Fifty 200 level students of the Department of Creative Arts, University of Lagos, recently showcased their artistic talents at an art exhibition with theme: “Exodus — Location And Destination” at the Lagoon Gallery of the Department.
Opening the ceremony, the Vice Chancellor of University of Lagos, Professor Folasade Ogunsola, described the event as another testament of talents of the students in the Department of Creative Arts, University of Lagos (UNILAG).
She said: “What we have today is the interpretation of “Exodus.” In this sense, we are not looking at the mass departure of Nigerians (Japa) to other countries for greener pasture, rather we are examining this move from the angle of being here in Nigeria and reaching out to the entire world.
“Part of what I have seen after going round to see the works is that quite a number of our youth have recognised the fact that one does not have to go out of Nigeria to be something, as depicted by their works, but that one can actually stay here in the country and excel.
“It is an exciting exhibition that has showcased our uniqueness and I believe many people outside there, seeing these paintings will like to have them.”
Ogunsola described the students’ works as fantastic and with deep meaning, adding that their creativity is a conviction that the future of Nigerian youth is bright.
Dr. Bolaji Ogunwo, a lecturer in the department, disclosed that “Exodus” was premised on the ‘Japa’ syndromme, which has become a trend in the country.
“People are beginning to think hopelessly about the nation. These youth are the future of Nigeria and we want them to understand that either location or destination that Nigeria is a land of abundance. We may have some challenges, but we need to sit back here and engage in nation building.
“We are trying to inculcate in them the fact that one does not need to travel out to be a global artist. One can stay back here and have a brand that is strong enough to go out. So, there is a new currency and it is “talent,” which is what we minting in the department of creative arts.
“We are growing these students through this exhibition so that they can have the business side of arts, how the merchandise runs, how to position themselves, how to be a brand and how to manage their brand effectively for global visibility, which is what curatorial practice is all about,” he said.
One of the students, Agomuo Amarachi with her work titled, “Decouverte” (to discover) portrays an average Nigerian’s home transiting into a calm setting after the movement.
She said: “An average Nigerian abroad while in Nigeria may not be mindful of the aesthetics of the space they live in, as they are more interested in functionality. So, most times, the space turns out rowdy and not properly put together.
“After migration to place with better design resource and style, they begin to see that they can explore, better ways of expressing themselves in their homes, their aesthetic style among others.”