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Art of friendship unites NGA, China, others


Former governor of Abia State, Chief Orji Uzor Kalu, and other dignitaries at the Art Of Friendship exhibition held at Abuja.

Former governor of Abia State, Chief Orji Uzor Kalu, and other dignitaries at the Art Of Friendship exhibition held at Abuja.<br />

National Gallery of Art, last week, kicked off its 2017 programmes and activities with the opening of a mega visual art exhibition in Abuja.Tagged, Art of Friendship, the exhibition, which was in its fourth series, was in collaboration with China, Czech Republic and France embassies in Nigeria. The exhibition aimed at providing a single platform for participating countries to showcase their unique artistic heritage as a basis for cross-fertilisation of ideas and cultures.   
Chaired by former governor of Abia State, Chief Orji Uzor Kalu, the exhibition featured beautiful collection of art works in their various concepts and styles. In attendance were ambassadors from participating countries, other members of the diplomatic community, artists and art lovers. There were also various chief executives of culture and tourism in attendance.   

From Nigeria, we have Night Life In The City, by Zakaria Adamu; Child Trafficking by Ayo Adewunmi; Real Love by Promise F. Airhumwude and Unity by Clement Nwafor.   


Others are Unity In Diversity by Wanyil Ayuba, The Dream by Clara Eze and Visual Art For Entrepreneurship by Durotimi Babatunde, each giving credence to Nigeria’s socio-cultural life styles and challenges.   

“There is a recurring theme of nature, life and living in the works on display in this edition,” said Ngozi John-Uyah, Curator, Art of Friendship. The beauty of nature is further expressed in the collection featured by the embassy of China in Nigeria. The works include the beautiful Mount Sanqing (World National Heritage); Local Operas of Jiangxi Province as well as The Spring of Payang Lake.  

For the French Embassy, however, the works on were mostly in Styrofoam, wood and calabash media, are mostly abstract and include such titles as Nursery, Innocent Soul, Mismanagement, Unity and Harvest of Fear.   Coming from Czech Republic are dry point paintings titled My Place, To Myself, Against All Odds, Nested and Without Glasses. While some of the works are self-explanatory, others are blank painting whose beauty is expressed in colours and stokes.    

Welcoming guests, the Director General, National Gallery of Art, Abdullahi Muku, stated that since inception of the Art of Friendship, eight countries have participated, an indication of the relevance and acceptability of the programme.  

“I am optimistic that more countries will buy into the partnership, so as to have a more elaborate platform to showcase a variety of astonishing art pieces from different cultures of the world,” he said.  

According to him, the project was an interactive initiative of NGA, also aimed at fostering cross-cultural relationships as well as enable Nigeria artists to showcase their works, personal image and career progression.  

He added that the role of visual arts in building an in-debt understanding of the diverse cultural heritage available globally is still relatively untapped.  

“The powerful language of art can be employed for the purposes of information and communication towards achieving global peace and socio-political security,” Muku added.  

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed represented the Permanent Secretary, Ayotunde Adetugba, at the event. In his remarks, the minister described the outing as a congregation of like minds, productive minds that promote creativity.
“I am also here to see the contrast and harmony, the meeting point of creativity, the bond of intellectual expression and the fermentation of cultural cooperation illustrated by the four participating countries.”   

For Kalu, it was an honour being part of the event for two consecutive years. He noted that the beauty of life is the variety, and the secret to optimal living in a culturally diverse world. The three-day exhibition rounded off last Thursday.  

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