Otunba Olusegun Runsewe, the Director General, National Council for Arts and Culture, says the newly opened Nike Art Gallery will employ youths and women in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
Runsewe said this at the official opening of the privately own Art Gallery in Abuja on Tuesday.
He said Mrs Nike Okundaye the founder of the private gallery had trained over 3,000 Nigerian women and youths, adding that it is a unique brand of developing the economic strength of the country.
“This is going to create jobs, a lot of young people will get job from here, we are proud of this courageous move of starting a new thing that will promote Nigeria as a tourist destination.”
Runsewe described the founder as a woman of vision who had been able to change the narrative in the country, saying “people thought everything about Nigeria is negative”.
“This is an edifice of its kind in the history of Africa, it’s the best. The textile museum is special, the structure is special, it’s an edifice that speaks for Nigeria.
“If you come to Nigeria as tourist, this is a destination to visit. The Nigeria project is a project that will rule the world soon and that’s why some do not want it to succeed.”
He further said when the Nigeria project succeeded, the country would be in the limelight of the whole world.
The founder of Nike Art Gallery said the idea of bringing the gallery to Abuja was because it was the FCT which is bigger than any of the public or privately owned gallery.
He said the gallery was therapy that would provide succour to tourists, adding that the idea is to allow people to grow with the gallery because Nigeria had treasure and the Art is the treasure.
According to her, this Art will employ more than 5,000 persons in the first one year because the artists that we have on ground are 5,000 already and we have 50,000 non – Nigerian artists.
“We need more galleries, the art of Nigeria has put Nigeria in the world map, you know people do not like us but they always clap for us.
“When Nigeria won the first price in Italy among 150 countries, Nigeria won first and second price.”
Mr Lanre Igbimosho, one of the guests at the event, said Nike Art Gallery was too big to be restricted to Lagos, hence the founder’s reason for bringing the biggest of it to Abuja.
He described the gallery as a beautiful tourist destination and a beautiful place to show the country’s culture, adding that the purpose is not just about making money.
“A place like this is a place to get the peoples buying in and understand the country, it open up their mind into our past, present and future, and ways of life,” he said.
He said the gallery remained a strong unifier, adding that apart from what the tourists heard, they will want to see it themselves, “so it’s a strong unifier”.