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‘We are taking youths off the streets,’ Oare Kelvin

Wednesday, 11 October 2017


From Ogechi Ugwu Charity, Peter Nwachi, Gift Nwankwo

One of the organizers of the recently concluded arts exhibition 'Coal City Arts Exhibition' with the caption 'unspoken words ' at the Universal hotel, at eve of independence in Enugu, Oare Ohis Kelvin, has said that together with his team Ghills, they are taking youths off the streets.

Oare said this because they have been able to discover various untapped opportunities in Enugu State, and have seized same to help both the youths in the state and in Nigeria in general.

"We have identified untapped opportunities in Enugu, especially in the young people and have created avenues to showcase them. One is in the arts exhibition, music, for instance, we have a radio programme entitle: 'Open Mic'.

He added: "This exhibition tends to promote exhibitors and their works, provide marketing and sales avenue for the exhibitors."

Kelvin, one of the coordinator of the Coal City Arts Exhibition and a staff of Ghills; a marketing entertainment industry and also the key host of the exhibition, pointed out that coal city arts exhibition is open to painting, sculptures, drawings, photography, textiles, fabrics, graffiti, and all genres of fine and applied arts.

He explained: "our vision is to build the largest arts exhibition in Africa, hosting arts, artists, and arts lovers from across Nigeria, Africa, and the global community.

"we also provide a viable platform for the unknown, underground, unheard artists and utilize visual arts in solving socio-cultural, political, gender, economic and corporate problems," he said.

Speaking with one of the exhibitors, Chioma Nancy Ekwueme, who also specializes in making Ankara handbags and purse of different kinds, stated: "You do not need to go to school to study fashion and design, it is something that is creative in nature. One can equally learn it as a skill."

She pointed, “I am a law student at Enugu State University of science and technology(ESUT),Enugu. I have never had it in mind to study fashion and design, it is my passion and I do it for joy.”

In the same vein, another exhibitor, Ebube Onyenwe,a graduate of agriculture at Federal University of Technology, Owerri (FUTO),said "my carrier in the arts industry started as a hubby, but I took it up professionally in 2011. I never studied it, it is a natural gift, I'm still trying to make a carrier from it though."

Ebube explained that he came with two art works which he entitled 'damsel in distress' which mirrors the unequal treatments metted on females as a result of their gender. The Second he called 'the mist of reality.'

Speaking with Mr Harrison Onwuka,a retired civil servant and father to one of the exhibitors, Modestus Onwuka, he had this to say: " the art works are wonderful, sometimes when I look at it, it seems to me that it is not produced in this part of the world.

He also said "when more people appreciate what these artists are doing, it will go a long way to help them cater for their family needs. People should value arts as it has aesthetic values."

Meanwhile, one of the organizers, Oare went further to say, "financially, we spent times ten of whatever we can realize from this exhibition. We are doing it with our money, and currently not realizing anything from it. But, even at that, we are still happy with what we are able to make available to these artists."

He affirmed: "the first edition, we had just six exhibitors, but this year, we have above exhibitors and we are hoping that few years time, we would host close to one hundred exhibitors from different parts of Nigeria and Africa in coal city"
He continued, "arts is a symbol of unity and peace. Art speaks one language. Art does not know tribe, it brings people together, and helps to speak to our souls and minds. We have exhibitors from Ondo, Lagos, Abuja, Awka and so on," he stated.

However, he said "we want people that will also add value to these young people. We are happy the Commissioner for tourism, Enugu State, Hon. Rita Mba came around to the exhibition. We really want the government to come out and support us.

He continued: "Enugu is a small city and there are a lot of young people who are very creative in various dimensions, the government is not really paying attention to these young people as they should.

Finally, Kelvin opined, "In as much as the government is working on road, doing capital projects, there are other things that will help bring Enugu to limelight. For instance, media, entertainment and tourism" He said will give Enugu the publication it needs to move forward.

Meanwhile the Commissioner for tourism and culture, Enugu State Hon.Rita Mba graced the event and told news men that "I am so much excited for the creativity of these young artists. This is really wonderful" she said.

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