Being part of an event where attendees stay in their vehicle for the duration of the event, except to use the washroom might not be common in Africa but the International Arts and Crafts Festival (INAC)was able to do exactly that recently in Abuja.
The festival has become not only a national rallying point to showcase the best of Nigeria rich social, cultural and economic value system when it comes to arts and crafts but it has also created a cultural diplomacy avenue for the world to relate with each other in a common ground.
The 2020 INAC, held amid strict COVID-19 protocol, hosted states, foreign ambassadors and stakeholders to the first-ever innovative drive-in virtual exhibition in Africa for a two-day expo.
The 13 the edition of the arts and crafts expo with theme Networking Nigerian Crafts to the world came at the right time with the right innovation as it came handy with interesting features to reduce the pile-up stress resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The expo which displayed the best of Nigeria cultural pride held the drive-in guests who watched from their cars spellbound to the wonderful performance by the participating states as well as upcoming music arts and talents who staged and mimed different contemporary and old school vibes.
The exhibition featured apparels, embroidery, brass and metal designs, music and dance, jewellery designs, classic ceramics, decorative pottery, beads, bronze works, leather and interior designs and more.
These cut across states and countries which physically participated like: Ogun, Kwara, Kaduna, Zamfara, Borno, Katsina, Ekiti, Nasarawa, Adamawa, Anambra, Kano and the Federal Capital Territory.
There were equally delegates from Syria, Argentina, Lybia, India, Bangladesh, Cameroon, Lebanon, Ghana, Kenya and Venezuela who were all given certificates of participation and other souvenirs.
Also, states’ performances were a sort of attraction as the audience did not only applaud the display of richness in dance, drum and culture but also asked for more.
Rating the competiting states, Ekiti State took the shine at the 2020 INAC as it won the overall first position at the event in Abuja as well as also first in the category of the best-decorated pavilion during the exhibition as well as the state with the best rafia works.
In the overall winner category, after Ekiti being the first, the Federal Capital Territory and Katsina jointly clinched the second position, while Ogun and Kaduna states had the third position and Nasarawa state took fourth.
For the best states in multimedia and rafia works, Ekiti came first, Kaduna got the best for fibreglass production and Ogun made the best in contemporary textile production.
The best production innovation went to the Federal Capital Territory, Ogun attracted the best contemporary marketing strategists and Katsina won the best cultural documentation category.
For post-COVID-19 compliance, Kaduna, Anambra and Ogun states emerged the best, Kaduna State also got the most consistent; Zamfara, Adamawa and Kwara states bagged the best modern mobilisation.
Ekiti was also rated first in the category of the best Pavillon, Nasarawa bagged second, while Katsina took third. Anambra State emerged the best in product design for metal works, Nasarawa State took best in textile, Zamfara got first in embroidery while Anambra was best for leatherwork and calabash design.
The Federal Capital Territory emerged the best in pottery and Kwara won the best state in woodwork.
Speaking at the venue, Director-General, National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC), Chief Segun Runsewe and organiser of INAC congratulated all the states for their brilliant exhibitions.Runsewe urged delegates from each state and country not to relent in their activities for cultural promotion.
He said this was a veritable avenue to foster unity across the globe and a means of revenue generation for states and countries.
Runsewe explained that the main objective of the expo was to promote, import and export the business of arts and crafts from Nigeria to the international community.
This was also designed to sensitise investors on the need to invest in the arts and crafts sector as a way of encouraging enterprise development and export-oriented production.
Runsewe urged Nigerians to tap into the arts and crafts business as it had the potential of reducing poverty as a money spinner.
“Right at the exhibition stands, we have rich and diverse crafts, cuisines, fashion and cultural displays that provide great opportunities for effective and focused promotional and marketing incentives for would-be sponsors.
“INAC expo avails various opportunities for trade and investment in the economy with a view of promoting greater integration and synergy among players to boost economic and social development.