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Wheatbaker Hotel: Celebrating a decade of premium hospitality, art offerings

It is really amazing how time flies. This October marks 10 years of The Wheatbaker Hotel in the Nigerian hotel business.

At the opening in October 2011, the Ikoyi-based boutique hotel committed to offering luxurious boutique hotel experience to would-be guests. 10 years down the line and staying true to that commitment, the 70-room hotel has overtime become a preferred destination for fortune 500 company executives, other business travelers, as well as, tourists in need of a quiet and exclusive address in the heart of vibrant, and boisterous Lagos.

However, while its consistency in hospitality facility, product and service offerings is commendable, the hotel’s sustained support for the arts is laudable by both guests and lovers of art.

In the past 10 years, there has been an averred commitment to providing premium accommodation and leisure offerings, as well as premium art offerings; a feat that sets the hotel apart from others in Lagos.

Since October 2011, The Wheatbaker has supported art exhibitions, film screenings, dance and poetry performances, fashion shows, music concerts and yearly art auctions in an effort to use its premium hospitality platform to make Lagos one of the hottest African art hubs.

For a decade now and running, the boutique hotel has hosted over 20 visual art exhibitions that offered each artist between 8-12 weeks to showcase their works. During each of these exhibitions, guests have always seen and appreciated the creative ingenuity of the artists through their works on display as part of the spices the hotel offers in addition to its core hospitality offerings.

To enable the hotel live up to the dream of becoming an art destination, first, the hotel deliberately made its high-profile guests willing to see the arts, and secondly, it encouraged them to become art collectors by buying some of the artworks as souvenirs, especially during its yearly art auction sales at the hotel.

One of the remarkable art events was an exhibition entitled Freedom, which was hosted to mark the hotel’s 5th anniversary in October 2016. The hotel’s management gladly opened the exhibition, which featured 39 paintings and sculptures by Gbenga Offo, as well as, used the exhibition to complement the hotel’s growing art collection of works by leading Nigerian artists including; Peju Alatise, Rom Isichei, Olu Amoda, Mike Omoighe, Duke Asidere and Gerald Chukwuma.

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While guests and art lovers alike were commending the hotel’s gallant support for the arts on its 5th anniversary, The Wheatbaker broke record the following year as the only hotel in Africa to house and showcase its permanent art collection to the guests and the public. A pioneer in strategically combining art and hospitality, The Wheatbaker opened its permanent art collection to the public for the first time from November 11, 2017 till the end of the month, showcasing 30 exceptional paintings, sculptures and mixed media works by leading and emerging artists. The works range from contemporary masters such as; Billy Omabegho, Tayo Adenaike and Obiora Anidi, to award winning artists like; Olu Amoda and Peju Alatise, who represented Nigeria at the Venice Biennale to much acclaim.

This year and in celebration of its 10 years in business and a decade of support for the art, the boutique hotel once again engaged the art in a more exciting way.

On November 2, 2021, The Wheatbaker opened an enthralling exhibition tagged Sense of Self, an exhibition by Olawunmi Banjo, a self-taught Nigerian visual artist, whose enthralling works speak volume of her creative ingenuity.

Curated by SMO Contemporary Art, the exhibition runs until January 15, 2022 and it is in commemoration of its 10 years anniversary.

“We have always seen art as an integral part of our corporate DNA, allowing our guests to find solace and inspiration from what is displayed on our walls. Before we completed the hotel, we had set aside significant resources for art, and continue to invest in providing an important regular platform for local and international artists through our quarterly exhibitions”, said Mosun Ogunbanjo, director of the Wheatbaker.

Also, commenting on the rationale for promoting the hotel as an art destination, Sandra Obiago, curator of all the exhibitions at the hotel since 2011, said: “Through our art and hospitality focus, we have inspired other hotels in Lagos to embrace art as a viable means of bringing local and international visitors closer to the best of Nigerian art and culture”.

“We are delighted that many hotels are now using art and hospitality to strengthen creativity in Nigeria, and provide an important platform for art and innovation”, Obiago, founder, SMO Contemporary Art, noted further.

Also delighted over The Wheatbaker’s sustained commitment and support for Nigerian art and artists for the past decade, Ogubanjo disclosed that ‘Sense of Self’, which marks the 10 years anniversary of the hotel, is in sync with the hotel’s unique growth as an art inspired hotel over the past decade.

“After 10 years of showcasing leading and emerging Nigerian talents, we are excited to celebrate our anniversary month and the start of the art season in Lagos with Olawunmi Banjo’s Sense of Self exhibition”, Ogubanjo concluded.

Truly, beyond staying as a guest, you can visit The Wheatbaker Hotel any day just to see the artworks or the opening of an exhibition to encounter the artists and ask all your questions. Just tell the guards at the entrance that you are an art connoisseur (that is the password) and the door will open because there is one exhibition going on almost every month.

Of course, ‘Sense of Self’ is still running from now through the festive period and the second week in the new year.

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