The Honourable Minister of Culture, Tourism and National Orientation, Chief Edem Duke has commended the leadership of the National Gallery of Art (NGA) for its continued efforts towards ensuring an enabling environment for the Nigerian creative spirit to be heard, felt and experienced.

Duke gave this commendation on Tuesday, 9th December, 2014 while giving a keynote address at the official opening of the Award and Prize-Giving Ceremony of the 5th National Visual Art Competition organized by NGA at the Shehu Yar’Adua Centre, Abuja.

Represented by the Director (International Cultural Relations) in the Ministry, Mr. George Ufot, the Culture Minister said the theme of this year’s competition “Visual Art as a Tool for Human Capital Development,” exemplifies the obvious reality that an extra investment in what can be termed, the “major visual art industry” can lead to an increasing affluence in the nation’s economy, while ensuring that the skills acquired through entrepreneurship education produces more job creators that job seekers.

According to him, the competition has over the years presented themes that have always presented a panacea for solving contemporary problems, which, of course, is a reflection on the quality of work roundly invested by the Management and Staff of NGA, maintaining that government will remain open to constructive discourses and proposals on how it can partner artists in their quest to better the sector.

On his part, the Director-General of NGA, Alhaji Abdullahi Muku expressed optimism that the impact of the competition will go a long way in achieving a more economically fruitful and egalitarian society.

Disclosing that the competition was conceptualized to discover, nurture and make self-reliant some untapped creative geniuses in the Nigerian Society, Muku stated that it was beyond the tenets of showcasing the innate creative potentials of the Nigerian citizenry, and that there was the need to take a cursory look at the state of the nation with its daunting task of confronting all challenges which also informed the theme of this year’s competition.

Dignitaries present at the event includeed the Board Chairman, National Gallery of Arts (NGA), Mr. Hipo Onwueguke; Director-General, Centre for Black and African Arts and Civilization (CBAAC), Sir Ferdinand Anikwe; pioneer Director-General, National Gallery of Art (NGA), Professor Paul Dike; SURE-P Chairman, General Martin Luther Agwai (rtd) who was Chairman of Occasion but represented by the Nigerian Union of Journalist (NUJ) National Chairman, Mallam Mohammed Garba, as well as the Spanish Ambassador to Nigeria, His Excellency, Alfonso Barnuevo Sebastian de Erice, among others.

Caleb Nor
Corporate Affairs Unit
NICO, Abuja