The Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to Bayelsa State Governor on Tourism, Dr. Piriye Kiyaramo said art works have the potential of cultivating a sense of place among members of the community who see their cultural heritage being expressed in the local arts and feel welcomed through the arts.
Speaking at the opening of a new private art gallery named, Macaulay Eteli Art Gallery in Yenagoa recently, Dr. Kiyaramo said “when it comes to local artists and art galleries, it is important to remind ourselves that art does not exist in a vacuum, rather, it is a two-way street, an exchange between the artist and his audience, which has rippling positive impacts on both the individual and the host community”.
Dr. Kiyaramo who noted that art galleries generate jobs while stimulating local economies through consumer spending and tourism, added that crafts, advertising, graphic arts, and cultural tourism are all part of the art and culture industry, informing through taxation the creative sectors directly contribute to the economy of cities
He said there are countless reasons that motivate the creation of art; some of them make our surroundings more beautiful; creating records of a specific time, place, person or object; and expressing and communicating ideas, adding that art is inspiring and stimulating for the human mind.
According to him, art allows individuals to express their bottled up feelings, emotions, and thoughts in ways that are not always possible in words or actions, saying that art helps us better to understand how we feel about certain things in the society.
The governor’s aide pointed out that, while it may not cost much to visit an art gallery in the neighbourhood, the benefits of such visit could pay off greatly in terms of knowledge acquired, informing that art helps us to process our emotions, making the viewer to appreciate his immediate surroundings.
“Art allows one to see life from different perspectives, as the sight of a piece of art in the neighbourhood art gallary could evoke pleasant memories of the past, bringing the feeling of being alive. Art has always been an important part of human society since the beginning of time. Art has been used as a tool for cultural exchanges, education, and expression in different ways.
“In our modern society, art is a universal channel for people to express themselves and share their feelings with the rest of the world. Therefore art has become a very important avenue through which we connect with others, especially in times of crisis.
“Ultimately, art is a platform for people to express themselves and live out their dreams. It helps people to deal with tough times and create something beautiful out of such seeming tough situations”, Dr. Kiyaramo explained.
Also speaking, the commissioner for agriculture and natural resources, Chief David Alagoa described the creative works of Macaulay Eteli as high quality works that meet international standards, saying that arts are important part of a strong economy for a number of reasons, in addition to building and amplifying the success of innovative industries as well as making a city more attractive place to live, work and play.
In his introductory remarks, the proprietor of Macaulay Eteli Art Gallery and organiser of the group art exhibition tagged, “Change”, Mr. Macaulay Eteli said he had the dream of developing a world class art exposition centre in Yenagoa, where his creative works and those of other Bayelsan artists would be displayed since 2014 when he read about the tourism potentials in the state.
“This thought was materialized as Bayelsa State Heritage, Museums and Monuments approved the Macaulay Eteli Art Gallery as a privately owned Gallery in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State Nigeria. What makes one a Bayelsan is not farfetched, it is our culture, our heritage, our traditions, and our inter-play with the environment where we are situated. Bayelsa state is abundantly blessed with natural resources to create art” Engr. Macaulay Eteli explained.
Former Curator of the Bayelsa Heritage Museum and Monuments, Rev. Ebakpa Suel Michael said Bayelsa State Ministry of Culture and Tourism which is charged with the responsibilities of promoting art and culture in collaboration with private galleries in the state needs to encourage the creative sector by creating the needed enabling environment for the sector to thrive.
Rev. Michael maintained that the establishment of Macaulay Eteli Art Gallery would further boost the creative sector as it will bring about renaissance of the creative sector in promoting cultural diplomacy, cultural exchanges and cultural tourism as well as boost the state’s economy through tourism to increase the internally generated revenue of the state.
“Art creates culture: cultures create art. Art and society are inseparable, and the society depends on works of art. Art is a big business now in Nigeria because of the entrant by new galleries like Macaulay Eteli Art Gallery, springing up, building and enlarging the clientele base.