Oshodi Gallery celebrates independence catching them young
As part of efforts aimed at celebrating Nigeria’s 61st independence anniversary, the Oshodi Arts Foundation, whose primary focus is unearthing talents all over the country and positioning them strategically, invited more than 20 secondary schools in the state for lessons on visual arts.
The children were exposed to importance of arts as a tool for promoting Nigeria’s image, heritage as well as economic growth.
The National Day celebrations saw dance performances as well as arts competition, which Landmark College, Lagos, won. There was also a paper presentation titled, Climbing success ladder: The importance of arts education for schools and students, which was delivered by the art’s historian and lecturer in the Department of Industrial Design, Lagos State Polytechnic, Nathaniel Ogunbiyi.
In his paper, Ogunbiyi said many schools and parents overlook arts in education to the detriment of their children. “We all want academic achievements, social and emotional development, civic engagement and equitable opportunity for our children, therefore, we must identify the importance of arts education for schools.”
He said arts education include drawing, painting, sculpting, dressing, dancing, singing, acting performances or speech making.
Ogunbiyi described the importance of imbibing all of the above as development of creativity, attention grabbing, development of problem solving skills, boosting of self-confidence and others.
CEO of Oshodi Arts Gallery, Dr Oshodi Seyi Paul, said he felt a need to organise the event on Independence Day so that the invited guests won’t have an excuse not to be present as it was a public holyday and to also catch them young, teach them and put them in the right direction.
According to him, “We are setting up our youth arts club, where most of these students will be part of. We have some students who are already coming for Saturday classes and summer classes, so, we will just add more people that we can develop and by the time we are doing this same event next year, we would have gathered a lot of students.”
He continued, “We already have a title for next year’s event called, Our heroes past. Most of the heroes we have in Nigeria from over the decades are forgotten and since arts is one way of documenting history, we shall have paintings of over 300 heroes from all sectors. We already have an understanding with Lagos State Schools Proprietors of Nigeria that by next year, we will bring all the secondary schools together and exhibit the art works.”
Soji Oni, who teaches arts at the Lagos State Polytechnic, was one of the judges in the competition. He said, “Oshodi Arts Gallery is trying to showcase arts the way it is supposed to be so that the youth can appreciate it.”
Oni said, “The perspective to arts has changed in the sense that, unlike two years ago, the number of students coming to study arts is beyond imagination. For instance, about 200 applied to study arts where I teach and the school was unable to admit all, when they realised that, they organised a special programme for them to be able to accommodate all of them.”
I also think one of the reasons is that, they are beginning to realise that arts is one of the major courses that can make them independent and make money instead of looking for a job. For instance I have never looked for a job since I left university.”