Speech by The Hon. Minister Of Information And Culture, Alh. Lai Mohammed, at The Opening of The ‘Cycles Of Fashion’ Exhibition Celebrating Nigeria’s Diamond Jubilee….at Terra Kulture in Lagos on Sunday., 11 Oct. 2020
Please permit me to start by welcoming you all to this exhibition, entitled ‘Cycles of Fashion’, which is one of the events we are using to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee of our dear nation. The exhibition is a collaboration between the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture, where I work, and the preeminent art, culture and lifestyle Centre, Terra Kulture.
2. The Fashion exhibition itself is a series of multimedia exhibitions being hosted by Terra Kulture to explore how our socio-cultural ways have influenced and continued to influence the forging of a national identity from the diverse cultures that make up Nigeria.
3. Of course, Fashion has always been a valuable part of our culture, and its importance in our history cannot be ignored. Therefore, ‘Cycles of Fashion’ will capture the rich contribution of fashion and dress code to the Nigerian national identity all through the years.
4. Terra Kulture, with which we are partnering, has assured me that this incredibly-immersive and colorful exhibition will take us on a historic, educative and informative journey of the people and tribes that make up Nigeria and their unique dress styles.
5. They said the exhibition is a departure from the typical static exhibition template, because it will bring to life some of the mannequins through 3D Mapping technology that animates the costumes on the mannequins, running different fabrics and outfits real-time on the mannequins. I am not surprised. After all, this is Terra Kulture.
6. Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, let’s talk a little about fashion. I must say this industry is seriously underrated, especially in its capacity and ability to help advance the government’s economic diversification policy, as well as wealth and job creation.
7. While we continue to focus on Music and Film, we tend to ignore or underrate the fashion industry. I guess this is because of the lack of adequate information about the industry. That is about to change. As you are very much aware, we recently set up a Post-Covid-19 Initiative Committee on the Creative Industry. This Committee, headed by Alli Baba, did a great job that has brought to the fore the huge potentials of the Creative Industry.
8. Ladies and gentlemen, according to the report of the Committee, the Fashion Industry’s annual revenue is around 2 trillion Naira.
while the industry comprises about 1,000 businesses that employ over 30,000 practitioners. Compare this with the Film Industry, with an annual revenue of 140 billion Naira or the Music Industry, with an annual revenue of 300 billion Naira, and you will understand how huge the Fashion Industry is.
9. Now, if we add the Hair and Beauty Industry to the Fashion Industry – since they are natural allies, so to say – we have a mega industry that is worth 3.5 trillion Naira annually (the Hair and Beauty Industry alone brings in 1.52 trillion Naira annually). At 3.5 trillion Naira, these two industries are almost equal or bigger than all the other industries put together, and I am talking of Hospitality, Events and Tourism; Advertising, Radio and Television; Writing, Printing and Publishing; Comedy, Dance and Performing Arts as well as Arts, Design and Photography.
10. The Federal Government is keenly aware of the negative impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on the Creative Industry in general, hence the decision to set up the Committee that I referenced earlier. For the Fashion Industry, which is our main concern today, such negative impact includes the fact that there have been little or no events or triggers to sell products, extensive skill gaps at all levels of the value chain, lack of access to raw materials, poor supply chain, poor funding and poor intellectual property protection.
11. That is why we have followed up the work of the Alli Baba Committee by setting up an Implementation Committee, headed by Otunba Olusegun Runsewe, Director-General of the National Council for Arts and Culture, to – among other things – design an implementation plan on immediate and short-term relief for the Creative Industry in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, design a Policy Framework for Tax Relief for the various sectors in the Creative Industry, if it is identified as one of the measures aimed at achieving immediate and short-term relief for the Industry, and to work out a detailed implementation plan for a long-term intervention for the overall development of the Creative industry in Nigeria.
12. I am informed that the Implementation Committee has concluded its work, and will soon be submitting the report to me. I am eagerl awaiting the report to enable us to intervene positively in bailing out the Creative Industry, which is the second employer of labour after the Agriculture Industry in Nigeria. As we seek to diversify our economy away from oil, create jobs for our people, especially the youth, and also create wealth, we cannot afford to neglect the Creative Industry in general and the Fashion Industry in particular.
This realization drives all that we have done and will continue to do to support the industry.
13. On this note, distinguished ladies and gentlemen, let me thank the National Council for Arts and Culture, the National Archives, the National Gallery of Arts and the National Commission for Museums and Monuments, all of them under the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture, for their immense contributions to this exhibition. May I also commend the Curators, Oludamola Adebowale and Yakubu Yahaya, who are responsible for the direction of this exhibition, focusing it on Nigerian Fashion from 1900 to 1960, as well as Mr. Timi Onibon of The History Studios.
14. Finally, I wish to commend the hardworking and creative minds at Terra Kulture, led by Mrs Bolanle Austen-Peters. Here is wishing all of us a successful exhibition
15. Thank you for your kind attention (It is now my pleasure to declare open the ‘Cycles of Fashion’ Exhibition celebrating Nigeria’s Diamond Jubilee)