Saturday 19 July 2014

Artists raised Hope to fight sickle cell

By Tajudeen Sowole
Barely two months after the Society of Nigerian Artists (SNA), Rivers State Chapter chose a new leader, signs of change has started emerging, so suggested a fundraising partnership with another group to tackle sickle cell.

Chairman, Society of Nigerian Artists (SNA), Rivers State Chapter, Diseye Tantua, speaking during the exhibition as artist Vera Bou Tamous Farah and others look on

 Led by painter, Diseye Tantua, the new SNA of Rivers State recently supported a charity exhibition titled Hope, held at Hotel Presidential, Port Harcourt and organised by the Sickle Cell Interactive and Management Association (SCIMA). The show featured members of the SNA and a guest artist.
  Tantua who was in Lagos after the exhibition stated that Hope was the artist's contributions to raise funds for sickle cell awareness in the state.
  Exhibited artists included a Lebanese, Vera Bou Tamous Farah, Tantua, Segun AIyesan, Perrin Oglafa, Micheal Kpodoh, Ike Francis, Perekeme Kentebe, Charity Iyingima Ide, Johnson Uwadinma, Woko Joy Aguru, Ekeoma peterkingsley, Timi Kakandar,Millicent Okocha, Uzodibie Amaka,Emeka Ifediora, Promise Onali, Asiegbu Uloma, Steve Ogbolu, Kenny Odili and Obiora Anamaleze 
 Works exhibited, Tantua stated, included one, each by SNA members while a chunk of the exhibits were from Farah. “Each member from SNA had one of his very good works for the exhibition and we have 25 from a visiting artist from Lebanon, Vera. I had eight works.”
 Farah’s bio says she is an artist whose passion and profession cut across the creative genres. She is a painter, sculptor, dancer and interior decorator, She studied sculpture n Italy and holds a diploma in interior design, a diploma in fashion design and is founder of the Vera Farah School for painting. Farah also teaches dance and old artisanal art of glass and jars.
 Tantua described the charity exhibition as a successful outing for the partnership. “We were able to raise about N15 million naira." From the total fund raised.” And “50 percent" he disclosed, was given to Sickle Cell Interactive and Management Association (SCIMA).
 He explained that the amount due to SCIMA "was to be used for drugs, awareness campaigns and talks that would be held from time to time to aid those in need of drugs and others who had not come to the realisation of care for the ailment.”
 Speaking on the new leadersip of SNA Rivers, Tantua noted the potentials of artists in the chapter and assured of exposing as well as maximising the artists' potentials.“We have a lot of artists in Rivers who spend more time keying into the Lagos market and exhibiting more outside the country. As chairman I am looking at ensuring more exhibitions in the state, building up the hub and encouraging people to collect pieces, invest in art and appreciate their own culture and arts.”
  He argued that the signs of good times for the artists were already showing just less than one month in office as chairman of the Rivers State SNA. He however noted that art appreciation in the state was still at a low level. Seeking the supports of the artist to raise the value of art in the state as well as support the campaign against sickle cell, Tantua said  "we are going to be having a lot of seminars and workshops to support the organisation.”
Parts of his mission statement to the artists included “to work with most oil companies in the state, the government and partnering with private individuals to see how we can have once a year exhibitions since it takes a lot of planning to succeed.
  “We will be having exhibitions as a group to showcase what we are doing, not forgetting there are a lot of professors and lectures in the state.”  
  “We have to encourage them to appreciate and study arts. From time to time we will also have visits on the schools we have over 200 newly-built ones and we will see how to nurture them to accept themselves as artists because it is a gift.  There is no force to art.”
  “Rivers and Bayelsa SNA were together. As of last year, there was a division so we have Rivers and Bayelsa SNA. Since the states are close, we look forward to working together for major events from time to time.”    
Other things
 “Galleries have come and gone. We have had a lot of showrooms which act as galleries as well but for proper galleries, we have not had a main one. Maybe because the awareness has not been pushed on, it is what we call aggressive marketing that brings art to the doorsteps of collectors.”  

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