• Friday, June 21, 2024
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The rise of Amazons – Curators

The rise of Amazons – Curators

When women thrive, humanity thrives. This is clearly evident in the art industry. This digest will be the last of March’s The Rise of Amazons series. It has been an amazing month of highlighting the important work that women do in our industry.

In this digest, we will be spotlighting curators. A curator is a custodian or overseer of something, typically art and collectibles. An art curator typically interprets different works of art and often stages the art in such a way that they spark interests and conversations in an exhibition space.

This weekend’s digest highlights 5 powerful female curators in Africa’s art scene.


The list of women in African – more specifically, Nigerian – art industry is not complete without the mention of Ugoma. Ugoma is the founder and director of BLOOM Art, Lagos. She is also the festival director for the Lights, Camera, Africa! film festival, and also produces WOMAN RISING; an annual music concert and arts festival.
As described, Ugoma is quite the gallerist, multi-arts curator, and an all round entrepreneur. Her focus in recent years has centered around art salons hosted in Lagos where she deals in art, hosts private exhibitions and art conversations. With these events, she attracts Nigeria’s prominent diplomats, art patrons, collectors, and the likes to spark conversations and bridge the gap.


Tokini is often described as the woman putting Lagos on the global art map as she seeks to redefine Africa’s narrative through its culture and creative industry. She is the creator and founder of Art X Lagos, the first international fair in West Africa which launched its maiden edition in 2016. Art X Lagos is a platform that supports more artists in their career and the management of their businesses. It was born out of artists dissatisfaction with having to deal with only a fraction of Nigerian collectors seeing the value in their work. This lack of local appetite and limited market share prompted artists to emigrate to other countries. They did so because this broke them into the international market where they felt their work would gain better appreciation.

Tokini has received many highly esteemed recognitions. Her work has been featured in the Financial Times, CNN, the New York Times, Le Monde and Vogue, among many others.


Olufisayo Bakare is described as a designer-cum-curator. As a curator, she joined Yemisi Shyllon Museum to reiterate their vision via idea exchanges. One of exhibitions where her hand work has recently been felt is The Invisible Hands Exhibition; a showcase of 40 female artists. This exhibition was curated to enlighten, celebrate, and bridge the gap that exists between Nigerian and Diaspora female artists in comparison to their male contemporaries. This exhibition took a memory lane down Nigeria’s pre-colonial society art scene. It highlighted how Nigerian art was created before any colonial influence came about and how colonialism influenced art as we know it today.

Olufisayo is an active member of the on-going Museums of the Future program facilitated by the Goethe Institut. She uses this medium to formulate institutions that are invested in the preservation of Nigerian art history and culture. She is well informed about the works of indigenous and Pan-African artists establishing distinct platforms for accessibility. As a cultural custodian of Black histories, she believes educating a global audience through cultural programmes is the bedrock of preserving African cultures.


Amarachi Okafor is the founder of ORIE STUDIO, an art studio and research space located in Abuja. Her passion lies in providing practical support to African artists through educational mediums. She does this through archival curation. Her intent is to deepen and widen the knowledge gap that exists of African Art to anyone who cares to learn about it, in the easiest way possible.

She is more than an artist, curator, and producer. She has extensive experience implementing projects in the fields of contemporary art and the arts on a broader lens. She typically delves into sculptures and canvas painting, but has also been involved in collaborative public art projects whose themes include people, society, and communality.


Keturah Ovio is an Art advisor, an engineer, a founder, and a genius. As a patron of African art, she is a lead columnist on BusinessDay’s weekender paper. Through her column Art Index Africa, she indexes the world of contemporary African art. She is also a Director at Patrons Modern & Contemporary African Art. In this role, she advises on and manages collections for big corporations and individuals looking to diversify their wealth management through art investments. She started collecting art in her early 20s and would often say that art is where all of her money ends up.

Whilst she eats into the world of African art, she is also a tech genius and founder of Dukka, a Fintech startup building bookkeeping and payments technology for individuals and merchants in Africa that helps them manage their finances better.

The month of March may be dedicated to celebrating women and highlighting the work they do for humanity, however, the appreciation of them should not be limited to just a day or 1 month out of 12 in a year. Women are fundamental to the building up of any society. Again, when women thrive, humanity thrives.

How do you plan to lift up the amazing women in your life every day from hereon?

Until April’s digests,
Don’t stop breaking the bias.