Managing Director for So Fraîche Media and lead Organiser for the maiden Arts in the City exhibition, Cyril Nelson Ofori, has called for more investment into the creative arts sector to help ignite and redefine the industry.
He emphasised that more investments and efforts must be made toward the development of the sector in order to close the gap and encourage the average person to appreciate arts in Ghana.
Speaking at the maiden Arts in the City exhibition in Accra, he said now is the time to invest in the sector, thus the introduction of ‘Arts in the City’ to not only educate, inform and celebrate artists, but also to kickstart a revolution of reviving the industry, which has enormous potential and capacity to boost economic change in the country.
“I believe that there are very few people who are knowledgeable about arts, and those who tend to keep this knowledge to themselves because it allows them to continue purchasing works for a low price and reap the reward – whether they decide to sell it or keep it.
“The purpose of Arts in the City is to open a window for anyone interested in the arts to be able to invest in art and generally understand that there is a big movement in the arts industry going on in Ghana, and if you are not able to capitalise on it now, it will be too late. So the goal is to showcase some of Ghana’s best artists while also giving the general public the opportunity to comprehend these works,” he said.
He said Ghana has developed into a secure and promising haven for artists who are only being exploited by people from other parts of the world who genuinely value art because they understand it.
“As an agency, we were disappointed to see so many amazing arts leaving Ghana’s shores for other countries; and as art enthusiasts, we were dismayed to see so many of these amazing arts being shipped while those who might be interested in purchasing were usually left in the dark or even unaware that these amazing arts could become an investment piece.
“We have some Ghanaians whose arts are being sold outside the country and are going for half a million dollars upward, but these same guys 10 years ago sold their art pieces for ten times lower the price while some gave it out for free because people in Ghana could not appreciate these arts. And there is a significant movement in the arts sector that Arts in the City wants to support by educating, informing and celebrating the artists who unquestionably will be well-known worldwide in 5-10 years,” he said.
On her part, Creative consultant and Founder for Trybe Africa, Annabelle Obiri, stated that building a strong and sustainable arts industry calls for concerted efforts from everyone – including the government introducing art as a mandatory subject in the curriculum, artists not predetermining who should view their works, as well as consciously making it available for people to understand and appreciate the arts.
“Government should be able to demonstrate to the creative arts sector that it is willing to invest in it. But the government cannot do it alone; everyone is accountable, particularly the artists. We can start an art revolution when we deliberately work to avoid the stereotype that not everyone is talented in the arts, and present it in settings where it will be easiest for people to understand. Thus, it involves the government, the artist, and the school staff,” she said.
She emphasised the importance of society recognising arts as a noble profession with value.
“Let us work to dispel the myth that being a creative artist means you do not have a better career option. Both the government and society must support this endeavor, and instill in us the value of art because many people feel intimidated when they hear the word ‘art’ and assume it is not for them. I believe it is time to make arts more available to Ghanaians as a whole. Anyone can appreciate art because it is creative, and you need not to be a royal to understand it,” she added.