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The Nigerian Pavilion has been commissioned by His Excellency Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State on behalf of Nigeria’s Federal Ministry of Culture and Information and is organised by the Museum of West African Art, Edo (MOWAA)

TOP ROW: Aindrea Emelife (Curator), Fatimah Tuggar, Yinka Shonibare, Toyin Ojih Odutola (© Beth Wilkinson)
BOTTOM ROW: Ndidi Dike, Tunji Adeniyi-Jones, Onyeka Igwe, Precious Okoyomon, Abraham Oghobase

Nigeria will present its national pavilion at the 60th International Art Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia, from the 20th of April to the 24th of November, 2024. The eight artists to be featured in the group exhibition are Tunji Adeniyi-Jones, Ndidi Dike, Onyeka Igwe, Toyin Ojih Odutola, Abraham Oghobase, Precious Okoyomon, Yinka Shonibare CBE RA, and Fatimah Tuggar.

The Edo State Governor, His Excellency Godwin Obaseki, is the commissioner of the Pavilion and has requested its organisation by the Museum of West African Art (MOWAA) in Benin City, Edo State to be realised on behalf of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and its Ministry of Culture and Information.

As commissioner, Governor Obaseki selected Nigerian-British curator Aindrea Emelife – who serves as the Contemporary and Modern Art curator at MOWAA – as curator of the exhibition. Emelife has selected artists to present works in response to the theme and title Nigeria Imaginary.

Aindrea Emelife said, “Nigeria Imaginary looks at the many Nigerias that live in our minds: the Nigeria that could be and is yet to be. The exhibition will explore different perspectives and constructed ideas, memories of and nostalgia for Nigeria, with a scope that is cross-generational and inter-geographic. The artists were selected for their unique visions of Nigeria, with a mixture of artists brought up in Nigeria and within the Diaspora curated to capture a sense of optimism imbued in inherited and collective cultural history. Articulated through many fields of reference and artistic disciplines, Nigeria Imaginary is a restless investigation of the present and a defiant imagining of what is yet to come.”

This marks the second time a Nigerian Pavilion has been included in La Biennale di Venezia’s Exhibitions. The Nigerian Pavilion will be presented in a historical Palazzo of outstanding beauty in Dorsoduro, near the Gallerie dell’Accademia. The expansive venue will be open for Biennale the first time on this special occasion.

His Excellency Governor Godwin Obaseki said, “It is my honour and privilege to serve as Commissioner for the Nigerian Pavilion at the 60th International Art Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia in 2024. This exhibition, envisioned by Ms. Emelife with a diverse roster of accomplished artists, encourages us to revisit the past in order to create a bright future for Nigeria. The exhibition is deeply aligned with the vision of the Edo State Government for encouraging socio-cultural and economic development through the promotion of art and tourism, and I have every confidence in the Museum of West African Art (MOWAA) to assist in organising a world-class exhibition.”

An expanded presentation of the Nigerian Pavilion, also curated by Emelife, will travel to MOWAA in 2025. This will be the inaugural exhibition in the Rainforest Gallery, the new contemporary art space in the MOWAA Creative District.

The exhibition will be produced by David Hrankovic and D.H. Office and the exhibition designers are Atelier Bruckner.

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