Some Nigerians on Saturday advised craftsmen across the country to improve on the finishing and branding of their works to enhance international recognition and patronage.
They gave the advice during a webinar organised by the National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC) to discuss emerging trends in the Nigerian art and culture industry.
The programme had the theme: “Marketing Nigerian Arts and Crafts Internationally”.
Mr Osita Juwah, Chief Executive Officer, V’iquest Creative Ltd., said that Nigeria was endowed with creative craftsmen but poor finishing and branding of their products minimised international patronage.
He called on the Federal Government to create more avenues for education of craftsmen on how best to make their works attractive to buyers.
He also called for creation of platforms through which the works could be exhibited for more patronage, saying that e-commerce and digital platforms should be explored.
“Nigeria is blessed with creative minds involved in crafts such as wood carving, bronze carving, basket weaving, leather works, calabash weaving, tie and dye and others.
“These people need to be assisted to gain knowledge on how they could be innovative while producing their works.
“They should be empowered with platforms through which their works can be sold both locally and internationally.
“When these craftsmen do not generate enough money from their works, they lose interest in making craft, and as a result, the quality of their craft drops while the nation begin to lose the ancient techniques which should be maintained.
“Income generation models must be developed for these craftsmen to continue in their production,” he said.
Juwad urged artists and craftsmen to work together and emulate the music and Nollywood industries which, he said, had continued to improve in their works.
“Artists must re-engineer their thinking, emulate the music industry which has made several innovations on the Afrobeat music as it keeps expanding.
“We should not limit ourselves to certain ideas, we should be able to borrow ideas from the past to create new and unique materials which will make a huge difference in our works.
“Nollywood and the music sub-sectors are doing well, we need to do something in this sub-sector too,” he said.
Also, Mr Israel Eboh, President, National Association of Nigerian Theatre Arts Practitioners, emphasised the importance of branding and quality finishing of any work of art.
Eboh urged governments to give necessary support for artists and craftsmen.
Earlier, the Convener, Chief Olusegun Runsewe, advised artists and craftsmen to take advantage of social media platforms to project their works even amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
He said that the council would be unveiling an innovation which would enable Nigerians and others to tour the country culturally, from the comfort of their homes.
He said that the aim was to enable Nigerian and international tourists to get acquainted with Nigeria’s culture, while observing the inter-state travel restriction order.