Enugu State Government on Wednesday, pledged its continued support to the National Gallery of Arts, (NGA) to enhance Nigeria’s culture and heritage.
The Deputy Governor, Mrs Cecilia Ezeilo, made the promise while receiving members of the NGA at Government House in Enugu.
Ezeilo, who received the members on behalf of Gov. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, called on the management to assume a central role in actualizing the vision of the government.
“Government vision is to make Nigeria a tourist paradise and culture goldmine, by erecting a befitting and functional gallery space.
“A gallery with edifice for the collection, enhancement, preservation and presentation of visual art works and the hosting of art shows in all seasons,” she said.
She said it has become necessary because existence of a gallery space and edifice, would enable NGA to maximize its potentials.
Ezeilo noted that such an essential infrastructure can house peculiar art works that both Nigerians and foreign tourists can admire and appreciate.
“For NGA to contribute its quota to wealth creation, employment generation and economic transformation in Nigeria, it needs to be focused and adequately resourced.
“NGA should be adequately resourced not only through official channels, but also by leveraging Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) windows in the Nigerian corporate business sector, on fund mobilization for its programs and activities,” she said.
Ezeilo implored the body to establish channels and platforms for improving its contribution to the general well-being of visual artists in Nigeria.
She observed that the core mandate of the body was on visual arts, whose products were to be appreciated by sight, such as painting sculpture, drawing photography and others.
According to her, the work of NGA is designed to be a testament to the power of art and its connection to our national heritage.
“Through the exploration of various visual art, artistic styles, the activities of your agency will serve as a lens through which we can learn about the history of Nigeria.
“It is a well-known fact, that for a long time in the history of our country, visual art has not been animated towards proper development, due largely to government reluctance.
“Government reluctance in all levels, to cultivate enough political will to grow the sector through adequate support has become a challenge.
“The state has sculptures at Ogui junction, Otigba roundabout and the Bisalla road junction, amongst others.
“In fact, the latest addition to this array of visual art works doting various locations in the State capital, is the imposing Lion sculpture at the recently inaugurated Enugu Unity Park,” she said.
Earlier, the Director-General of the National Gallery of Arts, Mr Abetem Evera, said that NGA was established in Enugu, in 2012.
He said that the NGA was established with the mandate of harnessing rich cultural values of the state and to take it to the national level and beyond.
According to him, NGA is a federal agency mandated to preserve and present visual Arts, painting, sculptures, ceramics, textile designs, drawings, and graphics, in realisations of their mandate.
He noted that it has six zonal offices and state stations, across the country and that galleries and museum had demonstrated capacities to generate income for the government.
The DG said the board of NGA has approved the establishment of a South-East zonal office in the state and appealed to the state government to allocate land for its zonal office.