The Nigerian creative industry is in a critically innovative moment and needs the support of the citizens and government, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has said.
Mr Osinbajo and the Ambassador of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in Nigeria, Fahad Al Taffaq, spoke in Lagos on Saturday at the UAE-Nigeria Cultural and Arts Exhibition.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the exhibition was a celebration of cultural diversity through various forms of arts that included music, visual arts, short films and dance.
The exhibition also aimed at promoting cultural ties between the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Nigeria while creating opportunities for the exchange of information and ideas between artists and relevant stakeholders.
Mr Osinbajo said the creative industry is in a critically innovative moment that requires support from Nigerians, the government and international communities.
“The artistes today use various media. It is no longer arts as we used to know it as there are many innovations now.
“The line up we see today is an impeccable mix of Emirati and Nigerian artistes who use their works to tell stories about identity, language and contemporary contexts.
“I am excited about how the artistes chose to open a dialogue with us through their works and equally excited about how this event would open a dialogue with the UAE at the interactive person to person level,” he said.
Mr Osinbajo, who said he was fascinated by painting, marvelled at how artists could say all things through their works and help humans to connect with one another.
“In painting, we see the love of an Arab mother for her children and family is as deep as that of an African mother for her children and family.
“It helps us see that our hopes and fears are the same and shows us how flimsy racial discrimination can be when diversities are created by God to be celebrated and enjoyed,” he said.
The Vice President said that the bilateral relationship between Nigeria and the UAE had deepened, noting the growing collaboration of the two countries in the arts sector. He cited the case of Nollywood blockbuster- The Wedding Party 2, which was set in Dubai.
“The success of the movie was as a result of of the partnership between both countries and we are excited that such collaborations had yielded not just money, but other cultural links between our people,” he said.
He expressed optimism for more collaboration in the sector for showcasing the rich cultural heritage of both countries and for improving their trade ties.
“Nigerians make up some of the most frequent visitors to Dubai, many of whom visit for the course of tourism in particular
“I’m sure that in years to come, we will be visiting both countries for arts and culture in particular,” he said.
Mr Osinbajo commended the UAE for its commitment to strengthening the bonds between both countries, and its supportive role in curbing terrorism and recovering looted fund.
In his remarks, the UAE ambassador said that arts and culture are an extension of the human expression.
Mr Al Taffaq said culture is a powerful tool that can be used in building bridges between people and to reinforce mutual understandings.
“It can be a catalyst for economic and social development, not only in its traditional forms but also through partnerships with the private sector and further development of the tourism sector.
“It is important to preserve our arts and cultural heritage because it keeps our memories alive of how beliefs and cultural expressions have contributed o the development of the society,” he said.
The envoy said the local art scene in UAE had benefited from a range of viewpoints because of the growing diverse population in the UAE which he said was due to the practice of tolerance rooted in the cultural heritage and traditions of the UAE.
“Nigeria is filled with rich artistic heritage and endowed with the abundance of creativity dating back thousands of years.
“Nigerian cultural gems are also well demonstrated through dance, art, folklore, music amongst others,” he said.