art

7 Must-Visit Art Galleries in Lagos

5 mins read

Art can be described as the spice of life, that which adds flavour to life and little wonder it has drawn the interest of a lot of people, artists, art-enthusiasts, and non-artists. An art gallery is a room or building for the display of art works. 

Lagos houses notable art galleries where you can satisfy your curiosity, explore your interests and buy incredible art works. Here are 7 art galleries you must visit in Lagos:

Nike Art Gallery

The Nike Art Gallery in Lagos, Nigeria, is a hidden gem that showcases the rich tapestry of African art and craftsmanship. Situated in Lekki, Lagos, this remarkable four-story building houses both an art gallery and a textile museum, boasting an impressive collection of over 7,000 pieces. Founded by the renowned artist and designer Nike Davies Okundaye in 2009, the Nike Art Gallery is a prominent institution in West Africa, dedicated to preserving and promoting traditional African art and craft.

The Art Centre exposes you to the diverse talents of Nigerian artists, offering a captivating insight into the myriad cultures of Nigeria through the medium of art. You might actually need a whole 24 hours to explore a great extent of the magnificence of this gallery making it an ideal destination for art enthusiasts. Moreover, the gallery is open seven days a week and frequently hosts art exhibitions, workshops, and cultural events that could satisfy your interest. 

Again, if you are seeking hands-on experience, Nike offers art courses, providing the opportunity to tap into your own creativity under her guidance. Additionally, you can embark on week-long retreats organised by Nike Tours, taking you to locations such as Osun state (Osogbo), Kogi state (Ogidi), and Abuja. During these retreats, guests can stay in Nike’s guesthouses and immerse themselves in the creation of traditional African crafts like adire, batik, indigo dyeing, beadwork, painting, and carving.

Nike Art Centre is not only an impressive gallery but also a must-visit destination for anyone interested in African art and craftsmanship. 

One interesting fact about this cultural haven is that entry is FREE.

Omenka Gallery

Omenka gallery is a leading art gallery in Nigeria. This gallery was founded in 2003 by Nigerian Artist and Curator, Oliver Enwonwu, son of renowned artist and painter, Late Ben Enwonwu and is currently located in the former Enwonwu home, Ikoyi, Lagos. Omenka Gallery holds a diverse collection of the late artist’s work while showcasing the great works of established and emerging artists in the country including works  of Abass Kelani, Cedric Nunn, Ima Mfon, among others. It excels in showcasing Nigerian 20th century and contemporary art.

The gallery actively ensures a sustainable presence for Nigerian and African art within a larger global context by frequently taking part in major international art events such as Art Dubai in the UAE, The Armory Show in New York, the Joburg Art Fair, the Cape Town Art Fair, Cologne Paper Art, LOOP in Barcelona, the London Art Fair, and the 1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair in London.

Additionally, Omenka provides you with a range of advisory services, including appraisals, collections management, training and professional development, art finance, as well as industry reports and due diligence.

Entry into this gallery is Free.

African Artists Foundation (AAF)

If you’re looking for a vibrant hub of creativity in Lagos, look no further than the African Artists Foundation (AAF). It is one of Lagos’s biggest arts homes and it is situated in the heart of Victoria Island. AAF displays an enriching world of art and culture that you won’t want to miss.

AAF was formed as a non-profit in 2007 and is largely dedicated to providing Nigerian and international artists with a creative platform. It is dedicated to the promotion of African art, artists, and social development in Nigeria. As a visitor, you are exposed to talents of emerging artists like Ayanfe Olarinde, David Palacios, Johnson Ocheja, Isshaq Ismail, and many more.

AAF organises two flagship projects each year that are sure to captivate you: the renowned Lagos Photo Festival and the esteemed National Art Competition. These events showcase the very best in contemporary art, offering you a chance to witness the next generation of artistic talent.

