Rand Merchant Bank (RMB) Nigeria is taking one good step in the right direction with its commitment to promoting the country’s creative industry. Recently, the bank hosted the 2019 edition of its Graduate Artists Program at Federal Palace Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos.
Established in June 2018, the Rand Merchant Bank Nigeria Artists Graduate Program was established as part of the bank’s fifth anniversary.
However, the level of professionalism and creativity displayed by the artists made RMBN institutionalise it such that annually, the best students in the art department of universities across the country are eligible to join the program for three years.
With music from Wande Coal and the Alpha Dance Company setting the tone for the opening night, RMB Nigeria and Regional Head, West Africa, Michael Larbie further reiterated the bank’s commitment to the arts.
“RMB support artists and organisations to develop the creative economy. We support the arts because we have always believed that the creative economy has the potential to generate economic growth, employment and trade. And we believe that the growth of this sector will enable many more Nigerians to engage effectively and profitably in the broader economy,” he said.
Larbie added that the brand’s alignment with creative and intellectual excellence presents a unique opportunity for the ‘Art of Business’ to embrace the ‘Business of Art’, providing an empowering platform for extra-ordinary talent to be showcased.
In the same vein, RMB’s Marketing and Communications Manager, Yemisi Ogunbodede explained the unifying factor that the creative art has across societies.
“While art and culture can illuminate our inner lives and enrich our emotional world, it has a wider, more measurable impact on our economy, health, wellbeing, society and education,” she remarked.
The exhibition featured three works each by the participating artists. Of the lot, Asidere had sixpieces. Ekpertorson, a Fine Arts graduate of the University of Port Harcourt showcased paintings such as ‘Earth’ (Chaos), ‘Earth (Order) and ‘Man’.
She sold two out of three works exhibited last year and commended RMB for the initiative that has further empowered her. Sanyaolu, Aluko and Saheed acknowledged the mentoring received from Asidere as being influential in their work.
According to Sanyaolu, “You end up getting more than you bargained for with Mr Asidere. He offers valuable pieces of advice for a young art career trying to grow. It’s been a great time working with him, and the program itself is a great opportunity for young.”
Asidere also commended Rand Merchant Bank, noting that “it has been sheer ingenuity that has made artists survive this topsy curvy economy.”
Asidere, who expressed belief in the ability of the younger artists to flourish and forge successful careers further praised RMB, stating that, “any corporate organisation or individual that supports artists is doing us good. Look at the exhibition here, the catalogue, space and lighting are good. What more can one ask for,” he said.