1952 Africa, Goethe-Institute address funding, other challenges of Nigerian artists
African artists have the potential to be the best but are limited by challenges including access to research, advice on how to think through ideation, and proper communication skills.
This was part of the discussions during the funding chat organised by 1952 Africa, an art foundation and Goethe-Institute Nigeria, a non-profit organisation encouraging international cultural exchange and relations, held recently in Lagos.
In his remarks, Ejike Egbuagu, chairman, board of directors, 1952 Africa, said the reason an African and a European artist can create the same piece of artwork of the same standard yet demand different value is not just about the different markets they are in but also about the presentation and the context.
“We started by creating an accelerator programme where we guide the artist to dig deeper, make their works and values stronger and last longer. We also chip in the need for them to think about the commercial value of the works they are creating and about the investors’ mindset, not to change their creativity but to guide them. Also, we teach them how to communicate their ideas; the 50 percent of a piece of art,” he said.
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“That is exactly why we are very thrilled to partner with such reputable organizations like the Goethe-Institute and work with other organisations that believe in the same thing in supporting the artists at the grassroots,” he added.
Speaking at the event, Nadine Siegert, director of Goethe-Institut Nigeria, explained that the residency and grant program aims to foster cultural exchange between Germany and Nigeria by providing individuals with insight into the art and culture scene of the respective city and partner institutions.
“The programme offers opportunities for exchange, mentoring, networking, and presenting work results,” she said.
Stacy Okparavero, a multidisciplinary artist and author, who won the residency program in Berlin for 2022, shared how the residency program impacted her profession.
“After getting selected, I travelled to Berlin and immediately got immersed in the art scene. I was able to create something alongside the community and that for me was very important because it was a center of what my practice.”
Contributing to the discussion, Olufela Omokeko, who won the €2,700 grant to create a mobile food museum project called “Jeunsoke,” emphasised the importance of combining talent with research to make an artist’s dreams a reality.
“The Jeunsoke project aims to change people’s thinking about how humans coexist, and will be built with the help of Goethe support and connect fund,” he said. “It is a local project with global content that is relatable and affects people’s lives”.
1952 Art Lounge is an art community, where persons from across the art sector are invited to meet, network, and discuss ideas, issues, and solutions. “Each month we engage with an issue that is important to the art ecosystem, and create space for conversation and connection,” said Tracian Meikle, director, of 1952 Africa.