8 Lagos Art Galleries To Be Familiar With

Top Lists, Art Destinations in Focus, Galleries in Focus

May 3, 2021

Over the years, Nigeria has developed as the continental hub for creativity and talent. This is not surprising, as the country has a long fine art tradition, with seminal 1950s art schools challenging and subverting European modernist styles and conventions by adopting visual cues rooted in Igbo and Yoruba traditions.

In recent years, Nigeria’s contemporary art scene has gained global recognition, leading to a renewed interest in cultivating and supporting modern and contemporary art in the country. Africa's most populous city known for its diverse culture, Lagos is now staking a claim globally as a contemporary art destination. This status was re-enforced with the founding of the ART X Lagos fair in 2016, the first commercial fair of its kind in West Africa. Designed to showcase the best and most innovative contemporary and modern art from the African continent and its Diaspora, it welcomes over 40,000 visitors, which indicates Lagos’ position as a fast-emerging and exciting cultural hub.

A sprawling megacity, Lagos has a generation of artists, gallerists and collectors powering the scene. In 2021, the city will be richer for an artist residency space launched by the British-Nigerian artist Yinka Shonibare with a mission to provide opportunities for creative and cultural exchange for African and international artists. Titled Guest Artists Space (G.A.S) Foundation, the residency will also open in Lekki and a farm in Ijebu about two and a half hours from Lagos.

However, the city already has so much to offer in terms of the arts.

Here are some of the best Lagos art galleries to check out!

Featured image: Art Twenty One, courtesy of the gallery.

Art Twenty One

Located at the Eko Hotel & Suites in Victoria Island, Art Twenty One is a space and platform dedicated to contemporary art, aimed at solidifying the growing art scene in Lagos. Spanning 600 square meters, the space is designed to make art accessible to a large and growing audience.

Art Twenty One presents and promotes international contemporary art, as well as serves as a catalyst for contemporary art projects and for the interaction of local and international cultural players. It also provides support to local and regional contemporary artists, helping them grow and giving them the tools to position themselves in the local, regional, and international art sphere.

Featured image: Art Twenty One, courtesy of the gallery.

POLARTICS

POLARTICS started in 2015 as a blog for African culture and politics, centered on engaging a younger audience. Over the years, the concept has evolved into an online art gallery, with occasional pop-up exhibitions. The pop-ups provide them the space to think outside the box and be creative.

POLARTICS represents exciting emerging artists from Africa and its diaspora, exploring wide ranging themes such as youth, identity, sexuality and socio-economic issues. Dedicated to amplifying young voices, they invite the public to critically engage with its artists. The gallery is known for being more experimental in its approach to curating and representing young and diverse voices.

Featured image: Polartics at the 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair, courtesy of the gallery.

SMO Contemporary Art

Conceived as an international art platform, SMO Contemporary Art showcases a unique portfolio of modern and contemporary art from Africa and the Diaspora to a global audience.

Dedicated to artists of all generations who have been instrumental in shaping West Africa's contemporary art canon and establishing a unique narrative of the continent, they host exhibitions at diverse and unconventional gallery spaces, often affiliated to ecosystems of design, fashion and hospitality. In this way, SMO Contemporary Art seeks to engage with large and heterogenous audiences. Their rich and diverse roster includes Adeyinka Akingbade, Ibe Ananaba, Nii Obodai, Nnenna Okore, Kelani Abass, Billy Omabegho and Ranti Bam.

Featured image: SMO Contemporay Art, courtesy of the gallery.