Enriching NCAC’s artistic offerings with new menu

Mrs Dayo Keshi

Mrs Dayo Keshi

With the desire to enrich the programme repertoire of the National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC), Director-General of the council, Mrs Dayo Keshi has announced new activities that will be introduced in the course of the year.

For years, the NCAC is known as the organisers of the National Festival for Arts and Culture (NAFEST), African Arts and Crafts Expo (AFAC) as well as the Honours Lecture.

But speaking recently at a Stakeholders’ meeting, Mrs Keshi listed National Song Festival to be held nationwide, National Masquerade Festival for the South-East geo-political zone, National Boat Regatta for the South-South, National Traditional Textile Exhibition for the South-West as well as the National Durbar Festival for the Northern part of the country, as part of the new highlights.

Having headed the department of Creative Industries in the mother ministry, Keshi was not giving up on her passion. Hence, she has included an attempt towards overall transformation of the nation’s creative industry on the Council’s priority list.

She said: “We must encourage structured investment in the creative industry which would transform Nigeria’s rural economy and significantly improve the welfare of our people especially women and youths.

“We should challenge the practitioners in the Industry to strive towards acquiring and improving on the necessary skills and knowledge that will enhance the production of goods capable of competing favourably in the global market.

“We must chart a course for propelling the market and increasing demands for a wide range of our creative products and services such as encouraging the display and sales of arts and crafts products at all major state events and conferences held in Nigeria.

“We are also continuing with our work on the school uniform project, which is aimed at encouraging the use of local fabric such as adire, for the production of school uniforms nationally, in a similar manner as the agricultural sector used state policy to promote the use of cassava in bread production.”

In addition, the Council also planned to establish artists villages and arts shops in major commercial cities to serve as outlets for the marketing and sales of finished cultural products; equip and strengthen the NCAC arts and crafts skills acquisition centres across Nigeria to serve as vocational training centres for youths and women at the grass-roots in the various aspects of arts and crafts production, finishing, packaging and marketing.

Other plans include repositioning of NCAC Zonal offices to be purpose driven, regular consultation and holding of interactive meetings with arts, crafts and culture stakeholders and the introduction of a television series that would showcase the entrepreneurial content of the nation’s cultural industries.

Meanwhile, the Council has also planned the revival of multiple theatre performances by various art groups.To achieve these goals, the D.G said the Council was determined to engage the industry’s stakeholders including corporate bodies, government agencies and parastatals, embassies and non-governmental organisations, to explore opportunities for collaborations and to help identify areas of challenge with a view to providing lasting solutions.

“I look forward to a Council that can fend for itself, a Council that is comparable to other arts councils of developed nations”, she said.

Recall that as a result of the zero budget allocation in 2015, the Council was able to do only few of its programmes. One of its major programmes, NAFEST could not hold as most state governors were also experiencing financial tough times.

However, the Council hosted an elaborate 40th anniversary celebration where several activities including arts and crafts exhibition, seminars and children programmes were incorporated.Within the past year, the Council was also able to develop a number of relationships.

“These countries, foreign agencies and institutions have been able to exchange their services with the Council. For instance, over 15 staff of the Council were trained on event management by the British Council.”

The D.G said the strategic plan for the year was aimed at magnifying NCAC’s profile, build on its successes and position it as a reference point, not only in Nigeria but globally.

“Our focus would be to enhance the various possibilities that would make the sector more vibrant by promoting the potentials and economic values of our cultural industries. This would in turn, attract direct investments into the sector, especially the promotion of our festivals and production and packaging of our arts and crafts,” Keshi stated.

Meanwhile at the event, Mrs Keshi received an award as a Fellow, Institute of Credit Administration in recognition for her effort at promoting arts and culture in Nigeria.

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