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

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Abstract

During the 2nd Black World and African Festival of Arts and Culture (FESTAC) in 1977, a lot of novel, creative and artistic events took place in Lagos. One of these was the construction of a monument, the National Arts Theatre, which also accommodated the National Gallery of Art. Invariably, the presence of the Gallery made the Arts Theatre management allocate the premises of the Theatre to some notable Nigerian artists for use as Artists in Residence. The premises eventually, by 1980, became an institutional and inspirational workshop for budding Nigerian artists. The activities of the artists were so professionally accepted that it was named the National Studios of Art. However, at the time the Studio had become the centre of sound informal art training, it was given a relocation order which caused serious controversy between the Gallery and the artists. The artists eventually accepted the relocation order, and this, necessarily, led to changing the name to the Universal Studios of Art (USA). As the professional artists became globally known, the USA also became a tourist centre for both local and foreign visitors and artists. Till today, the activities of the USA continue to attract national and international attention. Very as unfortunately, no scholarly study of the Universal Studios of Art has been carried out, despite its outstanding professional qualities.. For many years, the artists have developed valuable art forms and art styles that have contributed to the advancement of modern Nigerian art. It is the objective of this article, therefore, to document the artists of the Universal Studios of Art.

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