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‘Privileged individuals should assist government, arts to thrive’

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Gradually Nigerians are rising to the challenge of entrenching a viable arts sector that works for all. Another valuable addition scheduled for launch on Tuesday, May 15, 2018, is Bubblesville, a one-stop arts centre, located on Abiodun Anifahm Street, Off Lekki-Epe Expressway, Sangotedo, Lagos. It is the project of London-based Nigerian artist, Lookman Sanusi, whose London’s Bubbles FM has been an item for some years now. He has thrown a challenge to industry members not to always lament but to be doers so as to lift the industry from the status of an orphan to an enviable one in this online interview with FLORENCE UTOR

What is the name of the centre?
The centre is called Bubblesville, like it is a small town where all arts activities and hospitality merge to provide excellent service to the industry.

What is the dream behind it?
It is a long-term dream come through by the grace of Allah. It has always been my passion and wish to provide a one-stop shop for arts, for media and hospitality. My background is the arts for nearly three and half decades and this is like bringing everything one has to consolidate my experience over the year and leave a legacy, an institution. As individuals, if we are privileged we should assist the government and the art to thrive; then we won’t be endangered species.

What are the centre’s components?
We have in the complex a TV Studio/Theatre/Cinema (about 200-seating capacity). Two conference rooms (70  & 90 seating capacity conference style); there is an exclusive lounge with a VIP lounge. We also have an audio studio with live and vocal booths fully equipped, ideal for radio drama, audio book recordings and so on. Then two studios for radio station. There is green room for staff and visiting companies and 24 residences for guests. The centre is ideal for sitting-TV recording or audio job. It is a media training centre.

For someone based in the U.K., why did you to establish the facility in Nigeria?
I am not sure about being based in the U.K.; I am always useful to the arts in Nigeria and elsewhere. I find it more relevant to run something like this in Nigeria at the moment and be of service to the industry. I have never left Nigeria.

What management structure and plan are you putting in place to run the centre?
Top-notch, plus we will employ the services of consultants. We want the best to service and maintain the facility.

How do you intend to leverage and moderate your closeness with the entertainment and cultural sector to grow the facility?
I trust to continue to find relevance within the industry. I have given 35 years in the arts and media, both in Nigeria and the U.K. I have friends in strategic positions in the country and elsewhere whose resources I can tap on. Plus, I am not going to exclude the various young talents we have in the country. We are all going to be working together to promote excellence. But I dare say I won’t entertain mediocrity and irrelevant projects. I would love to work with institutions and individuals who will help us grow.

What was your experience in the course of building the place?
It was fun, pain, frustration, out of pocket, seeking financial support, getting few, owing, borrowing, pitching, showcasing the venue, emotionally drained, shown love by family and some friends. Surprises too and joy at positive responses on the project. It was mixed feelings. It is the end of the tough part; now the real job begins. In all, Allah has been behind me.

What is your experience with artisans?
It has one of brotherhood, fighting and laughter, disappointments and blessings in disguise, and it is nearly over now. With most of them I am keeping in contact.

How much has been spent on the project so far and how did you raise it?
All our life’s sayings, borrowings and so on have gone in. There is still room for support if you or anybody wishes.

How has been your journey in the sector over the years?
If I were in the army, I should be a general by now given the level of my education and training in the arts. I still consider myself young and willing to learn and contribute. I wouldn’t change my profession for anything else because in all honesty, it has favoured still. I find fulfillment and relevance and it has underscored my joy and my world.

What has been your experience with Bubbles FM?
Bubbles FM is a wonderful experience; anything that is worth doing should be given considerable time, money and attention. It has paid me off, which is why it is coming to Nigeria.

What shape will the launching take on May 15?
We are expecting the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, to commission the facility and also expecting other notable individuals, including people in the industry.


In this article:
Lookman Sanusi

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