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Celebrating International Women’s Day: Meet 7 Art Professionals Disrupting the Industry

Celebrating Women's Day with Influential Curators, Gallerists, and Art Consultants


In celebration of International Women's Day, we are highlighting seven of these remarkable female disruptors who are reshaping the future of African art. These visionary women are pushing boundaries, challenging norms, and significantly impacting the art industry.



 

1. Aindrea Emelife


Aindrea Emelife is a London-based curator and art historian, Emelife champions the work of underrepresented artists and challenges historical narratives through acclaimed exhibitions like "Black Venus." Appointed as the Mayor of London’s Commission for Diversity in the Public Realm in 2021, Emelife is currently the Curator, Modern and Contemporary at MOWAA (Museum of West African Art) and the curator of the Nigeria Pavilion at the 2024 Venice Biennale.


Aindrea Emelife, photographed by Jordan Tiberio.
Aindrea Emelife, photographed by Jordan Tiberio.

 

2. Dolly Kola-balogun


Dolly Kola-balogun is the Gallerist, Founder and Creative Director of Retro Africa - a platform and gallery for contemporary art in Abuja, Nigeria. Holding a degree in Politics, Religion, and Society from King's College London, she has dedicated herself to promoting contemporary art.


Retro Africa earned a reputation as a gallery of international repute and a pioneer in the contemporary Nigerian art scene when it opened its new building in 2019. Under the guidance of the late curator Bisi Silva, Dolly forged an inter-gallery partnership with Igo Diarra, Director and curator of Galerie Medina, to bridge the linguistic divide between Anglophone and Francophone West Africa. Today, it forms an integral part of Retro Africa's curatorial program.


A portrait of Dolly Kola-Blaogun | Courtesy of Retro Africa
A portrait of Dolly Kola-Blaogun | Courtesy of Retro Africa

Dolly Kola-Balogun's curatorial career has seen many notable milestones, including the 2017 Documenta 14 quinquennial in Kassel and Athens, where she worked with Igo Diarra to curate two special project exhibitions, "Learning From Timbuktu" and "Proud and Well." Additionally, Dolly co-owns Atelier Hotels and Pavilion Restaurant, where she serves as one of the Directors.

 

3. Adora Mba


Adora Mba is the founder and director of ADA\ contemporary art gallery in Accra, Ghana. The gallery represents emerging artists across Africa and its diaspora. Mba's commitment to nurturing Ghana's contemporary art community and fostering its global influence has made ADA\ a vital platform for young creatives. In the past, she has worked with Sir David Adjaye’s firm - Adjaye Architects, Gallery 1957 and Ghana’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism.


Adora Mba, 2020. Courtesy: ADA \ Contemporary; photograph: Daniel Cole Ofoe Amegavie.
Adora Mba, 2020. Courtesy: ADA \ Contemporary; photograph: Daniel Cole Ofoe Amegavie.


 

4. Kami Gahiga


Kami Gahiga, Head of VIP & Gallery Relations at 1-54, is a London-based art advisor and curator. She provides tailored art advisory services to private collectors, companies, and institutions. Gahiga's expertise lies in the global art market and the African art scene. She holds a First Distinction Master's degree in Art Business from the Sotheby's Institute of Art and frequently contributes to art publications and talks.





 

5. Oyinkansola Dada


Nigerian-born lawyer Oyinkansola Dada launched Dada Gallery and Dada Magazine to shine a spotlight on contemporary Black artists who explore topics like migration, sexuality and gender. The three-year-old bootstrapped London gallery has shown at contemporary art fairs from Lagos to Paris and its 25-artist roster includes Samson Bakare, who was selected to redesign Gucci's iconic Bamboo 1947 bag, and Slawn, who designed the 2023 Brits Award.


Pictured: Nigerian lawyer and gallerist Oyinkansola Dada Image courtesy of Oyinkansola Dada/Okra Agency
Pictured: Nigerian lawyer and gallerist Oyinkansola Dada Image courtesy of Oyinkansola Dada/Okra Agency

 


6. Helene Love-Allotey


Helene Love-Allotey is the Head of Sales and Specialist for the Modern and Contemporary African Art department at Bonhams. With a background in Oriental and African Studies from SOAS, Love-Allotey has played a crucial role in expanding Bonhams' dedicated auctions for Modern and Contemporary African Art. Having been hosted on Katy Hessel's 'The Great Women Artists' podcast, Love-Allotey is passionate about including more women at auction and has curated themed exhibitions focusing on female artists. 



Helene Love-Allotey, Head of the Modern & Contemporary African Department at Bonhams.
Helene Love-Allotey, Head of the Modern & Contemporary African Department at Bonhams.

 


7.  Tosin Adeosun


Tosin Adeosun 2021 - Photography by Krystal Neuvill
Tosin Adeosun 2021 - Photography by Krystal Neuvill


London-based researcher, curator, and consultant, Tosin Adeosun, specializes in the culture, art, and fashion history of the African diaspora. She leads projects for East Africa at Google Arts & Culture and is the founder of African Style Archive, a digital platform dedicated to documenting African fashion history. Adeosun's work focuses on unearthing and documenting narratives of Africa and the diaspora through photography, art, and moving images.