Retro Africa is a contemporary art gallery based in Abuja, Nigeria, that was created in 2015 as a community of art enthusiasts, curators and collectors, headed by founder and creative director Dolly Kola-Balogun.
Retro Africa's curatorial program continues to highlight the depth and breadth of contemporary African art within Nigeria and the international art scene. With an emphasis on exhibitions, international art fairs and intra-gallery curatorial collaborations in cities such as New York, Cape Town, Marrakech, Lagos and London, our ethos is centred on a desire to explore local stories, re- contextualise the African individual in the modern era, retrieve lost communitarian heritage and highlight the ever overlooked African narrative within history and within the afro-futuristic imagination Our aim is to spread awareness and encourage a cycle of growth and learning within African art in our quest to provide a platform for emerging and established contemporary artists.
Retro Africa equally organises public outreach programs, workshops and residencies in collaboration with our partners in the industry, aimed at sensitising the younger generation to the merits of visual arts, their career options and potential global influence.
These established and emerging artists are contributing to the remarkable evolution of the continent’s creative industry. Africa’s contemporary art scene is being paved by an extraordinary list of ingenious creatives whose aesthetic, innovation and intellect has shaped the industry for a future generation. Through visual arts they have been empowered to interpret and portray Africa’s socio-political realities, economic challenges, rich history, traditions and diverse beauty, these leading and emerging artists continue to influence the evolution of contemporary art in Africa.
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Joining Nikki Bedi for The Arts Hour this week are British film critic Catherine Bray and Nigerian artist Williams Chechet who has been described as the African Andy Warhol
The Sahel’s like a superhighway. Next stop’s Northern Nigeria, the Hausa heartlands where local custom and long-haul commerce make centuries-old trade-offs. Consider its foundational myth. A hero named Bayajidda, appears, saves Daura’s matriarchal state from the great snake, Sarki, and marries its queen, Magajiya Daurama. Bayajidda’s seven sons, in turn, found the North’s seven Hausa Bakwai states. Hausaland’s artistic and cultural heritage is a web of allusion, but those strands that tie it to the past intersect on an axis with the collage and pastiche of intercultural exchange. Even Bayajidda, as an exiled prince from Baghdad, was engrafted to the soil where later dynasties grew from his root. William Chechet, a Lagos-based pop artist, uses Hausa cultural iconographies to explore similar intertextualities of contemporary Nigerian life, reimagining Africa’s friction between longstanding cultural traditions and global mass culture.