HISTORY OF THE DEPARTMENT
Fine and Applied Arts started as an elective course in the Department of Architecture, in the year 1988 with Mr.A.U Okpara as the Unit Head with one lecturer teaching the courses. In 1992, 5 (five) more members of staff were appointed to teach B.A Education/Fine Arts in Regular and Sandwich programmes.
In 1997 the faculty system was introduced in the University to replace the then exiting collegiate system. There was therefore, the need to create more Departments. Then, the Department of Fine and Applied Arts was created in the academic year of 2000/2001, with 3 (three) members of staff. Reverend Madubuike, E. was appointed the Acting Head of the Department which started with the first batch of students. By the 2004/2005 admissions, the Department got her fourth batch of students with the staff strength of 6 (six). Since then, the number of students admitted into the Department has been steadily on the increase.
In 2004, the Department got interim accreditation during the first N.U.C Accreditation visitation team.
In 2005, one year Remedial programme of Fine and Applied Arts was introduced in the Department for those students who have no basic qualification in Fine and Applied Arts.
In 2006, the Department got an approval of a site to be beautified with art works as relaxation or Tourist Park. The open space was labeled “SCULPURE GARDEN”.
In 2007, Professor C. S. Okeke was appointed substantive Head of the Department and soon after within the same year the Department received the NUC. full Accreditation.
In 2009, a one story befitting structure was erected specially for the Department to take care of her peculiar needs with regards to her five areas of specialization available to students to choose from. Apart from staff offices and lecture rooms, separate studios for each of the specialized courses, such as Textile and Fashion Design, Graphics or Visual Communication Design, painting, Sculpture, Ceramics, as well as general life Drawing and painting Studios, where life male/female models pose. In addition to the above, laboratories for photographic works and preparation of screens for textile printing are provided for. Outside the building is a spacious ground for outdoor practical sketching, drawing, painting and for the display of selected sculpture pieces, among other activities of aesthetic interest,
At the end of the 2009 academic session, the total number of academic staff was thirteen, while that of the non academic staff was two.
The Departmental curriculum has been re-designed to produce graduates that are proficient and highly self-reliant in their various chosen areas of specialization and are capable of contributing significantly towards the industrialization of Abia State and Nigeria.
It is penitent to mention here that the Department got full accreditation again in 2014/2015, academic session. Presently, the Head of the Department is Dr. M.M. Nzeako and the Dean of the faculty is Professor G.N. Chima.
The fine and Applied Arts programme is designed to stimulate visual creativity through the manipulation of forms and materials and provide a quality education for students who seek to be professionally career artists. The programme recorganizes the values of Fine and Applied Arts as a vehicle for aesthetic, cultural and technological development.
- To train professional artists with powerful visual conceptualization to generate ideas and skillfully express them dimensionally.
- To lead and encourage students to use their creative skills to enhance their independence and quality of living.
- To establish a good balance between practical and courses for artists who would be visually and culturally literate.
- To enable national productivity and development of new process through research in local materials.
- To serve as a source of inspiration to artist, schools, industries and the entire nation through occasional workshops, seminars, exhibitions and art consultancies.
INNOVATIONS INTRODUCED IN THE DEPARTMENT OF FINE AND APPLIED ARTS
In order to give opportunity to students who are desirous of studying Fine and Applied Arts as a discipline in the University but are not qualified for admission into the regular degree programme because of their defieciency in Art at credit level in their GCE (O’level) or WASC etc, the Department introduced a one-year remedial undergraduate programme for such candidates, in which the first year is spent on teaching them basic courses in Fine and Applied Arts. At the end of that year they are examined. Students who pass are then admitted into the regular 100 level of the normal 4-year programme for the B.A degree.
Many Nigerian Secondary schools do not have qualified Fine Art graduate teachers on their staff. Those that have may engage only one Art teacher in the school, which makes the teaching of art very ineffective, thereby denying many students interested in the subject, the opportunity of offering the subject in their SSC Examination or G.C.E etc. it is based on the above situation that the remedial programme became very necessary.
In order to prepare our students for the job market after graduation, the Department in 2007/2008 session introduced a full day study-visit, to any industry relevant to the various areas of specializations for students in the Fine and Applied Arts. These include Painting, sculpture, Graphic, Textile, and Ceramics.
The Department formed a consultancy service in 2008/2009 session, which received the approval of the Vice-Chancellor. To make the consultancy service officially reorganized, the Vice-Chancellor issued an official circular to all Deans, HODs and Directors of the Units directing that all art works meant for permanent display on any of the University’s grounds or in any of the University’s public buildings, sponsors of such projects must commission them for execution on the Department of Fine and Applied Arts for professional handling and display.
PROJECTS UNDERTAKEN BY THE DEPARTMENT OF FINE AND APPLIED ARTS
The Department has in the past, carried out a number of projects executed by some members of staff with the assistance of our undergraduate students as exemplified by some sculptural pieces mounted at strategic points of the University. Most of such works were executed before the formation of the aforementioned consultancy service establish in 2008/2009 session. However, from the time the University Administration recognized our consultancy service by the issuance of the above mentioned circular by the vice-chancellor, we have carried out the following projects for the University:
- The multiple bold relief letters along the front perimeter wall fence of the University, amplifying the name of the University and its location.
- The University’s name, with her Logo and Motto superimposed in bold relief on the main entrance gate into the main campus of the University.
- Large portraits of some principal officers of the University as well in the society were executed by the Department.
PROSPECTS FOR THE FUTURE OF THE DEPARTMENT OF FINE AND APPLIED ARTS
A postgraduate for master’s and doctorate degrees, respectively have been drawn and scrutinized by the Departmental Board for onward dispatch to the senate curriculum committee through our Faculty Board for approval to enable the Department embark on the programme from the 2012/2013 session, but this was delayed due to the relevant modification on the programme. We hope to start soon.
The Department has also concluded plans to organise a National Conference that will take place in this University in due course.
Dr. M.M. Nzeako
Head, Dept. of Fine & Applied Arts
February 8th, 2016