AFAC 2016: NCAC plans big for regional arts, crafts expo
National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC), organisers of African Arts and Crafts Expo (AFAC), has assured of a better package this year as the regional market holds between August 2 and 14.
With a theme, African Arts and Crafts: A Catalyst For Investment in the Nigerian Creative Industries, the Expo, which is in its nineth edition, serves as an opportunity for artists, crafts dealers, manufacturers and other stakeholders to trade in creative and cultural products from various states of the federation and beyond.
AFAC has also provided platform for practitioners in the arts and crafts industry to showcase their talents. Every year, artists converge from within and outside the country to exhibit their creative skills and cultural knowledge through products and services.
While the dwindling budget of the culture sector has continued to play its toll on programmes and activities, AFAC has remained one of the few resilience programmes, which hold annually against all odds.
That of last year was the first held since the assumption of office by the current Chief Executive, Mrs. Dayo Keshi. Although most states were not in attendance, some new introductions were however initiated into the market, which are expected to be consolidated upon this year.
There are also indications that this year will witness incraese in activities in the sector.
Recall that at the last Chief Executive of Culture of the Federation (CEC) meeting held in Kaduna, Kaduna State, culture ambassadors had decried the decline in programmes and activities in the previous year, which climaxed with the cancellation of National Festival of Arts and Culture (NAFEST) and Abuja Carnival, and consequently resolved to take their destinies in their hands by ensuring that the sector was not further relegated in its annual programmes.
“We are expecting to have more participation this year because we started planning early. We are expecting that more states would have enough time to plan and attend.
“So far, we have received responses from over 22 states and we still have almost two months to go. So, we are expecting that if we do not have all the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory in attendance, it would be close to that”, Keshi said.
Adding: “Also, from the private sector and non-governmental organisations, we have been having a number of people calling and asking how they can be part of the event.
“We are encouraging the private sector participation to be a strong part of AFAC because moving forward, their participation will be more than those of federal and state governments.
“By then, the Expo will no longer be held down by the budget. The government will focus more on providing the enabling environment.”
“We would be looking at adding States’ Days to the programmes. It has always been there but it has not been fully explored. Also at this year’s AFAC, there would be evening events at the amphitheatre within the Cultural Village.
The amphitheatre will host young artists and few established ones who would volunteer to be part of the event. It will add a lot of flavour to the exhibition”, the D.G said.
Keshi noted that though last year’s edition was executed without budgetary provisions, it was nevertheless successful.
“This is because we have participation of states and we introduced a lot of innovative ideas to make the Expo more interesting. Last year also, it showed that artists were keen on having the Expo every year. Their determination to see that the Expo held encouraged us to go ahead in spite of financial challenges.
“Further more, the participation from other African countries was not as much as expected but those that attended made good sales and stayed beyond the official closing date.
“That was an indication that as long as we keep creating the economic structure, the creative industry will continue to thrive while arts and crafts will continue to go beyond the shores of Nigeria.”
Beyond AFAC and other existing programmes, the D.G said NCAC has plans for additional programmes within the year.