Nigeria: SNA - Building Artists' Colonies in Lagos

17 May 2021

After what looked like months of redundancy due largely to the impact of the covid-19 pandemic on the art community, the Society of Nigeria Artists, SNA, Lagos State Chapter is back and fully loaded for a fresh start.

The Lagos Chapter of the association began its journey towards a greater recovery path, with the inauguration of the newly elected executive officers, last Sunday. The inauguration ceremony was held at the Aina Onabolu Hall, National Arts Theatre, Iganmu, Lagos.

Inaugurating the new executives, ex-Chairman of SNA Lagos State Chapter, Dr Kunle Adeyemi commended the electoral committee chaired by Mr Kurt.O. Odunorin(FSNA), for a smooth and peaceful transitional exercise, noting that their labour to move the association forward will not go unrewarded. Dr Adeyemi advised the new executives to ensure continuity and peace so that the Lagos State Chapter will continue as a model for other states to emulate.

"My administration has adopted the sole vision of rebuilding and sustaining the legacy of the founding fathers of Nigeria's foremost and greatest art union", the new SNA Chairman Lagos State Chapter, Prince Kolawole Olojo-Kosoko said shortly after his inauguration.

First, on the agenda of his administration, Prince Olojo-Kosoko hinted is to immediately commence the establishment of artists' colonies in some parts of the state. "We clearly identified in our manifesto that we are having issues concerning some of our members' inability to attend meetings. It's becoming difficult now because people are moving into the suburb due to the studio base and logistics of coming to town every day. This is why we are raising our first point agenda as the Artists' Colonies whereby we have artists' workshops in communities such as Ikorodu, Badagry, Ayobo etc. If we can achieve two or three in this administration it'll be something worthwhile. Society is about 50 years now, and I don't think we have any landed property anywhere. This is a new way to go. That's why it's our first point of call", he said.

In addition to the Artists' Colonies, he disclosed that "We have artists' directory, and this is because the majority of our artists need to be reached both in the country and beyond. We don't need to be at the mercy of the gallery every time. So, when we have our artists' directory, it becomes easy for anybody to reach us from anywhere".

Members of the association will also benefit from a health insurance scheme while student's membership will be revived to accommodate the younger artists according to him.

The newly inaugurated executives also have plans to strengthen relationships with both local and international artists so as to drive the much-needed change and progress of the SNA Lagos State Chapter, through collaboration.

"We are in a new world now and nobody does anything alone anymore. You have to collaborate. For us to go far, we have to think of collaborating, even if it means starting with neighbouring countries like Ghana, Togo, Benin Republic, etc. Already we've started visiting our elders for ideas and at the moment, we have got two scholarships even before our inauguration. One of our masters is giving out about twenty scholarships to our members. So you see that we are working quietly to achieve a lot to move the association forward".

Olojo-Kosoko however revealed that his administration is not in any way, jettisoning what the past executives have put in place but pointed out that "We need to have a clear understanding of those projects so that it becomes easy to carry their vision through".

He craved the support of members to enable his administration to achieve all planned projects and more for the benefit of the Association and individual artists.

"It's a big work because I'm not going to control children; these are men of high calibre- living legends amongst us, so, it's not a small task for me but I'm committed to serve. I'm ready to move the association forward", Ayoola Omovo the Vice-Chairman said, adding that "It seems we've been stagnant at a point in time but we want to get everybody back. It's a new beginning and we are ready to take SNA to a greater level".

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