(L-R top: Suzenne Wenger, Princess Elizabeth Olowu, Eunice Okeji, Asabi Bakare, bottom: Clara Etso Ugbodaga-Ngu, Chief Constance Afiong ‘Afi’ Ekong, Ladi Kwali).

The “Invincible Hands” Exhibition Addresses the Unequal Representation of Female Artists in Nigerian Art History & Present

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The intersection of art and culture has become the breeding ground for conversations that shape our culture in Nigeria. In an age where information lies at our fingertips, accessibility to the contributions of women in society is more apparent, however, this has not always been the case. We ask ourselves, “in an era where the Zaria Rebels were making their mark, where were their female colleagues? Where are they now?” The ratio of male to female established artists in Nigeria continues to be strongly imbalanced, in favour of men. 

The Yemisi Shyllon Museum of Art (YSMA), of the Pan-Atlantic University (PAU), wants to address this disproportion through an extensive art exhibition at the museum. The highly anticipated showcasing titled The Invincible Hands curated by Olufisayo Bakare, focuses on the contributions of 40 female artists whose works include a combination of paintings, photography, tapestry and textiles, sculpture, and mixed media art. Over 100 artworks will be on display, covering different periods and artistic media. The exhibition will run from August 6, 2021 – January 18, 2022.

They are curated from the permanent collection of the YSMA and from temporary loans by artists and collectors. In presenting these works, we highlight artistic achievements that transcend stereotyped and reductive achievements of Nigerian women in art. The goal of this exhibition is to celebrate the influence of marginalized female Nigerian artists in the post-colonial and contemporary eras, amplify their work and bridge inequality gaps in the art sector by placing The Invincible Hands of female artists back into our art education and art history. It aims at being an active agent in giving these artists higher visibility. 

The Yemisi Shyllon Museum of Art (YSMA) of Pan-Atlantic University, Lagos, is an educational museum at the service of the university and the whole community.

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