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Festival Director requests art endowment fund

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By Mercy Kelani

Peace Building, Performing Arts and Society — festival theme.

Jerry Adesewo, Festival Director of the Abuja International Theatre Festival and Awards, has requested that the Federal Government of Nigeria ensures creation of an Art Endowment fund to enhance the improvement of the sector and make sure there that arts have a stable financial foundation. The call for an endowment fund was made by the Festival Director, Adesewo, at the launching of the awards at the Brazilian Embassy on November 1, 2023, which was held in Abuja.

The festival ran through a week and was celebrated under the theme, “Peace Building, Performing Arts and Society.” It saw the attendance of members of the diplomatic community and stakeholders in the creative industry. According to the statement of Adesewo, Nigeria is endowed with rich and dynamic culture and arts, which requires proper harnessing to enhance the promotion of national prosperity, social integration, and peaceful coexistence amongst citizens. However, there are setbacks that leave the sector in a state of struggle.

Provision of a stable financial foundation for the sector.

More so, the culture enthusiast lamented that the art industry is yet to be stable as a result of lack of sufficient funding and enabling environment in aspects of relevant infrastructure. To aid sustenance and elevation of the artistic pursuit of Nigeria, as a nation, the culture enthusiast advocated for the establishment of an art endowment fund that will see to the provision of a stable financial foundation for the sector. He also advocated for other necessities in the sector.

Also, he stated that providing a mobility fund will give artists the ability of transcending geographical barriers, thereby driving International partnerships. There is also a requirement for infrastructure development. This is because a supportive and robust environment is very essential to the prosperity of the arts. Organising a global theatre festival and awards in Nigeria, despite the fact that the arts sector is experiencing serious underfunding, according to Jerry Adesewo, is not a small achievement.

Performing arts is a vital instrument in peace building.

However, Adesewo added that the collective passion and commitment of the sector have conquered the impediments affecting it. He further emphasised the determination and resilience that is present in the spirit of arts. As the creative director of Arojah Royal Theatre, the organizers of the Abuja theatre festival and awards, Adesewo asserted that the festival is mainly concerned with exploring the power of the performing arts in the process of building peace and Nigeria and worldwide.

Furthermore, the creative director highlighted that performing arts was a vital instrument in peace building in any part of the world. Therefore, the government, at all levels, should pay enough attention to peace building, because Nigeria is a multi-ethnic nation. He said that theatre has shown to provide reflection, solace, and a lens that helps in the examination of shared humanity, and that the inauguration of the festival is an acknowledgment of the ancient relevance of theatre.

Theatre is also usually implemented to speak to the government.

It was further stated that the festival was opened to acknowledge the power of theatre to transcend borders, foster understanding, dialogue, and peace. Theatre is also usually implemented to speak to the government, as there are many questions that the government should give answer to, with the hope that opinions will be heard and solutions will be found to problems. The Festival Director said that the programme will feature master classes, performances, and workshops on discussions to restructure the Nigerian arts industry.

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