A New Dawn at Abuja Expo 2017

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Yinka Olatunbosun

The new breed of artists were quite a catch when the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, recently played host to the biggest African Arts and Craft in the continent, with delegates from 24 different countries in attendance.

No fewer than 150 exhibitors participated in the event, including the Federal College of Education (Technical), Umunze, Anambra State which paraded fresh pieces by some staff and students of the institution. It was the 10th edition of African Arts and Crafts Expo 2017 held from August 27 to September 17, 2017 organised by the National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC). The event, described by organisers as the largest of its kind, was held at the Arts and Crafts Village, with the theme, “Our Crafts: The Untapped Treasure.”

The Director-General of the National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC), Abuja, Otunba Segun Runsewe, said the event provided a platform for participants from different countries and the exhibitors to showcase their unique cultural identities. He noted that culture could serve as veritable tool to sell the Nigerian brand.

“The expo served as a marketplace for showcasing arts and crafts products such as fabrics, leather and souvenirs from Nigeria and other African countries. The expo is also apt as Nigeria needs to record remarkable achievements in developing the culture industry to enviable heights through festivals,’’ he said. Runsewe said the cultural festival would be geared towards harnessing and developing arts and crafts and other creative endeavours in the country.
The art village is lined with trees providing shade and eco-balance. More importantly, it paved the way for stakeholders to meet, buy and sell while driving the economy towards fruition.

For the participants from FCET Umunze, their exhibits were essentially indigenous arts and crafts that included sets of furniture with installation wood and bio-arts as media, intricate bead works, advanced textile works, new media graphics, paintings, pencil and charcoal drawings and more.

The Dean, Fine and Applied Arts of FCET, Bella Onu, who led the College team, commended the organisers, noting that it provided an opportunity to showcase the entrepreneurial skills of the college which has been part of the institution’s leading objectives. She commended the Provost of the College, Prof Josephat Ogbuagu,mni for emphasising entrepreneurship education in the College, thereby equipping students with various skills for employment.
She explained that various skills acquisition programmes in the College have helped in producing students that are self-reliant and job creators.

Likewise, Prof Ogbuagu commended the efforts of the Director General, NCAC, Otunba Segun Runsewe, for organising the event. He described culture and arts as untapped treasure, which could be fully explored to boost the nation’s international trade and investment. The event, which was flagged off by the Acting Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mrs. Habiba Lawal, also had several dignitaries in attendance, including the Deputy Governor of Edo State, Rt. Hon. Philip Shaibu, as Special Guest of Honour, Royal Father of the day, Emir of Abaji, Alhaji Adamu Baba Yunusa, Chairman, FCT Council of Traditional Rulers, Alhaji Isma’ila Mohammed, Emir of Karshi. Others include: former Deputy Governor of Plateau State, Paulin Tallen and Minister, Federal Ministry of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, amongst others.