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When Nigeria, China Celebrate Cultural Ties 

By Bridget Chiedu Onochie, Abuja
09 May 2015   |   5:35 am
The National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC) last week, held an evening of performance in collaboration with Chinese Cultural Centre.
A performance at the event

A performance at the event

The National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC) last week, held an evening of performance in collaboration with Chinese Cultural Centre.

The event, which was tagged Chinese-Nigeria evening of Cultural Entertainment, aimed at developing cultural dialogue between the two countries, also explored their cultural heritage.

For over two hours, staffers of NCAC department of Performing Arts and their Chinese counterparts held audience that comprised Nigerians and the diplomatic community, spell-bound.

There were contemporary music, dance drama, poetic renditions,  instrumental ensemble as well as fashion show.

Before the show began, Director-General, NCAC, Mrs Dayo Keshi, in her welcome address, described the collaboration as remarkable as it provided both countries a platform for cultural exchange.

According to her, the event was in line with the belief that both material and spiritual aspects of human lives complement each other in such a manner that history, tradition and arts are brought together to define goals, objectives and national ethos.

She adds: “What we are going to see this night are performances that tell the history of the bond between these great countries because all the segments and strata are represented here to share from the joy of the visual display that have been put together for the purpose of enhancing relationships and building bridges of understanding, harmony, integration and peaceful co-existence”.

She noted that the cordial relationship existing between Nigeria and China was not a mere coincidence but rather, one that is designed by nature for both nations to realize their fullness.

“Our historical similarities are in the areas of population size, rich cultural heritage,  cuisine as well as resourceful people.

“So far, 10 cultural officers from NCAC are undergoing language training at the Chinese Cultural Centre. This is in addition to several other capacity building and cultural exchange engagements for the benefit of our staff.

“These experiences have proved to be extremely helpful in fostering inter-cultural understanding and capacity enhancement for which Chinese government deserves our commendation”.

The D.G also used the occasion  to announce the 40th anniversary of NCAC  later this year. According to her, programmes are lined up to stimulate the consciousness of investors in the country’s culture industry.

“It is in this direction that the events of the anniversary have been carefully outlined to showcase the best of our culture as well as highlight the profound prospects of the creative industry in Nigeria.

“It is envisaged that the events shall feature an international cultural night, which is similar to today’s outing but larger in scope”.

Other events planned for the forthcoming event include international arts and crafts fair, international arts summit, national children drama as well as command performance.

Keshi extended the Council’s hand of partnership to as many countries as are willing to engage in fruitful relationship that could bring about the development of cultural industry.
In his response, Director, Chinese Cultural Centre, Yan Xiangdong, said the evening event coincided with the first anniversary of the Centre.

Xiangdong also congratulated Nigeria for the cultural relationship that has existed between Nigeria and China in the last one year.

According to him, both countries have related for over 10 years in other sectors of the economy. He went further to describe the ties as strategic in nature.

“The relationship has grown very fast. In the area of culture, the benefit is mutual and deep. There are cultural exchange programmes and others.

“Cultural exchange is vital to relationship between two nations; it brings people together for better understanding and benefits. Chinese at the Cultural Centre are curious to make friends with Nigerians. Chinese artists are also excited and have done a lot of rehearsals in preparation for this evening event”, Xiangdong said.

And when the action began, NCAC did not live bellow expectation. The audience were taken through several choreographed movements including dance drama and the exploration of various languages of the talking drum.

Both countries replicated the rich theatre tradition through  elaborate use of costume , make up and light. One of the spectacular moments was the presentation of a love song by the Chinese troupe. The segment reminded audience of Indian drama of old, colourful, highly demonstrative and operatic in nature.

Presentation of Nigerian fashion, which featured young children climaxed the evening’s event. The models were drawn from among the staff of NCAC. It was on the contemporary Nigeria dress sense made of local fabrics for casuals, evening wears and ceremonial attires.