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Yemisi Shyllon Museum of Art partners with Africa No Filter to tell better stories about Northern Nigeria

Yemisi Shyllon Museum of Art (YSMA), Lagos, receives grant from Africa No Filter to execute a two-part project titled "Dismantling Stereotypes, Building Links."

This project will feature an art exhibition, titled AREWA?, alongside complementary programmes aimed at presenting a nuanced tour of Northern Nigeria, its evolving physical and socio-cultural landscape, and identities. The exhibition, set to open in July 2024, seeks to amplify the voices and creative expressions of artists from Nigeria’s northern region by providing them with increased visibility, recognition and opportunities for collaboration and growth.

François Bouda, Arts and Culture Program Officer at Africa No Filter, said: “We are delighted to partner with Yemisi Shyllon Museum of Art, an institution dedicated to advancing knowledge about Nigerian art and portraying a better representation of Nigeria, to tell better stories about Northern Nigeria. The AREWA? project is a unique initiative that highlights contemporary northern Nigerian artists and local artisans. It will also empower changemakers such as curators, journalists, and teachers, whose work is crucial in shaping public opinion and narratives.”

This project is part of the efforts of Africa No Filter and YSMA to challenge negative and harmful stereotypes about Africa by perpetuating more nuanced and balanced narratives about the continent. AREWA? uses the storytelling power of art to shine a spotlight on Northern Nigeria, a region that is largely misunderstood and misrepresented. Through the complementary programmes, YSMA aims to establish lasting networks and alliances that will contribute to the advancement of Nigerian art and culture, challenging stereotypes and harmful narratives and replacing them with more balanced and nuanced representation.

Madonna Iloba, Advancement Officer at YSMA, said: “The YSMA is interested in the advancement of Nigerian arts, and for us it is important to form collaborations that can further this goal. We are grateful to have the support of Africa No Filter for the execution of this important project. Of course, we want everyone to experience AREWA?, and so our strategy is to engage groups with the potential to influence their respective fields and reach even broader audiences. This is why, in addition to the exhibition itself, we have designed complementary programmes specifically for curators, journalists and teachers.”

The grant from Africa No Filter will facilitate the design, installation, and execution of the exhibition, as well as the implementation of the complementary programmes for curators, journalists, and teachers. AREWA? will be curated by Aisha Aliyu-Bima, a writer, curator, photographer, researcher, and archivist with a keen interest in Northern Nigerian social anthropology. The exhibition will feature about 80 works that explore the arts and cultural tapestry of Nigeria’s northern region.

AREWA? will be open until October 2024, at the Yemisi Shyllon Museum of Art in Pan-Atlantic University, Lagos.


About Africa No Filter

Africa No Filter exists because many stories about Africa still lazily revolve around the single story of poor leadership, poverty, corruption, disease, and conflict. These stories fail to portray the other more progressive side of Africa and collectively perpetuate the narrative that Africa is broken, dependent and lacks agency. The result? Harmful stereotypes that continue to paint a rigidly negative picture of the continent, despite the massive strides we are making. Our mission at Africa No Filter is to shift these stereotypes because they impact the way the world sees Africa and how Africa sees itself. Through research, grant-making, community building and advocacy, we support storytellers to help shift the stereotypical narratives about Africa one story at a time. Our funders are Ford Foundation, Bloomberg, Mellon Foundation, Luminate, Open Society Foundations, Comic Relief, the Hilton Foundation, and Hewlett Foundation

About YSMA

The Yemisi Shyllon Museum of Art (YSMA) is the museum of the Pan-Atlantic University, established in 2019, with a mission to serve and engage diverse audiences by advancing knowledge about Nigerian art and by offering exhibitions and programmes that enable them to learn about art and through art. The YSMA owes its initial collection of over 1,000 works to Prince Yemisi Shyllon, who also donated funds for the construction of the museum building and provides annual grants for its upkeep and sustainability. Through collaborative partnerships with private funders and strategic partners, we also provide opportunities for underserved groups to participate in arts and culture programmes.

At the YSMA, we prioritise the learning experiences of our audiences through our collection and have carried out several initiatives aimed at telling our stories and enhancing inclusion and access to our arts and culture. Running for over two years, our programmes promote learning through Nigerian art, particularly for young people and consist of exhibition tours, class sessions and hands-on arts and craft activities that have engaged over 2000 young people between 10 and 25.

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Yemisi Shyllon Museum of Art partners with Africa No Filter to tell better stories about Northern Nigeria

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