Saturday 31 August 2013

In Okene, NGA’s ‘retraining trainers’ targets formal, vibrant art tutelage

By Tajudeen Sowole
In ensuring that the current and growing interest in fine arts is sustained with quality outputs, the National Gallery of Art {NGA} has taken the promotion of excellence to the trainers via a four-day workshop tagged Rebranding the Teachers of Fine Arts

It’s the NGA’s 2013 edition of International Visual Arts Teachers Workshop, which, according to the organizers, was formerly K-12 Summer Workshop organized in collaboration with Ohio State University, Columbus, U.S. It “was suspended few years ago. But it is “now reintroduced and coined International Visual Arts Teachers Workshop to replace the K-12 Art Teachers workshop”.

During the opening ceremony, held at Federal College Of Education, Okene, Kogi State, Director-General, National Gallery of Art {NGA} Dr. Abdullahi Muku, noted that the intellectual capacity of teachers provides a pedestal on which many generations of world thinkers and leaders evolve.

Muku, in his welcome address explained that NGA, being an agency of Government, tasked with the responsibility of creating an enabling environment for art development, “we are sincerely committed to the ideals of the Art teachers’contituency within the Visual Arts sub sector of the Nigerian economy”.

 The Ohinoyi of Ebiraland and Chairman of the workshop, HRM, Alhaji (Dr.)Ado Ibrahim (left) and D-G, NGA Abdullahi Muku at the opening of International Visual Art Teachers Workshop in Okene, Kogi state... recently.

On the theme of this workshop, the D-G argued that it “underscores”  NGA’s effort in boosting the teaching of Fine Arts at the crucial levels of education. He therefore warned that the gathering goes beyond a workshop. “It is a training- the-trainers engagement; a refresher’s programme for result-oriented Art teachers whose stamp is to be further felt in our larger society through their chosen career”.

Muku listed areas of interest of the workshop, which included structures, the curriculum, the restructure of Art teaching and its techniques; and comprehensive prognosis of enhancing Nigeria’s educational system. 

Resource persons and facilitators at the workshop included Prof. Jimoh Akolo, Prof. C.S Okeke, Prof. Sheriff Adetoro, Dr. Kwaku Kissiedu, Prof. Ola Oloidi, Prof. Tonie Okpe and Dr. Hellen Uhunmwagho.

From his remark, Hon Minister of Tourism, Culture and National Orientation, High Chief Edem Duke alerted that despite being in the digital age, Nigeria cannot afford to leave any stone unturned in her strive towards advancement. He however advised that such goal should be done “in a direction that redefines the contemporaneousness of our art development, which on a broader scale is expected to lead in a direction of national development”. 
He hoped that the results of the workshop will lead to “a thought process”, and justify the essence of the theme of the workshop.
Chairman, House Committee On Tourism, Culture And National Orientation Hon. Ben Nwankwo drew the attention of the gathering to the increasing huge talents in the creative sector, the credit of which he said goes to the art teachers. 

The workshop, he cautioned, “provides” an opportunity to assess the input of art teachers and perhaps, at the end of the gathering “refresh it”. He also added that among the focus of the workshop “is to engage the art teachers and allow them to interrogate the knowledge they already possess while opening up to consume fresh ideas and new knowledge”.
Contemporary works of art, Nwankwo argued, “documents” current events and the people’s culture, “It is a source of solidarity and a tickle on our consciousness to ensure that our aesthetic legacies endure beyond our time”.
Facilitators at the workshop, Prof Jimoh Akolo and Prof Sheriff Adetoro.
The National Assembly, he said, is aware of the importance of art, particularly the education aspects. Through the NGA, he assured, the lawmakers will make the necessary efforts to support art. ”We are also in tandem with the aspirations of the NGA to stimulate creativity in the fields of Art and to ensure they are progressively updated to global and modern trends”.

Provost, Federal College of Education, Okene Dr. Iyela Ajayi noted that the choice of the school for the workshop was well thought out. He explained that it was an acknowledgement of “the rising profile of the College as a veritable bastion in the provision of robust, utilitarian and vibrant art education”. 

He cited the school’s Department of Fine and Applied Arts as “a vibrant, dynamic, focused and result oriented teaching”.
He added that the Fine and Applied Arts Department of the college trains “middle level art teachers in the educational system”. 
He therefore hoped that the workshop provides what he described as “the impetus for a renaissance of effective teaching of art at all levels in Nigeria”.

Also speaking on the theme of the workshop, Rebranding the teaching of fine Art”\, he stressed that it seeks to “reposition” art education for effectiveness, particularly in the area of culture. “Participants will be given well- informed exposure to African art and culture especially the rich cultural heritage of Nigeria”.

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