A two-day first-in-Africa drive-through exhibition of arts and crafts is on-going in Abuja.
At least 11 states out of the 36 states of the federation are displaying Nigerian arts and crafts at the exhibition also featuring arts and crafts from India, Venezuela, Syria, Libya, Lebanon, Ghana, Argentina and Kenya.
States exhibiting their arts and crafts are Adamawa, Anambra, Borno, Ekiti, Kwara and Kano. Others are Zamfara, Ogun, Kaduna, Ekiti and Katsina.
Staged by the National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC) the exhibition has “Networking Nigerian Crafts to the World’’ as its theme.
It is the 2020 edition of the International Arts and Craft Expo and it markets Nigerian arts and crafts to the world.
The exhibition is held as a drive-through to ensure that those in attendance comply with the safe distance protocol as demanded by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Viewers were seen in their parked cars at the Sheraton Hotel venue of the expo watching cultural displays by artistes and arts and crafts on exhibition.
Director-General of NCAC, Segun Runsewe, told Newsmen that the main objective of the expo was to promote, import and export the business of arts and crafts from Nigeria to the international community.
He said it was also designed to sensitise investors on the need to invest in the arts and crafts sector as a way of encouraging enterprise development and export-oriented production.
Runsewe urged Nigerians to tap into the arts and crafts business as it had the potential of reducing poverty as a money spinner.
“Right at the exhibition stands, we have rich and diverse crafts, cuisines, fashion and cultural displays that provide great opportunities for effective and focused promotional and marketing incentives for would-be sponsors. We also have documentaries on display from the respective participating states and countries".
“INAC expo avails various opportunities for trade and investment in the economy with a view of promoting greater integration and synergy among players to boost economic and social development" he said.
An arts practitioner, Kingsley Okafor, called on Nigerians to focus on the development of the arts and culture industry to boost the nation’s internally-generated revenue and to tackle the problem of unemployment.
Okafor said that the industry, which had suffered negligence over the years, must be harnessed as stakeholders re-strategise to develop local contents of comparative advantage.
“If Dubai can be transformed from a desert land to a city of marbles, then our dreams of transforming our arts and crafts is possible.
“A lot of money can be made from Nigerian arts and crafts; the Nigerian economy has waited too long for the all-important diversification. We must tap our creative talents, focus on our arts and crafts to generate the revenue we need in this country,’’ he said.
Also Nigerian visual artist, Ndu White, also told Newsmen that for Nigeria to generate adequate revenue from its arts and crafts, there must be improved information and communication, data collection platforms and the launching of innovative alliances.
He said there was also the need to forge alliances with technological companies and improve on digital skills.