How the Nigerian art culture came about is a story incomplete without its colonial history. Ever since the times of the colonial footprints, techniques and the portraiture of the Nigerian surroundings have changed and flourished.
You could say that a new form of art was born, and something as enthralling and exciting as the new European ways were adopted to bloom the Nigerian art culture.
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Aina Onabolu, the father of art in Nigeria, was the modern pioneer of the up and coming art culture in African history. He was a self-taught and inspired artist, famous for learning new strokes, becoming a trailblazer for art education in Nigeria. Although he was not the best in his line of work, he is the sole creditor of using the European opportunities to modernize art concepts.
Nowadays, many Nigerian exhibitions and art centers foster the practices of young artists. These artists portray the histories that cling to them to this day, showcasing Nigeria’s enriched culture. These visual portrayals reflect everyday lives and help to preserve the African culture.
It is widely known how European museums and exhibitions showcase famous African paintings and workmanship. The stories told there are presumably all from a Eurocentric point of view. And while it is hard to get overseas and bring about more awareness about African culture, new initiatives have been taken over the past decade in its own borders.
However, African artwork had quite a significant impact on global artists who drew inspiration. They are none other than the famous Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse. In fact, Picasso created some awestruck African inspired works between 1907 and 1909.
The latest initiatives are for Nigerian artists, by Nigerian hosts. They run these programs to create opportunities for artists. The goal is to preserve the Nigerian art culture, giving them a creative space to fully express their heritage.
As more commercial houses run exhibitions, they gain more attention from the global media. Because African art culture is so captivating, it took only a matter of shares over social media to gain worldwide traction.
It is quite remarkable how organizers are not only putting commercial exhibition spaces to use but also incorporating digital technology. In these times of a pandemic-stricken world, where everyone is transitioning to a safe space to stay afloat, digital transcendence helps the most.
Technologies as far as Virtual Reality (VR) is used widely to draw in more tech-savvy people. Overall, the digital space has a larger audience, giving them a whole other experience. At the same time, Nigerian artwork gains global recognition, preserving the Black community and its legacy.
Popularly preferred exhibition spaces such as schools, museums, stadiums, etc. are always on demand. Seminars, intimate talk sessions, and exhibitions are held to engage discussions and motivate emerging artists.
Nigeria has had quite the history of fighting colonialism. Its oppressions and especially the examples of feminism found here all deserve far more recognition. Moving with the ultimate goal of breaking cultural misconceptions, being recognized for their proud culture and history, curators, collectors and artists continuously find ways to get their work on the global platforms.