A WELCOME ADDRESS PRESENTED ON THE OCCASION OF THE FIRST ANNIVERSARY OF PROFESSOR STELLA IDIONG ART GALLERY (PSIAG), UNIVERSITY OF UYO ON MONDAY 28 JANUARY, 2019 BY THE DIRECTOR.
It’s Monday, the 28th day of January, 2019. For us, at Professor Stella Idiong Art Gallery, University of Uyo, it’s a day to celebrate the coming into reality of that which was previously an idea, thus vindicating the abstract –concrete- continuum of Bandura’s learning theory. Professor Stella Idiong Art Gallery, University of Uyo, is now a reality and it’s a year old today. With God, only God, all things are possible.
Vice Chancellor sir, distinguished guest of honor, wife of the Executive Governor, Akwa Ibom State, Mrs Martha Udom Emmanuel, a lady of substance, the quintessential and dream child of any living parents, (One who gives honors to her parents) here ably represented by Hon Ubong Idiong, Executive Chairman, Oruk Anam, Local Government Area, Akwa Ibom State.
I see the Gallery as a memento to a great artist and a woman leader, one who have left indelible prints on the sands of time. In academics, she was a great inspiration and in her personal life, an icon of humility and commitment in services to human development.
The late Professor Stella Idiong was essentially an advocate of Aesthetic Education for children. In one of her publications, she remarked that, “Children should be able to develop multiple language skills including visual and performing language, which as proven by psychologists, can cultivate sophisticated levels of sensitivity, creativity, insight and skill development.” (Idiong, 2000:77) She was convinced that art and design play a great role in nation development and that, ‘any nation which is not irrigated by art, sinks into barbarism’ (Idiong, 2003:60).
Sequel to this great belief of the Icon, I see a future when PSIAG would endow a scholarship fund for a child on Art Education, to reflect the passion of the Icon at whose instance the Art Gallery is being celebrated today. I see a vision of tomorrow, when this gallery, will be self- sustaining to actualize its vision and mission statements.
A future where we are ranked as equal in global height among committees of nations creating social integration through the Visual Arts, providing a vital platform for critical thinking across media, disciplines, cultures and contexts. Using art and its presentation as a tool of analysis, contributing to the production of new knowledge and creates opportunities for learning, for the benefit of staff, students and the wider community.
To create academic environment for well-researched, visually stimulating and thoughtful exhibitions
To foster leadership role in developing educational activities that change the narratives of how galleries work to produce meaning and advance knowledge.
to seek collaboration among reputable galleries and public private partnership concerning exhibition, funding, collection, sales, research, publication and preservation.
Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, permit me, on behalf of Professor Stella Idiong Art Gallery, University of Uyo, to express unalloyed gratitude to the Vice Chancellor, University of Uyo, Professor Enefiok Essien (SAN), for his unprecedented support and development to Humanity through the Visual Arts.
In less than one calendar year, from when the Gallery was commissioned by his Excellency, Executive Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Mr Udom Emmanuel, our Vice Chancellor fulfilled his avowed statement of continual commitment by taking the Gallery beyond the ordinary to an extra ordinary level of a full- fledged Directorate. Consequentially, by this gracious act, he fulfilled the hope of the Father of Nigerian artists, Professor Bruce Onabrakpeya who had prophetically wished that, “in the future, this Gallery which is been commissioned today [then], will be made a full-fledged department with its own director” (Onuogbu 2018). Today as we commemorate the first anniversary of this Gallery, there is a full-fledged directorate and a director, myself.
With permission of Vice Chancellor and our distinguished guests, I like to thank her Excellency, wife of the Executive Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Mrs. Martha Udom Emmanuel and members of her family for this thoughtful magnanimous gift bequeathed to the University.we are most grateful to his Excellency, Governor Udom Emmanuel for being for pillar of support of this noble gesture of his dear wife. It is indeed a gift worthy of immortalizing a mother, an exceptional female artist, Professor Stella Idiong of blessed memory.
As Director of this unique gallery, I shall endeavor to ensure continuity and actualizing the vision and mission statements, representing resume of the founding father. Give us your support, more support through donation of fund, art works, purchase or loan of art works. Your names will be endorsed on annals of history through our proposed prestigious Annual Award.
Thank you for coming and together, let us all be part of sustaining the legacy of a legend.
Dr. Anthony U Okonofua, MInSEA, FSNA
University of Uyo Women Association (UWA) Visits the Gallery
Prof. Anthony Okonofua (Director, Stella Idiong Art Gallery) recieving a gift from UWA President