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. We provide a platform for emerging and established contemporary artists, with an emphasis on African art. Through a range of outlets such as exhibitions, art fairs, intercultural dialogues and our online media. Our ethos is centred around a desire to spread awareness and encourage a cycle of growth and learning within the African art scene.
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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In conversation with Williams Chechet, the artist shares deep insight into his practice and inspirations. Working as a curator in Lagos, I pay keen attention to emerging and established artists who use technology to facilitate new ways of thinking. My first encounter with Chechet’s work was in 2017 at his debut solo exhibition. His upward trajectory is evident as I now speak to him at a point where he has clearly harnessed the power of technology and art.
‘Hyperflux’, a solo exhibition by Nigerian artist Williams Chechet which opened on December 11th 2020, is currently showing at Retro Africa in Nigeria’s capital Abuja. Featuring twenty-eight works, the exhibition is a comprehensive display of his artistic practice spanning two decades. Chechet is known for his vibrant images, animated with portraits of Nigeria political, traditional leaders and cultural iconography that resonate with references in pop art by Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat.
‘Hyperflux’ emulates beauty in distortion and shows the artist’s ability to meticulously execute artworks that merge figuration, abstraction, motif design, as well as selected images that encompass lifestyle, text, design, architecture, nature and heritage. The works featured in the exhibition are centred on the theme of self-identity and are oddly reminiscent of the work of artist Roy Lichtenstein. Chechet creates a visual distortion while simultaneously keeping the illusion of coherence in the observed image, which speaks to a sense of character and identity.