To bring attention to the importance of the creative arts sector, Webster University Ghana in Accra has held a public lecture themed, “The Role of Creative Arts in Africa’s Development: The Case of Music, Film and Photography.”
The lecture took place on Thursday, October 18 and had veteran actor, David Dontoh; musician, Gyedu Blay Ambolley; world renowned photographer, Dr Reginald Jackson and Webster University Ghana visiting faculty as panel members.
The forum was moderated by Prof. Audrey Gadzekpo of the Department of Communication Studies of the University of Ghana.
The lecture brought together arts lovers, film enthusiasts and stakeholders with an interest in the development of the creative arts industry in Africa.
All panel members noted that despite the enormous potential of the creative arts industry, African countries have been unable to economically benefit from it.
David Dontoh blamed the poor state of Ghana’s creative arts sector on the negligence of successive governments.
He said governments had failed to provide the needed infrastructure and support to artists in the industry and that he said had denied the citizens of their “cultural rights.”
“It is our right as citizens to be treated to our music, our dance and our folklore. Everything about ourselves must be first before anything else,” he said.
Veteran Highlife and Afro-Jazz musician, Gyedu Blay Ambolley, who has been one of the most innovative artistes of African musical culture since the early 1970s, noted that government’s lack of interest in providing guidance to the music industry to promote Ghanaian culture was very unfortunate.
“We are losing the cultural element in our music that identifies our sound as African and this is negatively affecting the youth of the country,” he added.
Dr Reginald Jackson, an educator and a visual artist, said one’s culture could impact another depending on how the culture is depicted or exposed.
He noted that there were so many benefits Ghana could derive from holding on to its identity and marketing it to the rest of the world.
Webster University’s public lecture, the 11th in the series, was organised as part of the university’s contribution to the intellectual development of society.