An Associate Professor of Theatre Arts at the Imo State University, Owerri, and Dean, Faculty of Arts, Alvan Ikoku College of Education, also in Owerri, Imo State, Professor ABC Toni-Duruaku, has described as worrisome, the little attention given to culture beyond tourism, saying it remains a challenge to workers in the culture sector.
Duruaku, who is a former Executive Director, Imo State Council for Arts & Culture, pointed this out while delivering a paper at the 3-Day Workshop on “Repositioning Cultural Workers for Improved Productivity,” packaged for staffers of the Federal Ministry of Culture, Tourism and National Orientation, by the Institute on Wednesday, July 17, 2013, at the Global Village Suites, Koroduma, Abuja-Keffi Express Way, Nasarawa State.
In his paper, titled, “Understanding the Nigerian Cultural Environment,” Duruaku decried the fact that culture was being pigeon-holed and tied to the apron-strings of tourism, as a provider of the items that tourism needs to thrive, saying: “Tourism is to culture what technology is to science. This is more so because the drivers of policy see culture only on the levels of word and expression; even this is only in parts – performance, arts, and crafts. As a concept and the reflection of peoples’ attitudes and living, or of the more foundational and essential manner of doing things and living out life, culture is ignored.”
The university don, who decried the non-depiction of the Nigerian identity or culture in Nollywood flicks, explained that contemporary advanced civilizations, as a matter of identity and reception to advancement, impose their cultures in all they do, exemplifying: “The Chinese dolls look Chinese, the clothings are designed to reflect their physiognomy; their cars, fabrics, etc. reflect their cultural aesthetic preferences. Americans monogram shirts with American flags, slogans and company logos. This way, they transmit their way of life.”
He was of the opinion that the place of culture, in the larger picture of human existence, was supposed to re-assure culture workers that they were vital instruments of propagating and preserving the very life itself, stressing that unless Nigerian cultural workers found new ways of achieving success in spite of all odds and cultural industries firmed up with financed policy drives, Nigeria will lose all eventually.
While maintaining that the climate of culture in the Nigerian circumstance had room for improvement, Duruaku expressed optimism that all hope was not lost, stressing that, “passion for the job, commitment through conviction and the adoption of a dynamic re-engineering of the baser cultural traits by culture workers will revamp the sector.”
He, therefore, recommended that culture workers should, as a matter of necessity, come to terms with the neglect the sector suffers and remain creative if culture must receive due and sincere attention as a prime driver of human society.