The People’s Republic of China (PRC) has donated materials worth about US$10,000.00 (ten thousand United States dollars) to the Union of Liberian Artists (ULA).
China, through its Embassy in Liberia, made the donation during a Liberian Arts Exhibition hosted by the Chinese Embassy in Monrovia on Sunday, August 13, 2017.
Making remarks on behalf of his country, the Charge d’Affaires Ad Interim at the Chinese Embassy, Mr. Li Zhuang, said the donation is part of China’s efforts in supporting the development of Liberian art.
“On behalf of the Chinese Embassy in Liberia, I take pride in handing over a batch of art supplies including pigment, canvas, brush and other auxiliary materials, which is worthy of 10 thousand US dollars, to the Union of Liberian Artists, to support the development of Liberian art,” Mr Li said.
The Chinese Envoy expressed wish that Liberian artists take advantage of the materials to create more impressive artworks.
There are different definitions or expressions for culture; but Mr. Li noted that China and Liberia are the same in terms of yearning for and in pursuit of wonderful things, adding, “The Chinese oil paintings and wood carvings may differ from the Liberian ones; but the both present the beauty of nature and the love of nature.”
He further said there are different civilizations with their respective and unique cultural and geographical features; but the Chinese and African civilizations need to learn from each other.
Mr. Li stated that the Liberian cultural exhibition on Sunday was an opportunity for many Chinese to enjoy exquisite Liberian oil paintings and wood carvings; something he said is a platform for cultural cooperation and a gateway for deeper mutual understanding and trust.
“I believe that a strengthened China-Liberia cultural exchange and cooperation would help deepen friendship and relations between our two countries and peoples. By working hand in hand, we are able to make the world a place of greater diversity, and we will be able to contribute to the common progress of all civilizations on our planet,” he maintained.
Receiving the donation, UL’s President, Mr. Ndorbor Godwin Yoryor, thanked the Chinese Embassy for its continuous support to the Union and tLiberia as a whole.
Yoryor said the lack of art materials is one of challenges for Liberian artists. He said this situation causes them buy materials from abroad, consequently making some of their products expensive in order to recover what they incur.
However, Yoryor rejected opinions that prices of all Liberian artworks are expensive. “I want to call on Liberians to love their own artworks. I observe people buy from us when they are ready to serve strangers. We need their support,” he stressed.
Yoryor, who termed the arts and culture industry in Liberia as embryonic, expressed the hope that the Sunday’s occasion serve as an eye-opener for investment in the industry.
The ULA President also used the occasion to commend the Liberian Government for renovating the National Museum; but equally called on the government and partners to lay more emphasis on the “deteriorating” arts industry.
At the same time, Yoryor has advanced several recommendations aimed at revamping the arts industry. He stressed the need for an art center or gallery to serve as a one-stop-shop; machines to give artworks good finishing and supplies of more art materials. He further recommended for the sensitization of Liberians to love and appreciate their own arts and culture and micro-loans to empower Liberian artists and craft men.
Meanwhile, Yoryor has called for the establishment of an art and culture ministry in Liberia if the industry must be highlighted. To begin, Yoryor disclosed plan by the Union to construct its modern headquarters. He called for support to the construction of the proposed headquarters, putting the cost at about US$50,000.00 (fifty thousand United States dollars).
The occasion graced by Liberian artists, other supporters of the industry and many members of the Chinese Community in Liberia touring and buying the Liberian artworks during the exhibition.