Exploring national security, stable power supply creatively
THE sixth edition of award and prize giving ceremony of the yearly National Visual Art Competition organized by the National Gallery of Arts held recently provided impetus for exploring national development through peaceful co-existence and stable power supply. Once again, artists from the cradle to professional levels struggled for space in the competition, as they rode on the year’s theme, ‘National Security and Stable Power Supply: A Roadmap for National Development.’
In their respective works, mostly paintings and sculptures, artists engaged the relationship between a peaceful society and national development. Beginning from the professional category, Ukeoma M. Chuks beat Shuaib Ajadi and Aremu R. Samson to second and third positions respectively.
Chuks in his painting captures two children possibly of distinct ethnic backgrounds planting and watering a tree together. Their footwears, which bear the green-white-green colour of Nigerian flag buttressed their Nigerian nationality.
James Edidiong Ita won the tertiary category while Elijah Ikwegbu and Precious Nneka Enyinwa clinched prizes for secondary and primary school categories, respectively.
The event attracted dignitaries, especially from among the creative industry, the diplomatic community, the military as well as the legislature. They include representative of Minister of Defence, Dr. Hassan Abdullahi, Chairman, Senate Committee on Culture and Tourism, Senator Mathew Urhoghide, Deputy Comptroller, Federal Fire Service and Engineer Thompson Olatunji.
In his welcome remarks, Director General, National Gallery of Arts, Abdullahi Muku, said the edition was another stride towards repositioning the visual art sub-sector for economic viability. He said the programme which debuted six years ago was designed to engage, encourage and promote artistic ingenuity and entrepreneurial spirit of the nation’s teaming unemployed youths.
Muku added that the edition was coming at a time people’s collective desire necessitated the resolve to contribute towards making the nation greater and more prosperous through the change mantra.
“With faith in the new government and unrelenting Nigerian spirit, we have resolved as an agency of government saddle with the responsibility of regulating the visual art sub-sector, to devise an active avenue for national development. It is from this philosophy that the theme of this year’s competition was derived. The winners are here with us today to receive their trophies and prizes for their hard work and I want to use this opportunity to congratulate them and to commend all participants”, Muku added.
The D.G also specially recognized a physically challenged young female artist, Miss Shaidatu Abubakar, who he said, had demonstrated ability in disability.
In line with government’s policy towards job creation, Muku believed the artist would do more if encouraged to establish a private studio, where she could progress to employer of labour.
The young Miss Abubakar, who was accompanied to the event by her parents was born without limbs. Yet, she developed interest in drawing and has been engaging her feet in the art, which she demonstrated before the audience.
The new Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, was represented by the Director of Entertainment, Grace Gekpe. Mohammed highlighted the task of culture executive towards ensuring that culture takes its pride of place in the socio-economic scheme of things in the country.
He therefore urged National Gallery of Art as well as every other parastatal in the culture sector to be part of the renaissance driven by the brand new Ministry of Information and Culture.
Led by the D.G, there was a tour of the winning works while prizes and certificates were awarded winners at the end of the ceremony to serve as motivations.
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