Walk this way: A beginner’s guide to experiencing Nigerian art exhibitions

A world where creativity knows no bounds, where colours dance on canvas and sculptures whisper stories of the past and dreams of the future. Art exhibitions are not just displays of talent; they are windows into the souls of artists, inviting us to explore, interpret, and be inspired by the boundless expressions of human imagination.

Art exhibitions are events where artists display their works to the public. They can showcase various art forms, such as paintings, sculptures, photographs, installations, and more. These exhibitions provide artists a platform to share their creativity and ideas with a wider audience. Visitors can appreciate the art, learn about different styles and techniques, and discuss the displayed pieces. Art exhibitions are a way to enjoy art and provide opportunities for artists to connect, collaborate, and share ideas, fostering a sense of community within the art world.

The Nigerian art scene is vibrant and dynamic, reflecting the country’s rich cultural heritage and contemporary creativity. Over the years, Nigeria has emerged as a significant player in the global art community, with its artists gaining international acclaim. The blend of traditional and modern elements creates a unique and captivating artistic landscape that continues to evolve.

Some famous art exhibitions in Nigeria include the Lagos Biennial and Art X Lagos, organized by the Society of Nigerian Artists. These exhibitions provide a platform for Nigerian artists to showcase their talents and creativity, attracting local and international audiences. The art scene in Nigeria is vibrant and diverse, with these exhibitions playing a crucial role in promoting Nigerian art and artists on a global scale.

ART X Lagos

ART X Lagos is the premier international art fair in West Africa and a dynamic platform created to showcase and support contemporary culture from Africa and its diaspora. The fair, founded in 2016 by Tokini Peterside-Schwebig, has since become a cornerstone of the African art sector.

Image via Art X Lagos fair

ART X Lagos transcends conventional art fairs through its ambitious program, which features immersive experiences spanning music, film, design, and art that center the continent and diaspora’s exceptional talent, including keynote artists and speakers such as El Anatsui, Njideka Akunyili-Crosby, Yinka Shonibare CBE, Wangechi Mutu, Bruce Onobrakpeya, Ibrahim Mahama, and more.

ART X Lagos has become renowned for its ambitious program, which includes ART X Talks, a lively discussion series; ART X Live!, a one-of-a-kind music showcase; ART X Cinema – a film theatre; and specially curated projects. The fair’s annual award for emerging artists from Africa and its diaspora. The Access ART X Prize is the leading art prize in Nigeria, and it prepares its winners for the highest levels of success on the global stage. ART X Lagos is today a cornerstone of the African art sector, working as a transformative cultural catalyst committed to the redefinition of the African narrative.

Lagos Biennial

The Lagos Biennial emerged from a need to create an inclusive art event that transcends the traditional art market’s boundaries. Created and founded by artists in 2017, the Lagos Biennial is a not-for-profit contemporary art platform under the Àkéte Art Foundation, a Lagos-based artist collective registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission in Nigeria.

Image via Lagos Biennial

Through its activities, the Biennial privileges adventurous approaches to art-making, presentation, and critical discourse, aspiring to broach complex social and political problems, cultivate new publics, and establish fresh modes of engagement within the city throughout the country and internationally.

Its locality is intrinsic to the Biennial’s identity; it both centers Lagos as a site for producing avant-garde contemporary art narratives and specifically engages architectural sites in the city. The Biennial becomes both a gathering of artists and a work of art.

The Nigerian Art Exhibition scene and its prospects

The Nigerian artistic sector is a vibrant and diverse area with much potential and promise for the future. The industry has shown resilience and adaptability when facing challenges and uncertainties. It has demonstrated its capacity and capability to produce innovative works that reflect and represent the Nigerian spirit and culture. The domain has contributed to the global recognition and appreciation of Nigerian art.

However, the sector also faces obstacles and limitations that hinder its growth and progress, such as lack of funding, infrastructure, regulation, and education. These challenges must be addressed and resolved with the collaboration and support of various stakeholders, such as the government, the private sector, civil society, and the international community. By doing so, the Nigerian artistic industry can achieve its full potential and become a leading and influential force in the art world. The industry

Art exhibitions play a crucial role in showcasing Nigerian talent, offering a platform for artists to display their work. These events attract art lovers, critics, and collectors worldwide, significantly boosting Nigerian artists’ visibility and highlighting their creativity, resilience, and versatility.

Image via Navi

The art galleries promoting Nigerian art with amazing exhibitions

  • KO Art Space, Lagos
  • Nike Art Gallery, Lagos & Abuja
  • Thought Pyramid Art Centre, Abuja
  • Yemisi Shyllon Museum of Art, Lagos
  • Orusin Art Gallery, Abuja
  • Art Twenty One, Lagos


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