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.
Nigeria has been the cultural powerhouse of West Africa for decades, but now its makers have begun to receive attention on the global stage. The country's artists are reaching fresh audiences through the five-year-old Art X Lagos fair each fall and at expos overseas, while performers such as Wizkid and Burna Boy are bagging Grammys Stateside with their infectious Afrobeats. Nigeria's enormous film industry, a.k.a. Nollywood, is also receiving international acclaim. Here's a snapshot of the scene right now.
The Kwara State has revealed that the Institute of Contemporary African Art & Film (ICAAF) is 60 percent complete and scheduled to launch in Nigeria in spring 2022. ICAAF is a purpose-built museum for visual and cinematic arts in Ilorin, featuring post-production studios, a film screening room and lecture hall, and co-working spaces. The museum will house art galleries for curated exhibitions, as well as a café, sculpture garden, and bookshop selling books about art, culture, film and architecture.
THE COLLECTORS aren’t coming to Abuja—I have to go to them,” Dolly Kola-Balogun, founder of Retro Africa, told me at the opening of the ninth edition of 1-54 Contemporary Art Fair in London at her booth, where she was showing Tyna Adebowale. Her prices, she explained as we discussed the shrinking collector base in Nigeria, are pegged to the dollar, which the Nigerian naira is increasingly weak against. “If I want my artists to be well-known and reckoned with, I have to travel.”
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.
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.
“Changing Faces: New Frontiers in Figurative Art”, a solo contemporary art exhibition by Alimi Adewale is set to hold from April 30 to June 25, 2021 at the Retro African Gallery 12 Ukpabi Asika Street, Asokoro Abuja.
Founder and creative director of Retro Africa, a gallery in Abuja, Nigeria, Dolly Kola-Balogun is also a hotelier and a champion of artists from across Africa. Working with those at the forefront of art across the continent, Dolly is working as a consultant for the Kwara State government too, helping to create a new contemporary art institution that will open at the end of this year and which is set to be on par with Zeitz MOCAA.
Le vernissage de l’exposition inaugurale de « Western Africa Art » s’est tenu, jeudi 25 février 2021, à la Galerie Medina de Bamako. Cette exposition scelle le début d’une collaboration entre la Galerie Medina de Bamako (Mali) et la galerie Retro Africa d’Abuja (Nigeria), en vue d’une intégration « artistique ».
“I love colors. […] I really like bright colors,” professes Nigerian artist Williams Chechet. It is a long-running love story dating back to his childhood before his memory of such love was even formed. “My mum,” he continued, “told me I was really attracted to bright lights.” Forty years on, his artistic practice is a testament to his unwavering love of colors, but it is also about a lot more.
Dolly Kola-Balogun, although only 27 years old, is an impressive person from the second we speak to her. A gallerist, hotelier and entrepreneur, she describes herself as always having been the youngest person in the room, but not in a negative way. Calling in from Abidjan, Ivory Coast, she tells The Sybarite all about her quest to scout the African continent for artistic talent, the importance position art has in social movements worldwide and the advice she has for young people trying to make it on their own.
Williams Chechet’s solo ‘Hyperflux’ exhibition, which runs until the 14th of March, currently showing at Retro Africa in Nigeria’s capital Abuja, embodies the meaning of being African in a modern context. Vibrant pops of colour are layered with images of pop culture, Nigerian symbols, politics, and tribal leaders.
The Nigerian art wizard's 2020 exhibit interrogates both the history and politics in Africa.
Williams Chechet is one of the Nigeria’s rising stars, and if his latest exhibition is anything to go by, there are big things ahead for him.
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.
The market for modern and contemporary African art has steadily grown for the last few years. The success of the 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair—whose latest, online-only edition opened earlier this month
Henri Abraham Univers “No pinto para decorar. Estoy tratando de transmitir un mensaje”, defiende Henri Abraham Univers en la web de la 1:54.
The leading international art fair dedicated to contemporary art from Africa and its diaspora, 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair has held annual editions in London since 2013, New York since 2015 and Marrakech since 2018.
From a purely statistical standpoint, Lagos seems like a perfect destination for an art fair. It is the largest city in Nigeria, a country that is home to more black billionaires than any other
Talking about his work at the 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair in New York, French-born artist Henri Abraham Univers said he uses a series of repeating elements that unify his paintings
Gallery list announced for sixth London edition of the fair. 43 galleries from across Europe, Africa, the Middle East and North America
Retro Africa has since inception in 2015, become a home for contemporary art from Africa and her related Diaspora, through its representation of emerging and established artists.
This is the Golden Age of contemporary African art. This is our renaissance...
Fledgling local client base and rising international interest fuel Cape Town and Marrakech shows
The role of the gallerist is one of the most important within the art world. A complex mix of unabashed adoration for the artworks and business savvy, as a career choice it’s a passion as much as a vocation
Going down this weekend, we spoke to founder and Director of ART X Lagos about her mission to make Nigeria an art hotspot
My experience of the 1-54 contemporary African art fair mostly consists of being awed by all the beauty contained within that (relatively) small building in Red Hook