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Obi of Onitsha opens exhibition, calls for review of policies on arts and culture

By on April 23, 2012

The Obi of Onitsha, His Majesty Nnaemeka Achebe, has reiterated the need for an urgent review of the National Policy on Arts and Culture in order to enhance the development of the industry.

Achebe, an established patron of the arts, made this call while declaring open ‘Ambivalence’, an endotelic exhibition of sculptures, paintings and installations by renowned artist, Emmah Mbanefo, on Friday, April 20, 2012, at Nimbus Art Gallery, Ikoyi, Lagos State.

“I wish to reiterate the need for a greater focus on our arts and culture in order to give these the pride of place that they deserve,” said Achebe. “In this regard, there is an urgent need for the review of our National Policy on Arts and Culture and its implementation with a view to achieving greater relevance and sustainability; such that our art and culture will become key development resources.

The policy should provide for massive investments by the government and its agencies; as well as the organised private sector, communities and wealthy individuals. The purpose would be to entrench and popularize arts and culture in our educational institutions as well as build relevant institutions and facilities such as museums, galleries, theatres, etc,  that will bring our arts and culture to the level of the common man. After all, art should not only be appreciated by the elite for its aesthetic potentials but should also be seen as a major defining element of a people’s identity.”

‘Ambivalence’, scheduled to run until May 6, is a historic first solo for Emmah Mbanefo, whose works in over three decades of practice enjoy prominence in public and private collections.

Describing the theme of the exhibition, Mbanefo, said: “Ambivalence is premised on the understanding that in all things there is a foundation, one which is predetermined and beyond control. However, that singular foundation is challenged, pushed and pulled as we fight to define ourselves. Ambivalence is the search for the good, the spirit of humanity. In exploring ambivalence, the work explores, and sifts through humanity, interrogating emotions – strong feelings.

The collection of which is simply ambivalent, made up of both the positive and the negative. Yet, when one looks deeply enough therein lies a foundation of goodness, in the individual spirit and in humanity as a whole, goodness that is defined by humanity’s balance, association  and place in accordance with the laws of nature. It is the quest to see this goodness, to bring out this goodness in day-to-day life that the works of ‘Ambivalence’ explore.”