Saturday 21 April 2012

Collectors’ vision for art

 WITH almost six years of making the public to appreciate art for its various uses, Visual Arts Society of Nigeria (VASON) is now in a measure boosting collection.
  In the Society’s on-going show at the Freedom Park Gallery and Museum, works on display, mostly donated by members and non-members who are artists, showed commitment to the vision of VASON.
   From Kunle Adeyemi’s mystic-like mixed media to the representational piece by Olu Ajayi, Onadipe Olumide, Nobert Okpu and Bunmi Lakasi, the show had quite a rich gathering of artists.   
Painter, Bunmi Lasaki's Abe Olumo

  However, information materials on the event released earlier didn’t include the theme. Perhaps, there was an omission. “Not exactly,” executive secretary of VASON Ekpo Udo Udoma states while taking his guest through the show.
   The event, he explains, is a special one and art sale.  Why art sale for a group that is expected to be collecting more works, for keep?
 “It’s part of the activities lined up by VASON to raise funds for the proposed VASON Museum/ Art Centre,” he informs.
   Udoma discloses, “works for the show, will not in anyway deplete the vast collection of VASON, as some of them are actually donations from artists and collectors.”
   In fact, the group has the burden of space to have its work on permanent and temporary displays: a gallery of its own. Setting up a gallery, however, appears to be the ultimate aim.
  The show, Udoma notes, gives the public opportunity to contribute to the growth of the Nigerian visual art.
   Last year, the vision to spread the message of art appreciation took another dimension when VASON brought stakeholders together to discuss the national gallery question.
  Udoma recalls that at that gathering, emphasis was placed on the fact that, apart from government agencies, works of masters cannot be seen elsewhere. It has also been noted that private sector-led initiative would construct a purpose-built edifice for artists to showcase their works.   
SINCE it’s formal entry into the art community in 2007, there has never been a dull moment. VASON’s maiden event was the sponsorship of a show that had works by Larry Isimah, in collaboration with Nkem Gallery, Lekki, Lagos. Also, in October 2007, it supported Abiodun Kafaru in a show titled My Environment.
    Despite the elitist characteristic in art and its patrons, VASON, surprisingly supported the group, ArtZero, which promotes Art on the Mainland. 
   In the commitment to ensure that the public shares in the vast collection of individual members, founding members such as Olagbaju, Shyllon and Odimayo had organised shows. For Olagbaju, Chairman VASON Board of Trustees, it was exhibiting, My Habits, in 2008, when about 40 works in his collection were on display at the National Museum, Onikan, Lagos.
  Shortly after, it was Ancient Tones and Totems (Columns), a collection of Omooba Yemisi Adedoyin Shyllon Art Foundation (OYASAF) and The Omooba Oladele Odimayo Art Foundation (TOOAF).          
One of the works on display

   Founded in 2006 by some of Nigeria’s leading art collectors, which includes Sammy Olagbaju, Prince Yemisi Shyllon, Chief Rasheed Gbadamosi, Chief Frank Okonta and Omooba Olasehinde Odimayo, Udoma says VASON’s goals are to promote the appreciation and enjoyment of visual arts, within and outside Nigeria as well as the African continent.
  Art education, he argues, is the bedrock of appreciating art. This, the organisation is ready to take to schools, as well as helping in the modernisation of the non-creative aspects of professional practice of visual arts in Nigeria.

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