairman of the Society of Nigerian Artists (SNA), Lagos State chapter, Olu Ajayi, who was the keynote speaker, spoke on the essence of the theme, and the imperative of closing the gaps in the management of galleries in Nigeria against the backdrop of international best practices in gallery management. He also underscored the need for a befitting National Gallery, and that the industry still needs some regulations, including copyrights.

There were goodwill messages by the Chairman, Lagos State Council of RATTAWU, Comrade Adejumo Ishola, and other guests at the event. But it was not all about speeches, as there were thrilling and inspiring cultural dance performances by Akoto Dance Troupe.s

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