‘National Endowment for Arts may function under tourism fund’
Recent revelation points to the fact that the much-expected National Endowment for the Arts may have been accommodated under Tourism Development Fund, writes TAJUDEEN SOWOLE
In fact, the concept known as Tourism Development Fund, according to the Minister of Tourism, Culture and National Orientation, Chief Edem Duke “has been approved by President Goodluck Jonathan.”
Duke disclosed this shortly before he received the visiting Managing Director of International Monetary Fund (IMF), Ms Christine Lagarde at the National Museum, Onikan, Lagos.
Minister of Tourism, Culture and National Orientation, Chief Edem Duke, Managing Director of IMF, Ms Christine Lagarde and D-G NCMM at the National Museum, Onikan, Lagos.
Describing Largarde’s visit to the museum as “a classico,” Duke argued that after meeting the presidency and the economic management team, “none of those memories will last as much as when she walks through the national museum of Nigeria and sees some of our 40, 000 artefacts.” Such heritage, he noted, is an enduring kind “which cannot be valued in monetary terms.”
Duke argued that if other ministries of the federal government can emulate the Ministry of Finance and get their VIPs to visit the museums and other places of cultural values in the country, “you can imagine how far we would have gone about promoting our culture.”
Duke noted that Lagarde’s visit “will deepen her knowledge of the biggest black nation on the face of the earth. People visit other countries such as Ghana, Senegal, South Africa, for examples, but it’s not the same as coming to Nigeria to see the vastness of African arts and culture.”
Perhaps Lagarde’s visit was in preparation for a possible partnership between the Nigerian culture sector and IMF. Duke said “we are not anticipating that.” The IMF, he reasoned, might not have the mandate to support art directly, “but when we have an Endowment for the Arts, they may have a network to introduce.”
He however cited the Tourism Development Fund example and hoped that the sector could be linked to corporate bodies through international organisations like IMF.
|Lagarde receives gifts of Ori-Olokun artefact and some books from Duke|
Duke argued that “the Tourism Development Fund just approved by the president is an expanded platform for the creation of the National Endowment for the Arts. It may not be possible to say, this is tourism fund, lets go and look for an endowment for the arts.”
He also disclosed that the tourism fund will be rolled out soon and “it’s going to be purely private sector-driven.”
With this development, it appears that government’s interest in arts – the real contents in culture and tourism – is weak. This has confirmed the fears of observers who have, over decades, argued that tourism cannot be developed if conscious efforts were not make to fund creative enterprises sufficiently.
And that Duke, proudly, hosted Lagarde at the Onikan museum underscored the leading role of arts in tourism. This much was in action when the Acting Curator of the museum, Victoria Agili took Duke, Lagarde and her entourage through the two ongoing exhibitions at the edifice. One of the exhibitions, Nigerian Art in the Cycle of Life, supported by Ford Foundation was opened few weeks ago.
After seeing the exhibitions, Lagarde described her experience as “a very pleasant and interesting moment.” And shortly after receiving gifts of books on Nigerian art and one Ori-Olokun sculptural piece from Duke, Lagarde wrote on the comment book of the museum “very authentic and educational and vast.”