Obinna Makata, a Visual Artist, on Sunday urged the Federal Government to formulate policies for protection of artists’ works exhibited online in view of the ravaging COVID-19 pandemic..
Makata told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos that the protection was necessary since the art industry had embraced online exhibitions as against the conventional physical exhibitions.
He said there was a great need for the establishment of favourable policies protecting artists’ intellectual property right to guard against their works being duplicated.
“With our embrace of online exhibitions and art auction, this will give room for increased cases of duplicated art works, which is criminal.
“We want government to establish policies that will automatically protect the property right of all artists, this is very important at this critical period,” he said.
Makata also called on art collectors and gallery owners who were usually involved in sales and exhibitions of art works to ensure mechanisms were put in place to guard against theft in the industry.
According to him, these set of individuals could ascertain the original owners of various art works being purchased or exhibited in the galleries.
The artist sympathised with the families of those who lost their lives due to the Coronavirus pandemic, adding that he produced a sculptural piece during the lockdown which he entitled “Palliative Expectant”.
He said that the art work addressed the way Nigerians were treated during the distribution of palliatives for the COVID-19 lockdown.
“In my work, “Palliative Expectant”, I used animal bones as my medium depicting decay, decadence and death; I also used crutches representing limitations experienced by majority of Nigerians at that period when they could not go out to get means of survival.
“This is only the first series out of the many I will be coming up with because am still gathering information about the pandemic.
“The essence of the work is to keep history alive for generations to know happenings during the Coronavirus pandemic,” he said.
Makata noted that he experienced lots of frustrations during the lockdown period, when he exhausted his painting materials and had nowhere to buy from.
He said that prompted him to explore animal bones as a medium which he was able to explore well and gained full understanding of the medium.
“Before the lockdown, I was exploring Ankara fabric and Ghana-must-go bags as my medium but now I have fully explored and understood animal bones as a good medium also.
“The lockdown period afforded me the opportunity to do this,” he said.