Friday 25 January 2013

‘Artists’ guild is redefining Nigerian art’

By Tajudeen Sowole
Individually, members of the Guild of Professional Fine Artists of Nigeria (GFA) have contributed immensely to the growth of full time studio practice in the country. However, the collective strength of the group, aimed at reshaping and adding lustrous texture to the entire nation’s art landscape, is the primary goals of GFA’s new executive.

The social Director, Gbenga Offo, who spoke about the mission of the new executive, noted that Nigeria’s full potential in art practice was far from being realised. He argued that remaining on the local turf and claiming to be ‘successful artist’ is not sustainable in the world of globalization.

Offor disclosed that in addition to the international debut of GFA, which had the group given a special section in the 2012 edition of Bonhams, U.K. Africa Now art auction, more outings at such level of exposure will come in 2013.
Abraham Uyovbisere, President of Guild of Professional Fine Artists of Nigeria (GFA) 

It would be recalled that the special section of the auction tagged Works by Artists from the Guild of Professional Fine Artists of Nigeria had lots 191 to 215. Members of GFA whose works featured included Lekan Onabanjo, Sam Ovraiti, Edosa Ogiugo, Abiodun Olaku, Duke Asidere, Ben Osaghae, Bunmi Babatunde, Reuben Ugbine, Alex Nwokolo, Tola Wewe and Fidelis Odogwu.

GFA’s new executive members who will lead the guild for the next two years or more include Abraham Uyovbisere, President; Hamid Ibrahim, Vice President; Fidelis Eze Odogwu, Financial Secretary; Offo, Social Director and Sam Ebohon, Secretary General.

Offo likened the GFA’s vision for Nigerian art to the attention, which Nigerian music and movie sectors of the culture industry is enjoying currently. “We at GFA wants to take Nigerian art beyond where it is now to give it as much attention as movie and music professions are getting.” 

Further on the goals of the new executive, Offo was upbeat in remarking, “it is not entirely new; we just want to strengthen the central mission statement of the guild”.

Accordingly, the guild’s mission states, “promoting the appreciation of Fine Art in Nigeria; promote education of Fine Art in all the different strata of our educational institutions; project the good image of Professional Artists in the society; establish ethical standards and rules that would encourage and enhance the proper practice of the profession in Nigeria; encourage interaction and unity between Nigerian and non-Nigerian professional artists and synergize and affiliate with any recognised art body.”

Other priorities of GFA, Offo added, included promoting “self-sustenance through professional art practice; serve as a body through which standards in the art is maintained by liaising with relevant authorities; promote and preserve our cultural heritage and liaise with government in implementing cultural policy; revolutionise and re-activate art through exhibitions, workshops, symposia, drama, film shows and all other art and cultural activities; provide the facilities and raise funds in any manner considered expedient and effective for the realisation of the above stated objectives.”

After several years of meeting and discovering the commonality among members, GFA in 2008 formally announced its readiness to lift Nigerian art when its first executive emerged. The executive members then included Edosa Ogiugo, president; Abiodun Olaku, Vice President; Alex Nwokolo, Financial Secretary; Sam Ovraiti, Social Director.

 GFA’s Board of Trustees include Yinka Fisher, Chairman and Ede Dafinone, Mrs. Ifeoma Idigbe, 
Olaku and Olu Ajayi.

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