Thursday, 1 August 2013

Artistes organise silent protest at Artistes’ Village, National Theatre

protesters at Artistes Village, National Theatre

Some artistes under the auspices of private sector operating within the premises of Artistes’ Village in National Theatre, Lagos, on Monday, staged what they termed a silent protest.
The protest which started around July around 12 noon was aimed to appeal to the federal government to consider the future of the Nigerian artistes they planned to move out of the National Theatre premises.
Speaking to the press, the Chairman, Artistes Village Network, Mr. Jude Udueni, said that the concession of the Theatre affected the
National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC), which was given 10th and 11th floor of a building on Lagos Island that is dilapidated and abandoned for a long time. “The elevator is not even working, so you can imagine where workers would be climbing staircases to 11th floor. The building even looks like it is going to collapse any moment from now.
“Apart from that, it is not a place that can house artefacts and works of masters that are in the gallery here. It does not end there. They did not include the private sector that has operated here for the last 17 years in their plans. The private sector was set up with the article 16 of National Arts and Culture directory. What will happen to the private sector which the article 16 said they should take care of? That means they are going to cut us out due to their discussion. Their plan is to concession the environment of National Theatre which they planned to turn to a car park, shopping mall, five star hotels and so on, without having any plans for the private sector.
Furthermore, he added that the National Theatre is an identification symbol for Nigeria, and it has become an international symbol for the culture of West African countries.
He stressed that: “The National Theatre is an important space in a big metropolis city like Lagos. It is located between the Island and Mainland. The Artistes Village is located within the environs of the National Theatre and includes different artistes, who work together. Relocating them may affect the works of the artists and their working space may disappear forever from the National Theatre.
Because of this, we are doing a silent protest at the Artistes' Village like the ‘Standing Man’ (Duranadam), which is the new form of protest in Turkey after a man stood silently for eight hours on Taksim Square, where he was joined by many people. There were solidarity protests all over the world including Germany, England, France and Sweden. We would like to do the silent protest ‘Standing Man’ for the Artistes' Village, to make our statement for our working space for the art and our practice and to show Lagos and Nigerian government how important it is to keep and maintain places for present art and culture. We need to protect and preserve the Nigerian identity,” Udueni said.

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