• Friday, May 24, 2024
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BusinessDay

New space for Nigerian art

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The landscape for contemporary Nigerian art is taking a new form as some hotels are already taking interest in what it has to offer. Before now, little attention has been paid to the development of contemporary art. The works of masters like Ben Enwonwu, Yusuf Grillo, among others, have dominated the scene for a long time.

But the quality and artistic value of some local contemporary artists cannot be ignored. Some forward-looking hotels are already tapping into the emerging markets for contemporary art by not only decorating their hotels with some of these works but also creating spaces for them to be showcased to guests.

It is commendable that Nigerian hotels, in addition to offering hospitality to guests, are treating them to some of the finest of Nigerian art. It is global practice that hoteliers work with artists to create environments with a sense of style and authenticity. It is good that, even in Nigeria, a combination of contemporary furniture, lighting and artworks have been incorporated in hotel designs.

For some architects, there is nothing new about the relationship between fine art and fine hotels as guests are experiencing museum quality art in hotels. Hoteliers have generously granted talented artists the chance to present their pieces in lobbies and lounges, as is the case in some hotels in Nigeria like the Nicon Hilton in Abuja and, more recently, Eko Hotel & Suites, Lagos.

In the past few years, hotels have been used to only putting up artworks on the walls. It is commendable that they are embarking on ambitious arts programmes that are literally transforming them into true cultural destinations. These hotels are proving that culture and hospitality can go hand in hand.

It is praiseworthy that hoteliers are beginning to understand that there is a synergy between work and the space. This move is creating new ways in which art can be viewed and appreciated. In addition, art is being shown and sold to the right audience through this platform. This emerging market for art is good as it will ensure that the ingenuity of artists is not shown to the wrong audience and their works will not be put in the wrong space. It is also good that hotels are thinking Nigeria.

In addition, it is a step in the right direction for the Nigerian art to move from what it used to be as art is about sophistication. Nigerian art needs to move from a populist form to a more eclectic kind, the way art is appreciated in other parts of the world. More hotels need to respond to this new trend to make art marketable and more rewarding for artists.