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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For me, it was really important for us to come to Hong Kong for our debut with Art Basel,” Retro Africa founder Dolly Kola-Balogun told Galerie. “Of course, the easiest thing would be to go to Basel Miami or Basel Basel, but I feel that contemporary African art, which is taking off globally, needs representation in the Asian market. There has been very little focus on this market.” Kola-Balogun says she also wants to foster dialogue and exchange between Africa and Asia.
The Nigerian American artist is debuting rosary tapestries at Art Basel Hong Kong this month. The works examine the disappearance of historical memory.
The Institute of Contemporary African Art & Film (ICAAF) in Ilorin, Nigeria, is to be a purpose-built cultural museum of visual and cinematic arts, with post-production studios, facilities and screening room, art galleries and studio workshop. The foundation of ICAAF marks a historically significant moment in Nigeria as the first visual art institution of international significance in Nigeria. ICAAF is founded under the advisory of Dolly Kola-Balogun, Founder and Creative Director of Retro Africa gallery and Co-Founder of Atelier Hotels, Dolly is the first Gallery Director to successfully plan and execute a visual art institution of this significance in Nigeria from the ground up. The project is currently on site at 60% completion and set to launch in spring 2022.