The occasion of 2017 World Art Day was an opportunity for the management and staff of National Gallery of Art (NGA) to air their views on the prevailing socio-political situation in the country. Aptly titled ‘Breaking Forth From Within,’ over 40 pieces of artworks were showcased at the two-day visual art exhibition by the staff of Curatorial Services of NGA.
The artists, numbering about 11, were headed by the Director, Curatorial Services Department, Adamu T. Ibrahim, who had three art pieces to his credit. With their various artworks, the exhibitors lent their voices to national issues through the use of their brushes and strokes.
Opened at the Thought Pyramid Art Centre, Abuja, the views and aspirations of the exhibitors were aptly articulated in the various titles on display, some of which included ‘Changes’ by Godwin Okoi, ‘Fibroid’ by Adamu Ibrahim, ‘Female Conference’ by Zakaria Adamu and ‘Onye Okpa’ by Uche Mbele. Others were ‘Night and Day’ by Kizito Ekeng, ‘Island in the Stream’ by Chinyere chidume, ‘War Horse’ by Tom Sunday and ‘Without End’ by Susuti Benson.
There were also ‘Sisi Oge’ by Joy Iorvihi, ‘Masked Faces’ by Simput Semshok as well as ‘Pride by Precious Jeje’. While some of the works such as ‘Onye Okpa,’ ‘Female Conference,’ ‘Power Horse,’ ‘Sisi Oge’ and ‘Pride’ are self-explanatory, some others were near-abstract and subject to different interpretations.
Every art piece presented was unique and portrayed elements of beauty and mastery of the various media deployed, including photography, acrylic on canvas, computer graphics, oil-on-canvas, as well as acrylic on fabric.
Director, Curatorial Services, Adamu Ibrahim, explained the reason for the exhibition. According to him, it was not just another opportunity to showcase artworks but equally a way of highlighting the creative ambition of the artists.
“Since creativity and innovation do not come in a single form or medium,” he said, “the works on exhibition derive from a divers range of media.” Noting that all the exhibitors were of the Curatorial Services Department, Adamu said it was deliberate and aimed at taking a step back in order to see clearly what is ahead. Adamu added that the collaboration between NGA and Thought Pyramid Arts Centre for the exhibition was part of the efforts at partnering the private sector in moving the sector forward.
While declaring the exhibition open, the Director General, NGA, Mr. Abdullahi Muku, described art as a vital tool for promoting the humanitarian, artistic and ethical values that are cherished by all. He used the occasion to unveil some of the programmes and activities designed to connect artists with the necessary skills and markets for artworks. These included connecting creative mindsets that are economically viable, investing in research and in the development of new techniques, supporting the visual art industry, as well as attracting and retaining creative partnerships.
The annual World Art Day coincides with the birthday of Leonardo da Vinci, a great renaissance artist, who showed that greatness could be achieved at the intersection between art, science and technology.
“So, the day hints, not only at the importance of art and artistic thinking but also philosophy, mathematics, architecture, engineering and circle of invention,” Muku said. “It is not by mere coincidence that this day is coming just two weeks after World Theatre Day. In my opinion, it is an indication that the world needs to look at its creative recess for solutions to some of its self-induced challenges.”