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Nigerian Art: Thriving Creative Industry Celebrating African Art Through ART X


Nigerian art is more than just a painting on a wall or sculptures in a gallery. It’s a journey through times and culture. This article takes a historical journey into the traditional arts of Nigeria and the cultures that birthed them.

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Overview of Nigerian Art

Story of Nigerian art. Video Credit: @PlusTVAfrica YouTube Channel

The history of Nigerian art is interesting. The beginning of the 15 century witnessed an explosion in the art industry. The 15th century saw the death of the Queen Mother of Oba Esigie, Iyoba Idia, leading to the carving of the popular figurine.

The figurine became famous and gave the Benin Kingdom a special spot in the world of art. As time progressed, other ancient civilizations emerged with their different art forms, including carving, painting, sculpture and poetry.

On the other hand, the 19th century saw the popularity of arts from Igbo Ukwu, Nok, Benin,  Owo, Esie and Ife artworks. The arts of the 15th and 19th centuries now inspire Nigerian creatives to create artworks within popular regions, practices, and traditions. Here are books on Amazon about the Nigerian Art. You can get one or two if you would like to learn more about Nigerian art. 

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Nigerian Contemporary Art Landscape

Artists like Yusuf Grillo, Uche-Okeke, Dele Jegede, Ben Enwonwu, and Bruce Onobrakpeya have changed the contemporary Nigerian art scene. They have laid the foundation for national development and study. And they have used their creative artworks to promote the image of Nigeria outside its borders. 

The Nigerian modern artists draw inspiration and knowledge from traditions. For example, Wole Lagunju gets his inspiration from the Gelede traditional Masquerade. 

On the other hand, Victor Ekpuk works with the Nsibidi art form, a system of symbols indigenous to the south-eastern people of Nigeria. Check these books on Amazon to learn about the Nigerian modern art landscape

Support for Nigerian Art

With no or little support from major private sectors and the government, Nigerian art has survived over the years. The industry has positioned itself as a force to be reckoned with on the global stage. 

If Nigerian art is properly structured and supported, its potential will be limitless. One of the platforms that have given support to the Nigerian art industry is ART X. 

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About ART X 

About ART X. Video Credit: @ARTXMedia

Established in 2016, ART X is an amazing platform for supporting and showcasing contemporary art from Africa and its diaspora. Since Tokini Peterside-Schwebig founded ART X, it has become a supporting head to the African art industry.

The ART X Lagos is an amazing cultural event that takes place in West Africa. The event goes beyond traditional art fairs and delivers many days of captivating art experiences.

Since its launch in 2016, ART X Lagos has grown to host artists and galleries from more than 40 countries in the world. The event showcases an educative panel discussion series, music from top and rising musicians across the African Continent, and interactive projects and curated presentations. 

The event also features keynote artists, including Wangechi Mutu, Yinka Shonibare CBE, and Njideka Akunyili-Crosby. Many reputable brands like Access Bank Nigeria partner with ART X to deliver incredible art events.

The art sector is a big industry that has survived for many decades with no or little input from the government. Many solo artists, both past and present, have put so much work and creativity into bringing the industry where it’s today. 

Many Nigerian art collections are available on Amazon, meaning you can easily buy art from Nigerian artists on the marketplace without leaving the comfort of your home. 

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Uchenna Agwu
Uchenna Agwu
Hi there! I’m Uchenna Agwu, and I love to write. When I’m not writing, you can usually find me reading books or watching documentaries (I’m a bit of a nerd). But I also like to get out and explore – whether that means going on hikes or checking out new restaurants.


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