At the recent closing of the “Recovery” exhibition at the Liberia National Museum, it was a scene full of the finest work of arts on display, ranging from painting to handicraft. The beautiful works attracted the eyes of the audience and some could hardly hold back their amazement and enthusiasm.
Before the civil war Liberian arts were known as “Classical” because of the artistic abilities of its artist and were widely recognized. To that extent, Liberian art was a powerful tool in drawing the country to unity.
According to Maisha “Mama” Shabu, wife of Omar El “Baba” Shabu, headlining artist of the “Recovery” exhibition, Liberians must bear in mind that art was once an influence and has been fostering public awareness ever since. She said Art enhances and changes life for the better.
“Recently, we all witnessed the crucial role that art played in reducing the alarm and fear induced by Ebola,” she said, adding, “if art is taken for granted people will continue to forget who they are and allow others to come in and use them as slaves.”
She said further that the positive and political transformation towards a better and unifying society has its root in art.
“It is our hope that the public will add this as a new meaning and develop it in some part of their life from here,” she said. “This exhibition reminds our people that we have a precious and rich culture. The idea of the exhibition is to spark recovery and make you think positively about your country; it is very important that we restore and uplift our culture through arts.”
Several other Liberian artists presented their works at the Recovery exhibition, which was staged at the National Museum in Monrovia from December 1, 2014 to January 31, 2015. They include Lawson Sworh, Mohammed Bah, Marcus Benn Yancy and Isaac Dubor.
Baba Shabu said that Liberia once had very excellent artwork. “But where are they now?” he asked, adding, “They are in Paris, USA, Germany and around the world. We want to bring back these excellent pieces through arts exhibition and training young artist.”
Speaking at the exhibition was a young musician known only as Prince, who said that he is happy to witness first-hand traditional Liberian arts.
Also present was Ian Yhap producer of the ‘Jue Kpeh’ Ebola awareness song. He said that the recovery exhibition would help to create a sense of unity among Liberians, emphasizing a stronger meaning of cultural identity.
He added that arts are heavily influenced by the cultural, moral and spiritual lives of our people, playing a significant role in social cohesion.
“We want more people to come at the Museum and see the beauty of their country arts,” Mama Shabu said. “Eventually they will begin to see something that will touch their hearts and create a passion for it. We appreciate all Liberians that attended the exhibition. And to those that made donations, we say many thanks and hope you would continue to support creative works, training of young artists and materials for graphic use in Shabuta, Gbarnga,” she said.