By Rotimi Ijikanmi
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has described a Photo Exhibition by Hanan Buhari, daughter of President Muhammadu Buhari, as a “game changer’’ for the creative industry.
The minister stated this on Friday evening in Abuja at the opening of a 3-day photo exhibition titled “Vangi and Hanan’’.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Wife of the President, Mrs Aisha Buhari also attended the event.
The minister said the exhibition“is an endorsement from the highest quarter that the creative industry is not for the dropouts, the less opportuned in the society, but an industry that attracts only the talented’’.
He noted that it is quite rare for a young girl coming from a traditional conservative family to choose photography as a profession and way of life.
“This particular exhibition is a game changer in the sense that it is going to help to change the perception of our people towards the creative industry.
“For my generation, and even the generations after me, our parents wanted us to be Lawyers, Doctors, Engineers or Accountants.
“It was very unusual to see a parent that will encourage his or her son or daughter to take to creative industry.
“I am using the words creative industry in a very elastic manner to include films, music, photography, theatre, interior decoration, fashion designing, architecture, publishing and the likes.
“The truth of the matter, however, is that this is where the future of the country and the world is.
“This is the only industry in the world, that appreciates, there is never a period where a work of arts would lose value: on the contrary, it appreciates in value everyday,’’ he said.
The minister added that the sector employed more people than even the petroleum industry and it is more rural based.
He said that the Federal Government was committed to moving the sector to the front burner of the nation’s economy.
“The Federal Government recently granted a Pioneer Status to the creative industry which means that if you invest in photography, studio production, films and others you will be entitled to a tax holiday and other incentives.
“The creative industry contributes 1.34 per cent to our GDP. We are moving towards a situation where in the next couple of years it will be able to contribute about five per cent to GDP,” he said.
The president’s wife said that Nigerians and children in particular are “highly talented” and parents should support them in whatever profession they choose to actualising their dreams.
She said that government at all levels must ensure they give the support and create the enabling environment for those that have passion in special skills like arts.
She said that governments should not concentrate on conventional schools but develop vocational schools to end the search for white collar jobs by the youths.
Ace photographer and musician, TY Bello, who was also at the event said parents must allow their children to have their own voices and encourage them to express themselves.
“The exhibition is key, being a pointer to the fact that art is not just on the side, art is just as important as medicine and other professions people placed priority on,” she said.
Bello said she was impressed by the talents and boldness of the young photographer and found her works “really amazing”
The Curator of the exhibition, Prof. Jerry Buhari said that Hannan was influenced by “hope and confidence’’ which reflect in her works.
The Professor of Fine Arts, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, said Hanan’s parents wanted her to read medicine or information technology but she chose to read photography.
He commended the parents for accepting her choice of profession. .
“As a teacher, many of my students have derailed because they could not cope with what their parents chose for them to read.
“The challenge of cultism and drugs that we are experiencing in school is because children are frustrated when their parents do not allow them to read the course they have passion for.
“We must begin to allow our children to develop self confidence,” he said.
On the exhibition, the Curator said Vangi means innovation in Fulfude and it is Hanan’s way of breaking away from stereotype.
Hanan in a remark said her work is “unique, stands out, has a different definition and style and sends different messages to different people around the world”.
Hanan, who will be 19 on 30 August, thanked her parents for supporting her to be what she loves to be.
The artist also challenged the youths to stand for themselves and always let their parent know what they want to be in life.