LAGOS- This month’s Art Around features the Nigerian capital, Lagos. We teamed up with Jodar Artistry owner, Raida Shahin, who lived there for many years to take us on an art tour around the city. Since her move back from Lagos in the 1990’s, the local art scene there has exploded from the traditional into the more contemporary and experimental work. In the last few decades, there have been significant changes due to a new wave of activities buzzing within the industry. New auction houses, art residencies and art fairs were established making Lagos one of the most vibrant art cities in the entire West African region. 

Here we will be listing Shahin’s top suggestions of must-see art venues in Lagos, combined with some of our own:

Shahin with auction representative at Arthouse Contemporary Ltd.

Arthouse Contemporary Ltd.  is an auction house that was founded in 2007. It specializes in modern and contemporary art from west Africa. It aims to create awareness of the scope of contemporary art in the region, encourage international recognition towards its talented artists and strengthen the economy of the art market in Nigeria. The auction house was founded by Kavita Chellaram, a woman who transformed the art Market in Nigeria. She is a great supporter of art and artists and is also a collector. Her meticulous research in art auction houses has led her to numerous African masters, like Ben Enwonwu, Kolade Oshinowo, Bruce Onobrakpe.

Shahin outside the Mydrim Gallery, and interior view of gallery (from websote)

Established in 1992, Mydrim Gallery focuses on highlighting local talents. Their collection includes work from both established and emerging Nigerian artists and the gallery considered a hotspot for collectors looking to expand their African art collections.

The Universal Art Studio:

In progress sculptures by local Nigerian artists at the Universal Studio

Based in the center of Lagos city, in the campus of the national theater. Upon arrival, the name of the studio is boldly written on the high fence blocking the view to the inside. But once the gates open, a complex of rooms is seen. Artists working on masterpieces invade the open-air studio. The artists work regardless of the  simple environment and primitive resources available. The open air studio is filled with sculptures from different mediums including wood, clay, iron and above all recycled materials.

Ben Enwonwu’s work ‘Tutu’ displayed at the Bonham’s auction

The sale of Ben Enwonwu’s work ‘Tutu’ -dubbed as the African Mona Lisa at the Bonham’s auction is the latest sign that Nigerian art has arrived on the international scene. Interest is booming both locally and internationally. It cannot be said that Nigeria has reached the top yet, but there are prospects of significant leaps within the world art community. The Bonham’s Auction is based in Ikoyi, Nigeria. It offers collectables from over 60 different categories and provide estimations on auction sales for paintings, sculptures, jewelry and even motor mobiles.

Interior view of gallery (courtesy of website)

Established by renowned Nigerian textile designer and artist Chief Oyenike Monica Okundaye. The gallery is considered the largest in the country, and pays tribute to the nation’s cultural arts and crafts by exhibiting works for sale, as well as hosting workshops year-long. The gallery stands five storeys above the ground and is tattooed with local and traditional art all over.

Photo provided by: rele Gallery website

With two locations across Nigeria, Rele gallery is considered the hippest art venue amongst the younger art generation. The gallery hosts emerging artists and regular art salons. Their events are hotspots for networking and getting involved in the local buzzing art scene.

Interior view of Art Twenty One gallery (courtesy of website)

Established in 2015, Art Twenty One stands on around 600 sqm of space. The gallery hosts emerging contemporary art by both local and international artists, and thanks to its big exhibition space, audience members are left to explore and engage with Art Twenty One’s events in quite a unique and unforgettable manner.

Interior view of Signature Beyond Art courtesy of website

Signature Beyond Art was established in 1992 and focuses on showcasing African Art. The gallery has since expanded and shows African furniture, accessories, architectural and interior designs. The gallery also hosts a virtual tour on their website.

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All images courtesy indicated in captions.