In addition to these captivating exhibitions and competitions, AAF hosts engaging temporary exhibitions such as  “Water and Purity” from their “Female Artists 2012” series and “Metahistories,” Obinna Makata’s first solo exhibition that offers unique perspectives and artistic journeys that you won’t find anywhere else.

The Foundation also hosts community workshops and programs in order to increase the awareness of art and culture in the Nigerian society. 

Entry into this gallery is also Free.

Tiwani Contemporary

Tiwani Contemporary, best known for contemporary art works, is situated in Elsie Femi Pearse Street on Victoria Island. It is one of Lagos’s newest additions to its collection of art galleries as it was opened in February 2022. 

Tiwani is often regarded as a “diasporic consult” seeing as it represents contemporary artists from across the African diaspora.

The gallery actively hosts Art Connect, a dynamic and innovative public program of events, panel discussions, and curated projects at the gallery. They collaborate with partners in London and across the UK to create this annual program, which they develop in partnership with The Centre for Contemporary Art, Lagos. The A.G. Leventis Foundation also provides valuable support for this initiative. Tiwani Contemporary aims to present the works of emerging and established artists to a London institutional, corporate, and collector base through solo, group, and thematic exhibitions. Entry into this gallery is free. However, they do not operate on Sundays and Mondays.

Kó Art Space

Kó is an art space located at Cameron Road, Ikoyi, Lagos and is dedicated to promoting Modern and contemporary art. It was launched by Kavita Chellaram, an art collector and founder of Arthouse Contemporary in Lagos, Nigeria. Kó actively champions Lagos’ foremost artists from the modern era, featuring luminaries such as Ben Enwonwu and Bruce Onobrakpeya. Simultaneously, the gallery fervently celebrates emerging and established contemporary artists hailing from Africa and the diaspora, a roster that includes Peju Alatise, Edozie Anedu, Stephen Tayo, and many more. Despite its small size, Kó stands out as one of the most captivating galleries in Lagos. Its unique art deco interior exudes character, providing a spacious open-plan layout with expansive windows that create a tranquil and inviting ambiance. This exceptional setting allows you to immerse yourself in Kó’s extensive collection of contemporary art. Entry is Free.

Affinity Art Gallery

Affinity Art Gallery is another treasure that sits within the confines of Victoria Island. It is best known for contemporary art and shares its passion for promoting African Artists to an international audience. Opened in 2020, the gallery has been dedicated to bringing the great talents of emerging and mid-career artists to light and in recent times, has also been involved in providing a public education programme for schools in the country. 

The gallery houses the works of some of the youngest and brightest in Lagos, including Donna Duke, Chiagozie Obi, and Adaeze Okaro. 

Affinity is presently hosting a group exhibition titled “Desire Lines,” which showcases the work of four emerging artists from Nigeria and South Africa. This exhibition marks the culmination of the gallery’s inaugural open call for emerging artists, initiated at the start of 2022. 

Its interest in emerging and growing artists makes it a perfect ground for art enthusiasts, aspiring artists and developing artists. Entry is also free.

Ogirikan Gallery

Looking for a gallery where you would not just feed your eyes and satisfy your art cravings but also purchase artworks for aesthetic purposes at an affordable price? Ogirikan gallery is the place to visit. With a firm belief in the necessity of having art in every household, this gallery provides quality yet affordable contemporary art for interested persons. Situated in Ikoyi, Ogirikan offers a conducive environment for you to immerse yourself in their 1000-piece collection.

The gallery primarily offers medium and miniature format paintings and drawings created by emerging artists. Additionally, it hosts a miniature art fair that is highly recommended for exploration.

Entry is free, however exhibitions are to be paid for. 

Summing It Up

To sum it up, Lagos, as busy as it gets and as rowdy as it could be, holds a good number of art galleries for art lovers, artists and the general public. These seven galleries would satisfy your curiosity, meet your aesthetic needs, and take you on an unforgettable journey in the art space at little to no cost as entry into these galleries are free. Take your time, decide a date, and explore these beautiful art havens while in the city of Lagos. 

 

Mercy Johnson
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