Encourage Art to boost Nigeria’s economy, young Artist tells government

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By Ekuson Nw’Ogbunka, Abuja

A young artist, Miss Ifunanya Anunobi has advised the government at levels to encourage Art in order to boost the country’s economy.

Anunobi, a graduate of History and International Studies from Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, who has chosen to go into her talent, art, addressed journalists recently in Abuja.

Making her points, she said that Artists, if encouraged would not only be self-employed, but also train many others who, according to her would stand on their own, without depending on the government for employment.

Explaining why she ventured into the profession, she said: “At the age of 12, I tried replicating a cartoon I saw and discovered my knack for drawing. Over time, I developed a habit of drawing anything I saw, finding solace and joy in the process.”

She continued: “Encouraged by my uncle, the former Police Service Commission Chairman, Chief Simon Okeke, I decided to transition into a full-time artist after my youth service in Abuja in 2022. I received validation of my talent from my uncle, who emphasized that it was a gift from God. With his encouragement, I delved deeper into art, progressing from drawing to painting, allowing me to express myself fully.”

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When asked, if she was being coached by any expert, she said: “I seek advice concerning Art from people like the president of Society of Nigerian Artists (SNA), Mr Mohammed Suleiman and I do also talk to some Artist friends I met in Abuja here for guidance.”

She acknowledged the challenges of the profession, including emotional strains and financial instability but has decided to remain dedicated to her craft, by planning a solo exhibition in Abuja to showcase her works.

When pressed further, she responded thus: “I can say yes, because this is a passion and talent and it gives me joy. Although, I like what I studied in the university, but as you can see, this is my talent and the passion I have for it has overtaken what I studied in the university.”

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When asked if she was being assisted by the government, having been able to come out with such beautiful Artworks, she responded thus: “I haven’t, but what I have been doing is participating in competitions, if you are lucky, you get it, if you aren’t, you won’t. However, what I would like the government to do is to encourage the art market, because the market is poor and thus affecting the upcoming Artists.

“And if there is an exhibition opportunity, we the upcoming artists won’t be able to participate, because most of us don’t have money to pay for spaces in a gallery. Even if you are able to participate, most Nigerians would just come, look at the Artworks and go without buying any. So to that, I urge Nigerians to become more interested in art and support artists, because art is also an investment. The Artwork you bought at say, N100 thousand can be resold at N2 million in about four to five years time.

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Reiterating why the government should come in to empower those in the profession, the young artist has this to say: “If empowered, we shall contribute immensely to the economy, in the areas of teaching and training people who will be on their own. By doing so, you have generated employments and the economy will be growing. So I advise Nigerians and the governments at all levels to encourage art and emerging artists who try their best to bring in colours to our turbulent society.”

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