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EMOWAA appoints Professor Chike Okeke-Agulu and Aindrea Emelife as Special Adviser, Curator


Portraits of Chike Okeke-Agulu (Left) & Aindrea Emelife (Right)

The EMOWAA (Edo Museum of West African Art) Trust has announced the appointments of two distinguished art pioneers to strengthen its focus on modern and contemporary art. Professor Chika Okeke-Agulu, a Nigerian art historian and professor at Princeton University and Oxford University, will serve as Senior Advisor, Modern and Contemporary Art. Aindrea Emelife, a Nigerian-British curator and Forbes 30 Under 30 honoree, will be the new Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art.


Professor Okeke-Agulu is a critic and scholar who specialises in indigenous, modern and contemporary African and African diaspora art history and theory. He has co-organised several exhibitions around the world, such as El Anatsui: Triumphant Scale at Haus der Kunst in Munich (2019) and Who Knows Tomorrow at National galerie in Berlin (2010). He is also the author of several books, including Postcolonial Modernism: Art and Decolonization in Twentieth-Century Nigeria (2015) and Obiora Udechukwu: Line, Image, Text (2016).


Emelife is a curator, art critic and presenter who has worked with various institutions such as Tate Britain, Sotheby's Institute of Art and Phillips Auction House. She is also the founder of Emelife Gallery & Consultancy, which promotes emerging artists from Africa and its diaspora. She has curated exhibitions such as The Medium Is The Message at Unit London (2020) and The Future Is Female at Signature African Art London (2021). She was named one of Forbes 30 Under 30 Europe in Arts & Culture in 2020.


Speaking on their roles at EMOWAA, Professor Okeke-Agulu said:


"I am delighted to join EMOWAA's team as Senior Advisor for Modern & Contemporary Art. I look forward to working with Aindrea Emelife to develop a robust program that will highlight the contributions of modernist pioneers like Ben Enwonwu as well as contemporary artists from Nigeria." Emelife added: "I am thrilled to be appointed Curator of Modern & Contemporary Art at EMOWAA. This is an exciting opportunity to showcase the diversity and dynamism of West African art on a global scale."


EMOWAA Executive Director Phillip Ihenacho further endorsed the duo in his statement:


"We are delighted to have Professor Okeke-Agulu and Emelife on board as our Modern & Contemporary team. They bring a wealth of experience, expertise and passion to our project. Their vision will help us create a world-class museum that connects West Africa's ancient heritage to its thriving contemporary culture."


EMOWAA is a groundbreaking museum project that aims to preserve, research and display West African art from prehistory to the present day. It is located in Benin City, Nigeria, where it will also house a new archaeological excavation site for the ancient Benin Kingdom. The museum will play a key role in facilitating the restitution of looted Benin bronzes from European museums back to their original home. EMOWAA is scheduled to open in 2025.



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EMOWAA appoints Professor Chike Okeke-Agulu and Aindrea Emelife as Special Adviser, Curator

March 11, 2023

Fredrick Favour

2 min read