Alhaji Yahaya Abubakar, Etsu Nupe and Chairman Niger State Council of Traditional Rulers, has called on youths to make careers in Visual Arts in order to preserve Nigeria’s rich cultural heritage.
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the monarch made the call on Tuesday at a book presentation and exhibition of artworks by the National Gallery of Arts in Abuja.
The book and the artworks are collections of the creative works of Prof. Jimo Akolo, an octogenarian and one of Nigeria’s foremost visual artists, acclaimed for his painting prowess.
According to the royal father, art was a major driver of a people identity from one generation to another.
He, however, lamented that the dynamics of the digital age and economy has made many students have little or no interest in arts, especially the visual arts.
“I urge our children to pursue careers in visual arts and arts generally to showcase and preserve our rich cultural identity as a nation.
“May I at this point implore the traditional rulers at all levels to encourage their subjects to allow their children who show interest in visual art to study and practice it.
“This way, we will be bringing out more of the likes of Professor Jimo Akolo, who is being celebrated today, and thereby sustaining our identity,” he said.
Also, Mr James Irabor, Deputy Director, Documentation and Monitoring, National Gallery of Arts, in an interview with NAN on the sideline, said that the works of Nigerian veteran artists needed to be sustained by the younger generation.
He said that many students these days erroneously believe that careers in the creative arts were not lucrative enough, therefore have little or no interest in them.
“Our country has produced great artists like Bruce Onobrakpeya, Emmanuel Okechukwu, Victor Uwaifo and others who have used their works to tell the Nigerian story.
“However, our young ones need to be encouraged to pursue careers in the arts too, in order to build on the successes of these great minds.
“In our days, arts and craft works were part of our curriculum of study in primary schools, and I want this to be made compulsory in all schools so that our children can build interest in them,” he said