• Thursday, December 07, 2023
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Shonibare’s new Cultural Centre to bring together artists in Nigeria, diaspora

Shonibare’s new Cultural Centre to bring together artists in Nigeria, diaspora

Yinka Shonibare CBE RA has launched a new cultural centre called Guest Artist Space (G.A.S.) Foundation in Nigeria. G.A.S Foundation offers exciting opportunities for those working in the fields of contemporary art, design, architecture, agriculture, and ecology by giving space and resources to research, experiment, share, educate and develop work.

Founded in 2019 by Shonibare, the program is a non-profit dedicated to facilitating cultural exchange through tailored residencies, public programs, and exhibition opportunities primarily for creative practitioners from Africa and its diaspora.

February saw the completion of over 24 months of complex building work across the Foundation’s two Nigerian sites in Lagos and Ijebu in Ogun State.

“The art world needs to evolve – there is a rich vein of talent out there, but we might lose them if the status quo of the last thirty years remains. We are working with the local community, whilst opening doors for the next generation, equipping them to thrive not just survive” said Shonibare

The first G.A.S. building is a modern, brutalist-inspired construction that wraps around a central courtyard in Oniru, Lagos. It is intended to support international cultural exchange by establishing connections between Africa’s art markets and the international art community. It was designed by Ghanaian British architect Elsie Owusu in collaboration with Lagos-based Nigerian architect Nihinlola Shonibare of NS Design Consult, who was also commissioned to execute the interior design concept and delivery.

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The space includes live/work flats as well as a flexible multi-use project and exhibition area. An exhibition of works bought by Yinka Shonibare CBE RA over the last 20 years is currently on show in the gallery, resident rooms, and common areas of the G.A.S Foundation in Lagos as part of the launch.

The second structure, created by MOE+’s Papa Omotayo with Temitayo Shonibare’s interior design, is located on the 54-acre Ecology Green Farm in Ijebu, which grows everything from cassava and cashew to peppers and maize. It will also serve as a residential space for artists, scientists, agriculturists, and researchers, and it was designed with the local community’s long-term infrastructure and food security in mind.

Only local resources were used in the construction, including 40,000 bricks manufactured from soil scraped up for the foundations, in keeping with the farm’s guiding sustainability first concept. The site has a great future, with four workshop buildings dedicated to craft disciplines such as weaving and ceramics set to begin construction this spring.