JERRY Adesewo, Festival Director of the Abuja International Theatre Festival and Awards (ABITFA) has called on the Federal Government to create an Art Endowment Fund in order to grow the sector.
ensure stable financial foundation for the arts.
He made the call at the opening ceremony of the maiden edition of the ABITFA at the Brazilian Embassy on Wednesday in Abuja.
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the week-long fiesta with the theme “Peace Building, Performing Arts and the Society”, had in attendance stakeholders in the creative industry and members of the diplomatic community.
According to Adesewo, Nigeria has a very rich and dynamic arts and culture that needs to be effectively harnessed to promote social integration, national prosperity and peaceful coexistence among its citizenry.
He however lamented that the sector was still struggling because of lack of adequate funding and enabling environment in terms of relevant infrastructure.
“To sustain and elevate our artistic pursuits as a nation, I advocate for the establishment of an Art Endowment Fund, providing a stable financial foundation for the arts.
“Additionally, a Mobility Fund will enable artists to transcend geographical barriers, fostering global collaborations.
“Infrastructure development is equally crucial; a robust and supportive environment is fundamental to the flourishing of the arts.
“Staging an International Theatre Festival in Nigeria, where the arts sector faces chronic underfunding, is no small feat.
“However, our collective passion and commitment have overcome these obstacles, underscoring the resilience and determination inherent in the artistic spirit”, he said.
Adesewo, also the creative director of Arojah Royal Theatre (ART), organizers of the festival, said it seeks to explore the power of the performing arts in peace building process in Nigeria and the globe.
He noted that performing arts was a veritable tool in peace building in any society, and should be given adequate attention by government at all levels, especially in a multi-ethnic setting like Nigeria.
“In times of uncertainty, theatre has proven to be a steadfast companion, offering solace, reflection, and a lens through which to examine our shared humanity.
“Today, as we inaugurate this festival, we acknowledge the age-long relevance of theatre and its power to transcend borders, fostering dialogue, understanding, and, most importantly, peace.
“We also use theatre to talk to government because there is a whole lot that the government needs to answer to, hoping they will hear our opinions, criticism and find solutions to the problems”, he said.
The Festival Director said the week-long event will feature performances, master classes and workshops geared towards discussions to reshape the arts sector in Nigeria.
NAN reports that the highpoint of the opening ceremony was the presentation of awards, to the winners of the 4th Arojah Students’ Playwriting Prize, the ABITFA/Bodun Abe Scenography Prize, and the ABITFA / Olalekan Ogunlalu Theatre Bill Prize.
The festival is scheduled to hold from Nov.1 to 5 in the nation’s capital.(NAN)
November 2, 2023 @ 16:06 GMT|