Residency Unlimited

Universal Studios of Art: Professionalization and Contributions to Art Education in Nigeria


Dr Augustine Okolo Bardi, Associate Professor at the University of Benin (Benin City, Nigeria) investigated the activities of artists at the Universal Studios of Art based in Lagos, Nigeria. Before the hosting of the 2nd Black World African Festival of Arts and Culture in 1977 tagged (FESTAC ’77), art development in Nigeria was at a moderate speed in terms of advancement. But the hosting of (FESTAC’77) exposed some wealth of art in the society through exhibitions, seminars, workshops and other art activities. The success of FESTAC ’77 opened a corridor of participants by professionals in the arts at the National Theatre complex which housed the National Gallery of Arts (NGA). The premise was used to groom budding artists both formally and informally. The huge success of this exercise by the invited independent artists as artists-in-residence advanced the growth of art education in Lagos metropolis and extended to institutions which sent students to the center on training. However, this huge success was bridged when a misunderstanding ensued between the authority of the gallery and the independent artists. This quarrel led to the establishment of the Universal Studios of Art in 1996 under the leadership of Bisi Fakeye, a renowned traditional sculptor. At the Universal Studios of Art (USA), Lagos, Nigeria students can learn from any section, such as pottery, sculpture, metal designing, graphics, textile, bead-making, print-making and many others. Art training has greatly increased the potential for empowerment of local  youths and adults.

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