Chief Olusegun Runsewe, Director General (DG) National Centre for Arts and Culture (NCAC) says there cannot not be any meaningful cultural development if stakeholders do not harness the large potentials in the art sector.
Runsewe stated this at a book presentation and exhibition of art works by renowned multi-dimensional artist, Mr Dimas Nwoko, in Abuja, on Friday.
He said the cultural industry was the only secret remaining in Africa; and that tapping into the sector by celebrating heroes of arts, while they were still alive, was an opportunity to promote Nigeria’s indigenous culture.
According to him, contemporary art is the sector that accommodates pure talent as one does not require a PhD to do a good painting.
Speaking at the occasion, the permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Information and Culture, Mrs Grace Gekpe, said culture had flooded all aspects of people’s lives, noting that Nwoko was one of the top rated multi dimensional and talented artists.
Gekpe said recognising the outstanding artist through the book presentation and exhibition of his art works was exemplary.
According to her, the legendary artist has in the last six decades, seamlessly executed enduring works in painting and sculpture that arouse admiration and respect across the country.
“Today is another landmark of Nwoko’s immense contribution to the development of contemporary arts in Nigeria.
“His art works are exciting as one can always see the extra effort he puts into each work to ensure they blend with nature; as well as showcase Africa’s rich culture,’’ she said.
Similarly, a speaker at the event, Mr Simon Ikpakronyi, said Nwoko had been on the art scene in Nigeria like a Colossus for six decades; and he still remained a force to reckon with in the industry.
“In a world where specialisation is the order of the day with people sticking to their calling, he dares to be different,’’ Ikpakronyi said.
He described the artist as an exceptional stage designer, architect and a good painter.
According to him, the presentation marked the first leg of the packaging of an accomplished artist whose creativity had been brought to the fore through his works.
In his remarks, Nwoko thanked the Gallery of Arts for hosting the event and the honour accorded him by those who graced the event.
“The award winning 84-year-old prolific artist urged Nigerians to see Culture as a meeting point for addressing the Nation’s challenges.
“Culture is not about dancing, panting or singing; but is the business of everyone in their various spaces,’’ Nwoko said.
He urged the Minister of Culture and all stakeholders to wake up to their responsibilities of preserving the country’s heritage through the promotion of arts.
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the book, entitled: Pre-eminent Artist, Outstanding Architect, is a publication of the National Gallery of Arts; which chronicles Nwoko’s works.
The high point of the event was the opening of images and art works of Nwoko by the DG.