By Nkiru ifeajuna
Nigerian artistes want government to spur artistes-in-residence programme through the provision of grants for them to undergo training that would enable them found their bearing.
The artistes-in-residence programmes give artistes the opportunity to live and work outside of their usual environments, providing them with time to reflect, research and produce works.
During residency, artistes can explore new locations, different cultures and experiment with different materials or tools, like study abroad programs, it can also be at home.
Residencies are often aimed at young artists and could end up having a long term impact on their life and work. Some residency programs are incorporated with institutions, museums, universities or galleries.
Recently Patty Chidiac-Mastrogiannis, CEO Alexis Gallery, officially announced that she had six artists in residency for its maiden edition.
According to her, the residency is aimed at promoting artists from across Africa and African arts in general and for them to provide diversity in content, perspective and style.
“We plan to organise it every three or two months as Alexis Galleries has in eight years of existence supported artists in the promotion of their works and organisation of exhibitions with them.
“We are trying to see how we can put the artists on a greater pedestal with our residency programmes, workshop and lectures.
“The residency is free, I did not collect a dime from them, and I just want our artist to improve to meet international standards, she said.
The one-month programme started May 14, 2018 and will end in June 14, 2018 and the works will be exhibited in October this year.
Chidiac-Mastrogiannis, noted that the gallery has a deep appreciation for the positive role which artists are playing in the development of African Arts. We hope to get a milestone results from this residency.
— NewTelegraph (@Newtelegraphng) June 16, 2018
The artists are: John Oyedemi (painter); Samuel Tete-Kancharn (painter/sculptor), Oyelusi Olasunkanmi (painter); Olorun yemi Kolapo (painter); Sunday Effiiong (metal sculptor) and Oluwole Omofemi (painter).
Samuel Tete- Katcharn, one of the residency participant said that it is a second school where you share ideas, with other artists; it is a hideaway studio.
“We learn from each other, but I would want an avenue where we paint live in front of people. Life painting can be sponsored by people.
“We are struggling to make people experience some things but buying art off us is a problem in Africa,’’ he said.
Tete-Katchan was born in Vogan, Togo and resides in Accra, Ghana.
Another one redidency, Oluwole Omofemi, said that residency had been an opener for him because of what he learned to up his game.
“It has been a great influence on me and my works, there is a lot of difference in what I have learned here and in school. We were not distracted. We eat sleep and work.
“In fact, am happy being here and it is a life changer for me and I will apply it more on my job and If I happen to mentor others, it is a good go,’’ he said.
Omofemi among the rusty-roofed dwelling of the ancient city of Ibadan, he had his National diploma and Higher National Diploma in fine art at the polytechnic of Ibadan.
Sunday Effiong, a sculptor said that initially when they came in he was being corrected by his colleagues but he was angry, but when “I cooled down I noticed that they were right.
“Residency is really good, I learnt a lot from my other colleagues. My regret is that we do not have grant from government to be able to do more.
“There were no challenges but us to do better because anything we needed was provided for, we did not pay anything and she gallery help us sell the art works,’’ he said.
Effiiong, a sculptor, studied under Odogwu Fidelis at the Universal Studios of Art in Lagos.
Isioma Williams, the Chief Executive Officer, (CEO) Drumview concept, a dancer and drummer said that all governments in Nigeria are not ready to provide grants for the arts.
“The residency I went for last year to Korea was on that countries bill, which if our government provided for I would have gone to other countries to learn more.
“Since I am back I have been impacting on the young people, so that they will learn and take off from where we stopped, when we bow out,’’ he said.
A Nollywood film Producer, Chima Okereke said that during former President Goodluck Jonathan regime that grants were given to the arts, which made them travelled abroad for courses.
“It was called “Project Art’’, and after what we were taught, we produced films also during our residencies over there in USA, that is why we are clamouring for the grants.
“When this government came in, they gave grants as loans and many people could not meet up with their collateral, those who brave it, did not make it in the box office.
“And they had problem with not selling the films as expected, because Nigeria have a peculiar problem in film and music,’’ he said.
A playwright and an actress, Bikiya Graham-Douglas, said that it was necessary for contemporaries to steadily go for training so as to build up competence, if there are grants.
She noted that with grants upcoming artistes could easily engages themselves in going for residencies to upgrade what we do in the arts sector.
“We that skills to refocus, we need to collaborate with other people to go and acquire those skills to better our acts and also know how we can achieve more.
“No matter how good you think you are, you must constantly build up your capacity and partner with people,’’ she said.
Graham-Douglas, however, noted that grants could keep shows going on in the theatres year in year out, that is how advance countries are able to do it. (NAN)