COVID-19: Embrace digital exhibitions, expert tells artistes.

Mr Israel Eboh, President, National Association of Nigerian Theatre Arts Practitioners (NANTAP), on Thursday, advised tourism practitioners, performing and visual artistes to embrace digital exhibitions. Eboh said this would mitigate the effect of COVID-19 pandemic on the Nigerian creative industry which had great potential of generating huge revenue and employment for the nation.

He gave the advice during an online zoom conference with the theme: Agenda Setting for the Nigerian Creative industry- COVID-19 Impact on Nigeria’s Creative Industry. It was organised by the National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC). Eboh said considering movement restrictions and lockdowns across the country, the only hope of ensuring the creative industry does not experience total collapse was to engage in digital exhibitions of works.

According to him, the visual artists can showcase their works on virtual platforms, while performing artistes can also produce playlets to be exhibited on different social media platforms for people to see how talented Nigerians are. He said that tour operators, travel agents and other tourism practitioners could have video clips of destinations to be exhibited on different digital platforms to create awareness of the existence of such sites.

Through this, businesses can still continue in the industry, rather than the total collapse we have experiencing. COVID-19 has seriously dealt with the creative industry because the industry is such that is people driven . That is the reason digitalising our crafts has become very necessary. Gallery owners and artists are not also left out, they need to create works and have online exhibitions so we can take our arts to the people.

The creative industry must ensure that whatever we are producing now must be deep and beautifully created. ” Online fashion shows can also be organised, this will be creating good market for Nigeria while the country becomes relevant culturally and socio-economically as we take advantage of the pandemic and build on the possibilities,” he said. Eboh urged the Federal Government to create sustainable infrastructure that would grow the sector at such a critical time as this, such as electricity, internet connections and more.

The association president also urged the  government to give some monetary palliatives to the creative industry as done in some developed countries to cushion the effect of COVID-19 pandemic. “In the United kingdom, monetary palliatives were  given to the industry, likewise Germany where $68billion was also released to the creative industry; Nigeria’s case should not be an exemption,” he said.

Earlier, Otunba Olusegun Runsewe, Director-General, NCAC commended  efforts of various stakeholders for making the meeting a successful one irrespective of  various challenges induced by the COVID-19 pandemic. He said such germane discussion was necessary at such a time to chart the way forward for tourism practitioners and the creative industry generally.

Runsewe said that the meeting would be held henceforth on a weekly basis to keep investors in the creative industry abreast of developments and brainstorm on ways forward. He said NCAC was working on a comprehensive report on how far COVID-19 had affected the creative industry which would encompass experiences from pre-COVID-19 period to  post-COVID-19 era.

“Our documentary on experiences before, during and after COVID-19 will help us keep history to enable people have a detailed understanding of how it has affected the creative industry. The creative industry contributes over $250million to the global economy annually, it is a huge industry we must guide jealously,” he said.

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