Children’s Day 2024: Culture activist calls for better understanding of Nigeria’s diverse culture 

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By Stellamaries Amuwa

A culture activist has called for a better understanding of Nigeria’s diverse culture and people which should be harnessed to build a better society. 

Oyemike Onoko, who holds a master’s degree in International Relations with a bias for Cultural Diplomacy, was speaking on the sidelines of the just concluded Children’s Day celebration by National Gallery of Art (NGA) which showcased art works of Nigerian children to commemorate the day in Abuja.

He said there is an urgent need to harness young children’s artistic passion into skills as a way to sustain our cultural life. Onoko, who organized some children to create works of art which was presented at the occasion through Saint Victoria Art 

Outreach, which he champions to cater for children in underserved communities, said he embarked on the journey to illuminate the transformative impact of culture on the world’s multifaceted problems. “Through this initiative, I want to stimulate the interest of children especially those in junior secondary school to forge creative pathways for a fulfilling livelihood through visual arts.”

According to him, programmes such as Children’s Day and World Art Day should be occasions to encourage young children and young adults to appreciate the cultural and artistic richness of Nigeria by actively participating in creating works of art to reflect the mood of the nation. 

He was full of praises to NGA for displaying art works of children as part of Children’s Day celebration, asking other government agencies to emulate the good example of 

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the parastatal by actively involving children in such events. “The more children participate in such programmes, the more they will develop a positive disposition to the country and create a conducive environment for them to thrive,” he added. He said this tallies with the goals of SDG 17 which calls for collaboration among all stakeholders for a better society. 

With pupils from Amazing Love Education Centre Jikwoyi emerging 2nd place in the Collage Art category at the NGA art completion, according to Onoko, marks a major success towards the mission of Saint Victoria’s Art Outreach having nurtured them for the event. 

Speaking with 14 year-old Chibueze Emmanuel, student of Amazing Love Education Centre Jikwoyi, he said they were able to take overall second position at the competition because of the tutorials from Saint Victoria’s Art Outreach who put them through in creating the collage art work they displayed.  “To make the Collage Art, we used glue, pencil, cardboard, cotton wool, broomsticks and other materials.

Our school does not have Art teacher and I love Art very well. Another pupil from the Centre, Chibuike Collins who is 15 years old in SS1, said: ” I want to become a visual artist and I want government to assist by giving us a teacher who can take us through Arts classes.”

Saint Victoria’s Art Outreach is dedicated to nurturing a deep appreciation of culture and artistic expression among the youth through innovative programs such as seminars, workshops and lectures for children in underserved communities in visual arts and other areas in the creative economy to scale up their skills.  It also encourages exchange programmes among children and organizes outreaches to Orphanages as well as creating a vibrant cultural landscape where every young person has the opportunity to explore and celebrate his or her artistic talents.

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