Port Harcourt — French oil giant, Total Exploration and Production Nigeria Limited, TEPNG, has affirmed its commitment to the promotion of Nigerian culture through artistic work of young Nigerians in crafts, painting and textiles.
Total Deputy Managing Director, Port Harcourt JV District, Mr Guillaume Dulout, disclosed this at the 2019 Art Exhibition organised by the company for upcoming artists in Nigerian universities.
Dulout said the exhibition was imperative as Total remains commitment to developing young people, promoting artistic work of young Nigerians as well as creating awareness of the rich Nigerian culture and its diversity.
Speaking on the theme of the event, “This is Who We Are” the Total Deputy Managing Director, commended the young artists for their creative capabilities as expressed in their works.
The participating universities in the 2019 edition include, the University of Port Harcourt, Ignatius Ajuru University Rivers State, Alvan lkoku College of Education, Owerri and the University of Benin.
“We believe that through this medium we can share with you our interest and deep appreciation of the rich and diverse Nigerian cultures in art form,from the perspectives of young up and coming artists.
“We at Total hope this event to; Continue to show Total’s commitment to developing young people; Promote the artistic work of young Nigerians in crafts, painting, textiles, etc; Create awareness of the rich Nigerian culture and its diversity.
“As arts is a reﬂection of our societies, people and cultures, we are sure you will be able to share with the artists their perspectives on the beauty that surrounds them.
“It is no mean feat to capture imagination and reflect it in a piece of art, but these young artists have dared both their imaginations and their environment to bring out the beauty in them.
“We wish to express our gratitude to all of the young budding exhibitors, who have graciously honoured our invitation to participate in this event. We hope that their creative capabilities as expressed in their works will be highly appreciated by all those who have the opportunity to see them.”
Also speaking, the Vice-Chancellor, University of Port Harcourt, Prof Lale Ndowa, commended Total for encouraging young artists through the exhibition.
“The exhibition is a very good opportunity and we thank Total, fine arts students are the most hardworking students in any university. We are very happy that Total is encouraging our young people, we are so happy to be here.
“You know it is highly competitive, it’s not everybody who applied that was taken so those who were successful, the exhibition gives them more courage to step forward.”
Ndowa, represented by the Head of Department, Fine Arts and Design, UNIPORT, Prof Florence Nduka, explained the role of art in national development.
“Artists have a way of capturing the happenings in the society through their artworks, such as textile, painting, sculpture, graphics etc, for example the issue of hydrocarbon soot in Rivers State, students use their arts to showcase what is happening and how it can be addressed.
“An artist is a natural entrepreneur, we teach our students not to look for white collar jobs but to stand on their own. For example, in sculpture they have gone beyond just making sculptural pieces they are not taught product sculpture where they can turn furniture into an artwork.”
An exhibitor and student of Alvan Ikoku Federal College of Education in Imo State, Chinonso Julius, who specialises in painting and paint drawing, said the exhibition serves as encouragement.
“I enjoyed the exhibition because it gave me the opportunity to meet young artists from other schools. I want to say a very big thank you to Total for giving us this opportunity to exhibit our artworks and also encouraging us to be more creative in what we do.”
For her part, Miss Queen Ime Jack, an exhibitor from the University of Benin, said she was able to sell her fabric, called on other companies should emulate Total
“The exhibition is one of its kind, as we get to see other people’s work and it has been amazing. I chose arts because I relate it to nature, life itself is art. So I could express myself with artwork and you can speak through your artwork.”
Meanwhile, Lemchi Amadi, an exhibitor from Ignatius Ajuru University of Education in Rivers State, defined art as a way of communication, the outward expression of inward feelings
Amadi who explained that he uses enamel paint, sand and fabric to paint his artworks, also commended TEPNG for the opportunity.
“I acknowledged Total for organising this exhibition for us. There are many oil companies out there who are aware that arts and young artists exist, but has not been able to organise this kind of exhibition for us.”
Artworks exhibited by the four tertiary institutions include, painting, ceramics, textile, sculptures and mix media.