The Director General, National Gallery of Art (NGA), Mr William Ivara, said on Monday that the institution was collaborating with other galleries in developing and promoting talents in the country’s arts sector.
Ivara made this known at the opening of the maiden Radio, Television, Theatre and Arts Workers’ Union of Nigeria (RATTAWU), NGA, Lagos Station week, in Lagos.
The theme of the week is “International Best Practices in Gallery Management: Closing the Gaps in the Management of Galleries in Nigeria”.
Ivara, represented by the NGA Zonal Coordinator, South West, Mr Mufu Onifade, said the collaboration with private galleries had seen the NGA introducing an art expo International, which was a kind of exhibition organised by Nigerian galleries.
“Apart from promotion and propagation of our cultures, NGA is representing the government in creating an enabling environment for both artists and galleries.
“It serves as a ground for synergy for all stakeholders in visual arts sub-sector of the economy.”
The director-general said the gallery was working hard to ensure that the institution became an edifice where visitors could visit and Nigerian art works were properly promoted and documented.
“We have done so much in terms of documentation; we have the research department; we have also done so much in terms of education. and when we look at some of the activities that we do on a yearly basis, you will see how much we are doing,” Ivara said.
Also, the guest lecturer, Dr Olu Ajayi, said that galleries were necessary because they were important in educating and informing the populace.
Ajayi, a practising artist, urged the management of NGA to take into consideration proper documentation and curation of what they put in the public space.
“NGA should engage experts with curatorial knowledge, backed by art history, so that they can have well structured exhibitions.
“NGA should rise up to its responsibility to coordinate the calender of art festivals and exhibitions in the country, so that they do not clash, and each one benefits from the other.
“So, when the galleries submit their list of major shows they are going to have, the NGA will also put its own; they space them out so that throughout the year, the positive gains can be enjoyed by all stakeholders,” Ajayi said.
In his remarks, the Chairman, RATTAWU NGA, Lagos Chapter, Mr Easter Evbodaghe, said that well established galleries were contributing, in no small way, to the economies of many countries.
According to him, the foreign exchange flowing into some countries through the patronage of their galleries has become highly significant.
He said that artists, gallery owners and workers were better off in those countries.
“Unfortunately, in spite of the creative ingenuity of the Nigerian artists and volume of works of art, the Nigerian economy, artists gallery workers and owners have not been positively impacted.
“The essence of this intellectual discourse is not to lay blame or cast aspersion on institutions or on personalities, but to trigger a paradigm shift that will engender positive changes that are in alignment with international best practices in the management of galleries in Nigeria,” Evbodaghe said.