By Bianca Iboma-Emefu
Renowned master printmaker, painter, sculptor and poet, Professor Bruce Onobrakpeya, has charged the government and philanthropists to sponsor art workshops, developed by budding talents through scholarship awards, seminars, workshops and establish tuition free training institutions to encourage persons with art skills.
Onobrakpeya made this declaration during an inaugural public exhibition recently, La Vie (Life), which were on works of a 17 year old, Nigerian Ayomide Fadase, who made 26 paintings for exhibition and proceeds given up for charity, the Cerebral Palsy Kids in Surulere, Lagos.
He commended the gesture by the teenager, who, currently, is in High school in the U.S but came to Nigeria in order to impact the society. He urged the government to recognise talents in the arts who might not have funds to develop their talents by sponsoring and providing them the platforms to showcase their talents.
Onabrakpeya lauded the parents of the teenager, Ayo, for encouraging her to pursue her passion and talents. “The school the child attends equally should be commended for mentoring her. I met her during an art workshop organised by the school for six weeks where I gave them some training. Kids with talents should be encouraged. Our government needs to do more by investing in the youths. That is the only way the future of the youths can be secured.”
Highlighting the health benefits of art in health, he said, “It is an effective brain-booster among other health benefits art has to improve the health of a sick person. Art has a therapist element that helps worse scenes recover speedily.
“If art workshops and extra-tertiary art institutions are given the necessary support by both the government and philanthropist Nigerians, a lot of Nigerian artists, especially those in the rural communities, will be able to get some form of training, which will position them for recognition.
Onabrakpeya said, “The government has set up universities, college of education and college of technology and so they are doing a lot in training artists but the individuals who have money in the country should support extra-tertiary art institutions to grow.”
“Artistic expression grew in lockstep with human cultural development and has long played an integral part in how we teach, learn, communicate and heal.
“Since our earliest ancestors began telling stories to make sense of the world, we have evolved to learn from narrative, be it through visual media, song or performance. The arts are uniquely suited to help us understand and communicate concepts and emotions by drawing on all our senses and capacity for empathy.
Onabrakpeya highlighted the benefits of arts in Healthcare, saying art could help us to emotionally navigate the journey of battling an illness or injury, to process difficult emotions in times of emergency and trauma and even to physically recover more quickly from injury or disease.
Mrs Titilayo Akinkugbe said that the exhibition and proceeds would be used as a major donation to The Cerebral Palsy Center (CP Center) in Surulere, Lagos. This is a strategic way to contribute to the welfare of the children at the center in order to boost specialised therapy, care, and accommodation for them.
Akinkugbe stated that cerebral palsy children in Nigeria were abandoned and neglected. She recalled the story of a woman, Mrs. Nonye Nweke, who gave them to a child that had this physical disability, and it cost her marriage, but decided to make an impact and started adopting kids with the challenge.
Ayodele Fadase, father of the initiator, expressed gratitude for the growth of a fruitful future development. He appealed to parents not to force a career path for their kids, “Let’s allow them to develop their talents. What we need to do as parents is guide and encourage them.”