IT was another positive moment for the country’s creative sector and upcoming visual artists on Thursday, November 28 when Rand Merchant Bank (RMB) Nigeria hosted the 2019 edition of its Graduate Artists Programme.
The Rand Merchant Bank Nigeria Artists Graduate Programme was established as part of the bank’s fifth anniversary in June 2018. Its scope was expanded following the professionalism and creativity displayed by the inaugural artists.
At the event held at Federal Palace Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos, works by the six artists participating in the programme were displayed in an exhibition curated by Oyindamola Fakeye. The young artists were: Akintomide Aluko, Ayanfeoluwa Olarinde, Washington Mosadioluwa, Elizabeth Ekpertorson, Saheed Wahab and Iyunola Sanyaolu. The exhibition equally featured works by Duke Asidere, the established anchor artist who also mentored the younger artists.
Speaking at the occasion, CEO, RMB Nigeria and Regional Head, West Africa, Michael Larbie reiterated the bank’s commitment to the arts. He stated that “RMB support artists and organisations to develop the creative economy. We support the arts because we have always believed that the creative economy has the potential to generate economic growth, employment and trade. And we believe that the growth of this sector will enable many more Nigerians to engage effectively and profitably in the broader economy.”
The CEO added that “our brand alignment with creative and intellectual excellence presents a unique opportunity for the ‘Art of Business’ to embrace the ‘Business of Art’, providing an empowering platform for extra-ordinary talent to be showcased.”
RMB’s Marketing and Communications Manager, Yemisi Ogunbodede also explained that “at RMB, we believe art, culture and creativity have been the glue that binds together, not only hearts and souls but entire societies and nations. While art and culture can illuminate our inner lives and enrich our emotional world, it has a wider, more measurable impact on our economy, health, wellbeing, society and education.”
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The exhibition featured three works each by the participating artists while Asidere had six. Ekpertorson, who had three paintings, ‘Earth’ (Chaos), ‘Earth (Order) and ‘Man’ commended RMB for the initiative that has further empowered her.
Sanyaolu, Aluko and Saheed spoke in a similar vein. They lauded RMB for the programme, disclosing that the mentoring received from Asidere has been helpful.
“You end up getting more than you bargained for with Mr Asidere. He offers valuable pieces of advice for a young art career trying to grow. It’s been a great time working with him, and the programme itself is a great opportunity. It’s real encouragement,” Sanyaolu said.
Commenting, Asidere, expressed belief in the ability of the younger artists to flourish and forge successful careers. He lauded RMB, noting that, “any corporate organisation or individual that supports artists is doing us good. Look at the exhibition here, the catalogue, space and lighting are good. What more can one ask for?”