Tope Babayemi, the Coordinator of the Artists’ Village at the National Theatre, has urged the Lagos State Government to allow professional artists participate in the Lagos @50 Festival.
Babayemi told our reporter on Wednesday in Lagos that the village as a community of creative entrepreneurs, was not involved in the planning of the festival.
“The Artists Village was not involved in the planning of the Lagos @ 50 project because we have not yet been invited, whereas, we should be involved.
“It is a known fact that the Artists Village, in the last 20 years, has evolved to be so far, the only community of entrepreneurs in the West African Coast.
“This community has actively contributed to the efforts of reducing youth unemployment and has added value to the society in terms of local economy,” he told our reporter.
According to him, the Nigerian artists and artistes, with their huge human potential in the creative sector, have not been adequately carried along.
He added that neither the State Government nor the organising committee in charge of the festival had approached the village for participation.
“As I speak authoritatively, the village, as a community, has not been approached but by right, we should be involved.
“But when you politicise the art profession, the professionals will stand apart, ideally, the creative economy of Lagos should not be politicised,” he said.
Babayemi urged those involved in the planning of the festival to see the project as a celebration of the diverse creative community in the state and not an avenue to create jobs for the boys.
All efforts made by our reporter to get the reaction of the state’s Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture to Babayemi’s complaint proved abortive.