Thursday 10 May 2012

Artists' guild targets global exploits

 By Tajudeen Sowole
 (First published on Tuesday, March 09, 2010)   
F OUR out of five pioneer executive members of the Guild of Professional Fine Artists of Nigeria (GFA) have been re-elected. They are Edosa Ogiugo, president; Abiodun Olaku, Vice President; Alex Nwokolo, Financial Secretary; and Kehinde Sanwo, General Secretary. However, Lekan Onabanjo replaced Sam Ovraiti as Social Director.

Few days after the election, Ogiugo declared that the guild was set to consolidate on past achievement, particularly, using the opportunity of its recent affiliation with a U.K-based guild of artists.

Nwokolo stated that the election was held in accordance with the constitution of the group. Ogiugo explained that though it was a low-keyed election, it however produced the "desired goal."

In January 2008, the group's first convention was held at Ovie Brume Youth Centre, Victoria Island, Lagos. The tenure of the executive, effectively, ended last January, having completed a two-year term.

"We didn't have to wait much longer; it was important for us to set the right example; once the tenure of a particular executive comes to an end, election is held immediately," Nwokolo stressed.

For Ogiugo, it's a consolidation on what the group had achieved in the last two years. He said: "consolidating on the past gains and making meaningful in-roads into the Nigerian and international art scene will further enhance professional fine art practice." The guild has a membership of about 40 artists across the country and in the Diaspora. The strength of GFA, according to members, is not in the numerical strength, "but in the quality of members." In GFA, application for membership is not accepted as done in most associations, rather, the guild "invites artists" who, in the opinion of members, meet the criteria of the guild. Such criteria include "proven practice with quality such as an academic background from a recognized Art School; at least five years postgraduate studio experience; a functional studio."

Artists who do not meet this requirement, GFA stated, might still be considered eligible for membership based on other criteria such as an academic background in Applied Arts with, at least, seven years post-graduation studio experience or an academic background in other discipline with, at least, two exhibitions inaddition to, at least, ten years post-graduation studio experience.

Meanwhile, the guild has commended the effort of Guarantee Trust Bank (GTB) for the bank's support to Nigerian artist in Diaspora, Yinka Shonibare whose installation art Nelson's Ship in a Bottle goes on display at Fourth Plinth, Tralfagar Square, U.K. Ogiugo noted that corporate support for Nigerian artists, home and abroad is needed, "particularly for artists in the age bracket of members of GFA; we commended GTB for this gesture."

Late 2008, a total of 23 members of the guild displayed their works at the group's inaugural art exhibition titled Threshold and held at the Terra Kulture, Victoria Island, Lagos.

Among the exhibiting artists were; realism master, Biodun Olaku; impressionists: Edosa Ogiugo, Chairman, Society of Nigerian Artists, SNA, Lagos State, Olu Ajayi, Rom Isichei and Alex Nwokolo; mixed media guru, Nsikak Essien; leading water colourist, Sam Ovraiti; sculptures: Bunmi Babatunde, Reuben Ugbine, Fidelis Odogwu and Ekpenyong Koko Ayi.

This year, Ogiugo is optimistic that GFA will add more colour to the nation's art landscape. He recalled that last year, GFA was able to secure an affiliation with a reputed international organization, United Kingdom-based Fine Art Trade Guild. "We hope to consolidate on this affiliation and make the best of the opportunity available," he added.

Ogiugo, as an individual, became a member of the Fine Art Trade Guild in 2003.

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