Africa has always been an artistic gem, a place of beauty in the people, culture, environment, shared with the world in unique forms of our making though we’ve never been able to appreciate all that’s around us. Nigerian art history especially is a complex story, one filled with marvellous individuals with great works, being part of the art scene, however, can be a pain in the ass, it’s a closed circle filled with the same name and faces, same ideas and approach. It’s never been such a big space, never been an environment that flourished with fame, wealth and public exposure but that seems to be a different story in 2018. Art has become a cultural spectacle, the entire nation ‘woke‘ up to the renaissance that’s put a spotlight on the innovation and creativity of Africans, Nigerians. An underground scene filled with refreshing pieces and direction has emerged while the mainstream scene grew to a global audience.
Being an artist in modern Nigeria is a new terrain entirely, as the art scene grew it became a gated community only accepting a few forms of art and particular faces who sell the same story of what they feel Nigeria is. Art is a timeless philosophy, regardless, it’s important to keep the energies up with youthful enthusiasm. Different things are being done, shows like ART X, Lagos Photo Festival and art spaces like African Art Foundation, 16 by 16th, Baroque Age Studio are doing their bit to help promote a breath of fresh air for the entire system, yet it’s still hard to get your foot in the door.
Art is the legacy of each generation put together through audio-visual forms to keep humanity recorded in splendid beauty.
Through conversations, we’ve reached common knowledge with different individuals that have a place in the art industry, we gathered a few points on pushing yourself from social media to sharing your experience with the world through your art.
- Build Your Reputation: The scene is filled with a lot of people, different ideas and moments are happening. To really standout your art must speak for itself, you have to leave your comfort zone and prove your message, experience and style of creating art is worth the attention of everyone. Art is very abstract and alluring with the right curation and display, grow your story and be a worth your own hype. Exhibit at art shows, find ways of getting your work recognized by sending it out to media platforms, find your audience and feed them. Don’t be scared to try new things, be experimentative and deliver curated shows that speak for your art. It will be hard at first but use the internet and social media smartly, showcase your art as content.
- Work With Others: Collaboration is a core element in the creative scene, curate projects that involve other artists and other forms you’re not used to exploring. By working with brands and other creative intellectuals your art begins to spark a conversation with the people, it’s a great way of immersing your environment into the art, forming different approaches to blend with their perception. Art should never be locked up, it must be provocative to the culture, it must adapt and evolve, it must come together through collaboration to grow.
- Be Original: The art scene is getting bigger and having more global exposure, they’re certain art makers in different fields of art who are at the frontier with their groundbreaking work creating styles unique to them. Being original is important to stand out in a conscious artistic evolution. African art history is hidden with so much information, beauty and styles, learn from the past, and present, learn from your art and identify with an innate style/artistic representation singular to you. It’s all in the details, art can mean so many different things cause each fraction carries a specific marker only the creator can see.
More ways of making art emerge each day, from digital to 3-d prints, holograms, multiple technological tools make the idea of art more abstract, young Africans should be given more room to use unconventional methods from their New Age to tell the story of their world and how they feel about it.
Feature Image Created By Niyi Okeowo.