Prof. Jerry Buhari, Department of Fine Arts, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, on Thursday called for the establishment of modern Museum for National Arts in Nigeria.
Buhari made the call during the investment forum at the ongoing International Arts and Crafts Expo (INAC) at the Federal Capital Territory Exhibition Pavilion, Abuja.
He spoke on the theme: “Imperatives on Creativity and Product Design in Networking Nigerian Arts and Crafts
He said that the existing museums in the country were not outrightly portraying the nation’s image and culture as they were built using the colonial structure.
According to him, many of the country’s museums are in dilapidated state, incapable of hosting international fair like INAC and quite discouraging for visitors to tour due to lack of basic facilities.
Buhari, however, said that a befitting modern museum for national arts should be built in a modern edifice which would exemplify the rich culture of the country.
“Presently, we do not have museums because the ones we believe we have are not truly depicting our culture.
”We need to have a modern museum portraying our culture.
“I was at the National Museum, Onikan, Lagos and it was in shambles, not spacious enough for tourists and artefacts, no major facilities, no toilets.
“This is sad as this is a sector government can generate huge revenue if properly funded and maintained.
“But at this stage of our development as a nation, we must construct museums that will speak about us from the structure to the content and all,” he said.
Buhari said that for proper networking on Nigerian arts and crafts, government should focus on the place accommodating these materials to ensure it was properly portraying the image of the country.
He said it was also important to ensure that the edifice to house these arts were properly maintained for good preservation and conservation of the arts and crafts.
He noted that investment was equally not possible for Nigeria art and crafts if proper measures for the preservation were not created.
“We need the Federal Government to wake up and pay attention to the creative industry because huge opportunities abound in the sector.
“We have been clamouring for our stolen artefacts to be returned but the question is: ‘where are these artefacts going to be kept for proper preservation’ so it is better they remain where they are,” he said.
The don urged artists and craftsmen to improve on the finishing, packaging and presentation of their works for international recognition and acceptance.
Buhari condemned the importation of pieces of furniture for cultural parastatals who were supposed to promote Nigeria made products.
He urged the National Orientation Agency to mobilise Nigerians in a campaign to be titled “Use Country Made Products”.
He said this campaign should be channeled towards educating Nigerians on the importance of embracing Nigeria made products.
He noted that NOA was the engine room for changing Nigerians’ perception which had not been living up to its responsibility.
“NOA must make its impart felt to promote made-in-Nigeria products because that is where the investment lies for all,” he said.
Edited by Chidinma Agu/Wale Ojetimi (NAN)