Nathan Tamarapreye, Yenagoa
Dr Piriye Kiyaramo, an art enthusiast and tourism expert, on Saturday, advocated the use of art to enhance cohesion and national unity across the country.
Kiyaramo, who is also the Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to Bayelsa Governor on Tourism, noted that artworks have the potential of cultivating a sense of place among members of the community.
According to Kiyaramo, people see their cultural heritage expressed in the local arts and feel welcomed through the arts.
The SSA spoke at the opening of a new private art gallery, Macaulay Eteli Art Gallery in Yenagoa.
“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”, Kiyaramo said.
Kiyaramo explained that art galleries generate jobs while stimulating local economies through consumer spending and tourism.
The SSA noted that crafts, advertising, graphic arts, and cultural tourism are part of the art and culture industry, adding that through taxation the creative sectors directly contribute to the economy of cities.
He said there are countless reasons that motivate the creation of art which add to the aesthetics of surroundings, creating records of a specific time, place, person or object.
Art, he said creates expressions and communicates ideas, adding that art is inspiring and stimulating for the human mind.
“Art allows individuals to express their bottled-up feelings, emotions, and thoughts in ways that are not always possible in words or actions.
“Art helps us better to understand how we feel about certain things in society,” Kiyaramo said.
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 a visit could pay off greatly in terms of knowledge acquired.
He also that art helps people to process their emotions, making the viewer 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 gallery 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,” he said.
He explained that art is a platform for people to express themselves and live out their dreams adding that art helps people to deal with tough times and create something beautiful out of such situations.
Also speaking, Bayelsa Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources, Chief David Alagoa described the creative works of Macaulay Eteli as high-quality works that meet international standards.
Alagoas noted that arts are an 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 a more attractive place.
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 in 2014.
He said he envisioned that art gallery to be a place where his creative works and those of other Bayelsa artists would be displayed when he read about the tourism potential in the state.
“This thought was materialised 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 far-fetched, it is our culture, our heritage, our traditions, and our interplay with the environment where we are situated.
“Bayelsa state is abundantly blessed with natural resources to create art”, Eteli explained.