…..AS 24 COUNTRIES, 150 EXHIBITORS SHOWCASE AFRICAN ARTS, CRAFTS AT ABUJA EXPO 2017

The Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, recently played host to the biggest African Arts and Craft in the continent, with delegates from 24 different countries in attendance. No fewer than 150 exhibitors participated in the event, including the Federal College of Education (Technical), Umunze, Anambra State.

It was the 10th edition of African Arts and Crafts Expo 2017 held from August 27 to September 17, 2017, organised by the National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC). The event, described by organisers as the largest of its kind, was held at the Arts and Crafts Village, on the theme, Our Crafts: The Untapped Treasure.

Director General of the National Council for Arts and Culture NCAC Otunba Segun Runsewe Middle receiving gift from the College Representatives led by Dean School of Fine & Applied Art, Bella Onu

Director General of the National Council for Arts and Culture NCAC, Otunba Segun Runsewe (Middle), receiving gift from the College Representatives led by Dean School of Fine & Applied Art, Bella Onu

The Director-General of the National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC), Abuja, Otunba Segun Runsewe, said the event provided a platform for participants from different countries and the exhibitors to showcase their unique cultural identities. He noted that culture could serve as veritable tool to change the narratives of Nigeria.

“The expo served as a marketplace for showcasing arts and crafts products such as fabrics, leather and souvenirs from Nigeria and other African countries. The expo is also apt as Nigeria needs to record remarkable achievements in developing the culture industry to enviable heights through festivals like AFAC,’’ he said.

Runsewe said the cultural festival would be geared towards harnessing and developing arts and crafts and other creative endeavours in the country. “It was a unique opportunity for artists, craft dealers, manufacturers and other stakeholders to buy and sell their brands,” he said, noting that the expo will play a key role toward job creation and economic empowerment.

When this reporter visited the pavilion of one of the participating academic institutions, FCET Umunze, various indigenous arts and crafts were on display. These include sets of furniture with installation wood and bio-art as media, intricate bead works, advanced textile works (innovative batik and tie & dye), new media graphics, paintings, pencil and charcoal drawings, and many other innovative works produced by both staff and students of the College.

The Dean, School of Fine and Applied Arts, Bella Onu, who led the College team, commended the organisers, noting that it provided an opportunity to showcase the entrepreneurial skills of the College as well as promote local arts and culture.

She commended the Provost of the College, Prof Josephat Ogbuagu, mni for emphasising entrepreneurship education in the College, thereby equipping students with various skills for employment. She explained that various skills acquisition programmes in the College have helped in producing students that are self-reliant and job creators.

Earlier in an interview, Prof Ogbuagu commended the efforts of the Director General, NCAC, Otunba Segun Runsewe, for organising the event to promote culture and art industries in the country. He described culture and arts as untapped treasure, which could be fully explored to boost the nation’s international trade and investment.

The event, which was flagged off by the Acting Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mrs. Habiba Lawal, also had several dignitaries in attendance, including the Deputy Governor of Edo State, Rt. Hon. Philip Shaibu, as Special Guest of Honour, Royal Father of the day, Emir of Abaji, Alhaji Adamu Baba Yunusa, Chairman, FCT Council of Traditional Rulers, Alhaji Isma’ila Mohammed, Emir of Karshi. Others include: former Deputy Governor of Plateau State, Paulin Tallen and Minister, Federal Ministry of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, among others.

Presentation to the Honourable Minister for Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed on behalf of the College.

Presentation to the Honourable Minister for Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, on behalf of the College.