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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Retro Africa: Do This in Memory of Us features three Black artists, Chéri Samba, Nate Lewis and Ehikhamenor, and is curated by Retro Africa gallery owner Dolly Kola-Balogun. Three Black artists, African and African American, explore common lineage and traditions.
The 27-year-old founder of Retro Africa talks about her expansion plans and how she is helping to build a contemporary art scene in Nigeria. It was a happy accident that led Dolly Kola-Balogun to enter the art world. Born in the UK but raised in Nigeria, Kola-Balogun studied political science and sociology at universities in Boston and London.
With the biggest urban population in Nigeria, its Nollywood film industry, and local celebrities such as Grammy-award winner Wizkid, Lagos is typically the Nigerian city that receives the most global attention. However, with a new generation of creative entrepreneurs returning to Abuja, Nigeria’s capital, the spotlight is starting to widen. At the centre of this change is Dolly Kola-Balogun, co-founder and creative director of Retro Africa gallery and Atelier Hotels.