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Supporting creative sector, Ecobank form alliance with AFC, Soto Gallery for +234 Art Fair

Supporting creative sector, Ecobank form alliance with AFC, Soto Gallery for +234 Art Fair

Nigeria’s creative industry is a dynamic tapestry woven with threads of innovation, diversity, and cultural richness.

From the bustling streets of Lagos to the serene landscapes of Abuja, this vibrant sector encompasses a myriad of artistic disciplines, spanning music, film, fashion, literature, visual arts, and more. As the largest economy in Africa, Nigeria’s creative industry not only fuels cultural expression but also serves as a catalyst for economic growth and social transformation.

Ecobank Nigeria Limited on Thursday demonstrated readiness to support the creative sector as it has collaborated with Africa Finance Corporation (AFC) and Soto Gallery to present the inaugural +234 Art Fair.

The aim of this international art exhibition is to provide a platform for young, unrepresented Nigerian artists, offering them opportunities to showcase their work both locally and globally.

Speaking at a media parley, Bolaji Lawal, managing director/Regional Executive of Ecobank Nigeria, reiterated the bank’s commitment to promoting the creative industry in Nigeria and across Africa. Lawal emphasized the fair’s dedication to nurturing and uplifting the burgeoning art industry in Nigeria, aiming to support emerging artists and stimulate interest in art acquisition, thus contributing to the growth and international recognition of the local art sector.

Themed ‘A New Heritage,’ the maiden edition of the fair is designed to serve as a melting pot of artistic creativity, showcasing paintings, photography, and sculptures from different strata of Nigerian society. The free-entry fair seeks to provide an immersive showcase of emerging art talent, offering opportunities for cultural resonance, wealth creation, learning experiences, networking, and social impact.

The +234 Art Fair, spanning 10 days from March 22nd to 31st, will be held at the Ecobank Pan African Centre (EPAC), a 2,000 square meter exhibition center. The event is expected to attract attendees from various walks of life, including Nigerians, Africans, non-African residents in Nigeria, government officials, policymakers, members of the diplomatic corps, and art enthusiasts worldwide.

Named after Nigeria’s country calling code, the +234 Art Fair aims to serve as a hub for artistic expression, featuring paintings, sculptures, curated photography, and immersive installations. Tola Akerele, Founder of Soto Gallery and Curator of the fair, highlighted the significance of the partnership with Ecobank and AFC in amplifying the voices of young Nigerian artists who may not have had traditional gallery representation.

Akerele emphasized the fair’s role in providing a platform for these artists to showcase their talent and contribute to the growth and recognition of Nigeria’s vibrant art scene.

In addition to diverse art exhibits, the fair will feature an art-centric bookstore, children’s area, VIP lounge, culinary offerings, and engaging workshops. Lawal reaffirmed Ecobank’s commitment to supporting the creative industry through various initiatives, including organizing exhibitions and commissioning art studios.

The +234 Art Fair promises to attract a wide audience, ranging from government officials to art enthusiasts and aims to foster a dynamic environment for artistic expression while contributing to the cultural vibrancy of Nigeria through the collaborative efforts of Ecobank, AFC, and Soto Gallery.