Now let’s go back to history for substantial evidence to answer this question genuinely.
At the end of the 19th century, the Kingdom of Benin had retained its independence and the Oba exercised a monopoly over trade which the British found irksome. The territory was coveted by an influential group of investors for its rich natural resources such as palm-oil, rubber and ivory. “The kingdom was largely independent of British control”
Did you know that before the Benin Expedition in 1897 by the British. The expected revenue from the expedition was discussed already before Phillips set out on his ill-fated journey to the city of Benin in 1896.
In a letter to Lord Salisbury, the British Foreign Secretary, Phillips requested approval to invade Benin and depose the Oba, which led to the Benin punitive expedition or better still Benin massacre, Phillip said in a added footnote, and I quote: “I would add that I have reason to hope that sufficient ivory would be found in the King’s house to pay the expenses incurred in removing the King from his stool.”
In late 1897 the art looted and / or relocated to Britain. was auctioned in Paris, France, to raise funds to pay for the expedition. Most of the Benin bronzes went first to purchasers in Germany. The dispersal of the Benin art to museums around the world catalysed the beginnings of a long and slow European reassessment of the value of West African art. The Benin art was copied and the style integrated into the art of many European artists and thus had a strong influence on the early formation of modernism in Europe.
History has made it clear that before the emergence of oil and gas exploration in Nigeria, subsistent farming, export of agricultural produce and multiplicity of human engagements such as crafts have sustained the economy of Nigeria in the past. So no serious minded economic policy formulators and administrators at modern times should undermine art education, internal economic structure, the arts and the need for diversification. As it is said “It is a shame to deny your culture”. Retaining ancient practices that would benefit humanity is what I call cultural.
The present unemployment rate in Nigeria has increased to 9.90 percent in the third quarter of 2015 from 8.20 percent, based on the statistics from National Bureau of Statistics, Nigeria. Overall Crime and Safety situation according to OSAC as of 5/6/2015 was Rated: Critical. The Labour force by occupation in the Nigeria Economy by Telecommunication, Arts and Entertainment is 1.8% only.
It is as clear as the Handwriting on the wall, that creating employment for the certificate holders is still unfulfilled, due to the increase in our population. With the statistics above, you can see that we really need to embrace diversification, which will encourage Handcrafts, increase self employment and bring about the decrease in unemployment. As much as they are Nigerian citizens studying Art in our higher institution, they are also non graduate whom are exclusively talented Artist (Self Taught Artists).
Imagine the Nigeria where a non graduate/unemployed graduate can earn a decent living with his/her talent, imagine the cue for employment shortened, imagine the increase in Art exportation and self employment.
What is Art?
Art empowers individuals with creative skills that widen the base of participation in the society, create jobs, self reliance, identity, communicates by creating, recording and transferring ideas. It builds and perpetuates social, religious, political and economic stability.
Soonest I would write a post to create the awareness for multiple income stream on Art. Selling of wall Art is just a tip of the iceberg.
Be kind to share, Let’s build up our country Nigeria.