Edo State Governor, Mr Godwin Obaseki, yesterday, commissioned the Nigerian Pavilion at the 57th International Art Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia, which was the first time Nigeria would have a pavilion at the historical art biennale.
The governor revealed that his love for the arts, which was ignited at an early age, was born in the ancient city of Benin, which he described as “a place rich in culture and history”, adding that an expansion of his world view later made him appreciate art as a veritable medium of transforming and advancing society.
“Art brings beauty into our world, giving us a sense of enjoyment and pleasure. But art is not all fun and personal gratification; it is central to social change! Through their expressive talents, artists can deepen knowledge of, as well as initiate positive changes in a people‘s political, economic and moral life”, he explained.
He continued that the aim of the Nigerian Pavilion, themed ‘How About NOW?’, was to expand the understanding of Nigerian contemporary life through the works of three artists; Victor Ehikhamenor (painter), Peju Alatise (sculptor) and Qudus Onikeku (Choreographer)
Governor Obaseki disclosed that he was excited about the exhibition not only because it was Nigeria’s first showing at the Biennale, but also because it corresponded with Edo State Government’s vision to engender socio-cultural and economic development through the promotion of art and tourism.
Meanwhile, curator, Adenrenle Sonariwo revealed that their presentation sought to use the narrative of the present to interrogate the minefield of societal consciousness in addressing aspects of identity and belonging as they relate Nigerian history.