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Nigeria Announces Its Curatorial Vision for the 2024 Venice Biennale

Nigeria has announced its curatorial vision for the national pavilion at the 60th International Art Exhibition, for the 2024 Venice Biennale. Curated by Nigerian-British art critic and curator, Aindrea Emelife, and commissioned by Godwin Obaseki, the Governor of Nigeria’s Edo State, on behalf of Nigeria’s Federal Ministry of Culture and Information, this stands as Nigeria's second national pavilion. The first Nigerian pavilion was inaugurated in 2017, curated by Adenrele Sonariwo and Emmanuel Iduma, and featured the works of Victor Ehikhamenor, Peju Alatise, and Qudus Onikeku. 

The Nigeria Imaginary
The Nigeria Imaginary

The 2024 pavilion, titled Nigeria Imaginary is organised by The Museum of West African Art (MOWAA), a new institution in Benin City, Nigeria. Nigeria Imaginary will showcase the works of eight contemporary artists such as Tunji Adeniyi-Jones, Ndidi Dike, Onyeka Igwe, Toyin Ojih Odutola, Abraham Oghobase, Precious Okoyomon, Yinka Shonibare CBE RA, and Fatimah Tuggar as they explore the past, present, and future of Nigeria and its diasporas, using various media, such as painting, photography, drawing, installation, sculpture, AR, sound, and film. 

The pavilion's theme reflects Emelife's curatorial vision, which aims to present a multifaceted and nuanced perspective on Nigeria and its people and to display the nation's created concepts, recollections, and longings, from the perspectives of different generations.  Emelife explains: "The concept of Nigeria Imaginary comes from two points of departure. It explores the role of both great moments in Nigeria's history - moments of optimism - as well as the Nigeria that lives in all of our minds: a Nigeria that could be and is yet to be."

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

The pavilion comes at a critical time for Nigeria, as the country faces multiple economic, social and political challenges, such as insecurity, inflation, poverty, corruption, and human rights violations. It hopes to offer a platform for dialogue, reflection, and inspiration, and to showcase the resilience, diversity, and potential of the Nigerian people, and seeks to foster collaboration and exchange among the Nigerian and international art communities, while promoting the development and recognition of the Nigerian art scene.

The pavilion will run from April 20 to November 24, 2024. 

For More on the programme, visit The Nigerian Imaginary


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