The University of Liberia Department of Arts and Crafts today staged an elaborate art and craft exhibition as part of activities preceding the UL 102nd College-Based Commencement Convocation scheduled to begin on Monday, March 14, 2022, on the grounds of the university’s Fendall Campus in Louisiana, outside Monrovia.
Serving as the Guest Speaker, the Vice President for Graduate Studies and Research, Dr. Jonathan C. Taylor, stressed the importance of arts and crafts to the UL’s overall expansion efforts and beyond its current programs. “Considering the new trajectory of the UL to expand beyond its programs, the importance of arts and crafts in this academic community must be duly noted”. He said.
Dr. Taylor believes that through arts and craftspeople learn to value and appreciate artifacts and images across cultures and times. “They are all about learning the value of things, appreciating our history and practices. Arts and crafts describe a wide variety of activities involving things with one’s own hands”, Dr. Taylor noted.
According to him, a lot can be accrued from investing in the sector through the Department of Arts and Crafts. He appealed for increased support to the program at the UL. “We call for greater investments in the arts and crafts program of the university in terms of capacity building across the board; this includes training opportunities for faculty as well as the development of a permanent modern gallery for the display of specialized productions by students, faculty and the public at large”, he urged.
Performing the launch of the exhibition, UL President, Prof. Dr. Julius J. S. Nelson, Jr., acknowledged the importance of arts and crafts in the transformation of teaching and learning at the university. “I want to share with you that we in the cabinet and head of the management team will review your recommendations to give intentional support for the upliftment of the arts and crafts department here at the UL”, Dr. Nelson promised.
He thanked the Dean, chairperson, faculty, staff, and students of the College of Social Sciences and Humanities through the department for upholding the vision of the UL. Dr. Nelson added that it is commendable that the university traditionally kicks off its convocation activities with the arts and crafts exhibition. “I am indeed happy to join the department on behalf of the UL Administration to officially launch these arts and crafts exhibitions today to kick off the 102nd Commencement Convocation.” He declared.
The UL President paid homage to the memory and past chairpersons of the department including the late Vanja Richards and Oho Wilson. Dr. Nelson also used the occasion to pay special tribute to the late former president of the UL, Dr. Emmet A. Dennis, whose sudden death in the United States of America was reported on March 7, 2022.
Also speaking at the exhibition, the dean of Liberia College, Prof. Dr. Josephus Moses Gray, said the college is committed to upholding the mandate of promoting innovation and creativity through departments and other units like the Department of Arts and Crafts under his deanship. “When we took over the mantle of leadership of the college you gave us a specific task that include encouraging creativity and innovation and we, in turn, passed on to our chairperson for action. Therefore, what we are witnessing by the department of Arts and Crafts is just five percent of the college’s activities to effectively execute that mandate”, Dr. Gray assured.
Earlier, the chairperson of the department of Arts of Crafts, Richard Mensah, said they consider it an honor to hold the exhibition and present the department as the front runner of the annual convocation and graduation exercises.
“This honor allows us to display our work of arts, showcase our talents as well as enhance the marketing of our department to the UL and the entire nation”, Mr. Mensah stated.
Mensah said knowledge of artworks can be used as a therapy to heal the sick, express emotions, communicate an idea, and also develop aesthetic concepts.
The arts and crafts exhibition showcased the handiwork of the faculty comprising different innovative skills and wealth of ideas in the sector.
Items on display at the exhibition included landscapes, still life composition, portraits, clothing and textiles, beads crafts, jewellery making, bag making, shoemaking, and interior decoration designs.
Four separate mosaics depicting the photos of Dr. Nelson, Dr. Taylor, Dr. Moses M. Zinnah, and Dr. Josephus M. Gray were presented to each one of them as appreciation for showing interest in the development of arts and crafts at the UL, according to Chairman Mensah.
Every commencement year the department showcases the handiworks of students and visiting artists.
The Department of Arts and Crafts was established under Liberia College in 1951, with the late Vanja Richards as its first Chairman.