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Arts will survive when people recognise its importance, says stakeholder

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Lagos, March 17, 2019 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 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 art works appreciate.

“An art work 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 the  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.

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