Nigerian based financial institution, Guaranty Trust Bank plc, has launched a Virtual Arts Gallery, named ART635, to reignite interest in African art and drive the growth and development of the local art industry.
The virtual arts gallery is the first online repository of African artworks and is set to serve as a leading platform for the promotion of indigenous artists across the continent. At the moment, most budding indigenous artists in Nigeria and across Africa have little or nowhere to showcase their works and make a substantial living from their works. The Gallery will significantly expand the exposure of these artists, provide an enabling platform for the marketing of their works and serve as a much needed motivation for the further development of their artistic skills and talents.
The launch of ART635 is the latest of the Bank’s sustained efforts to promote African arts locally and internationally. Arts is one of the four pillars of GTBank’s Corporate Social Responsibility policy and the Bank’s support for Arts over the years ranges from collecting art work from Nigerian artists, to partner with Tate and other Art institutions to promote the value of African Art in Africa and the international markets through project-lead initiatives.
With ART635, the bank aims to further its support for African arts by helping African artworks become not just more seen and appreciated, but also to turn them into a much more profitable and commercially viable venture for indigenous artists who currently earn very little from their works. This is in line with the Bank’s initiative to go beyond the traditional understanding of Corporate Social Responsibility as corporate philanthropy by intervening in economic sectors to strengthen small businesses through capacity building initiatives that serve to boost their expertise, exposure and business growth.
Commenting on the launch of ART635, Mr Segun Agbaje, the Managing Director of Guaranty Trust Bank plc, said; “At GTBank we see art as an avenue for unlocking people’s creative potential and by creating ART635 we aim to expand the opportunities for art education as well as broaden the reach and viewership of the works of indigenous artists.”
He further added that “Although African art goes back several centuries, the art industry in the continent is still young and largely untapped and we hope that with ART635we can drive its evolution into a lucrative and vibrant economic sector.”
GTBank has consistently played a leading role in Africa’s banking industry. The Bank is regarded by industry watchers as one of the best run financial institutions across its subsidiary countries and serves as a role model within the financial service industry due to its bias for world class corporate governance standards, excellent service quality and innovation.