Art is life, really it is, however with the chaos in Nigeria it seems impossible to enjoy simple luxuries such as admiring art pieces. With the hustle and bustle of life also, we as a people seem to have relegated art to the background, however it wasn’t like this with our ancestors. They lived and breathed art, it could be seen in their music, shrines, decorations and all. Art doesn’t come so easily as before, so if you are a lover of art you might actually have to search to be able to buy art. So, in this post, we shall be seeing 10 places you can buy art in Nigeria.
These are the first places that come to mind for the art lover. There are myriads of art galleries spread across the country. Not only do they showcase both modern and contemporary art of Nigerians, but they also offer some for sale. In art galleries across Nigeria, you can get to see the work of established artists and also of upcoming artists.
Some of the most popular art galleries in Nigeria include Terra Kulture on Tiamiyu Savage Street Victoria Island Lagos. It’s a one-stop place for everything art in Nigeria. Not just visual arts, but also music, literature and even theatre. If you are an art lover, you should definitely make out time to visit Terra Kulture.
There’s also Nike Centre for Arts and Culture, Thought Pyramid art centre. Over 90% of the art galleries in Lagos are on the Island. Art galleries display the best-known names and therefore the most expensive art in the country. We are talking about pieces worth several hundred to a few million naira. There are other art galleries in the major cities of Nigeria. Though there seems to be a higher concentration in Lagos and Abuja, where those who can afford it live.
Art exhibitions happen all year round in Nigeria, and they are organized sometimes by the artist, or by art galleries, families or other organizations. It could be just the work of one artist or the works of a lot of artists. During the exhibitions, some of the artists are willing to sell their pieces. So if you are looking to acquire art, then you should attend exhibitions.
I know you’re asking how do you get to know when exhibitions are taking place. You’d have to acquaint yourself with art happenings around you. One easy way to do that is to frequent art galleries. There are always adverts and information about art events.
If you know the name of the particular artist you can follow them on social media. Visiting the website of art galleries, following them on social media or signing up for their newsletters will keep you abreast of needed art information.
Art and Craft Villages/Centres
If you’re looking to buy art of established names, then don’t bother checking here. Who’s to say though whether the artist who you bought his piece this year, might just “blow” someday, and then you’d now have the art of an established artist. If you’re looking to buy good cheap art, then art villages are the places to go.
A friend of mine got this really great looking piece from Aba, in Abia state some years back, it was actually a relief work, and he got it for 40k. in my search for art, cheap art though, I stumbled upon a place along Wetheral, just very close to Cherubim junction, Owerri, the Imo state capital. There I saw beautiful art pieces for 35k and below. However, I thought they were too expensive, I was looking for something of say 5 to 10k, and this is not to say such cheap art doesn’t exist.
At that time, those 35k pieces seemed expensive, as I got to know the value of art, I realized how cheap they were and that I probably should have acquired one or two. So if you are on a low budget, then art and craft villages it is. In such places, you might even get to see some of the artists at work, from sculptors to painters and what have you.
Ever heard of Lekki arts and craft market, also known as Jakande Art market. It is a market dedicated to the selling of art and crafts pieces, in Lagos. It is not a very popular place though, just like many other art markets. these are the places you might actually be able to get the best deal or art, especially if you know how to bargain. There are so many options in such markets, both conventional art works like paintings and sculpures and carvings to non conventional ones. Such markets are not very popular, but they exist everywhere in Nigeria.
If you live in Lagos or have ever visited Lagos Nigeria, then you’d understand what I’m saying. You can buy anything in Lagos traffic, ok, almost anything, rare things such as bushmeat, puppies and the likes are sold in the traffic, in Lagos and other populated Nigeria cities. I once saw a man buy two Alsatian puppies along Trans-Amadi road in Portharcout.
Pieces of art also are sold in traffic. There are usually not big pieces, you’d see smaller pieces of work such as painting relief work and sculptures. Their prices also are usually very low. Traffic is one of the cheapest places to buy art from random artists. With as little as 5k or 10k, you could get something very lovely.
These are usually put together by big organizations who have acquired tasteful art over the years. People also give their art to these organizations to be auctioned off, of course, the organization gets a cut. Art galleries also organize auctions. Auctions are used for fundraisers or just to empty an art place, or as a way to recoup an investments, buying of art is an investment. The older the get, the more their value rises.
At auctions, the art pieces are usually very expensive, but here you get art that might have been made by a popular artist 200year ago of something. You can get very recognizable pieces from auctions, however, you’d have to be rich to be able to afford them. Sometimes, they are even closed affairs and only the rich, popular art collectors or renowned galleries are invited.
Months before the auction, catalogues of the pieces to be auctioned are distributed around, pictures of these works and their estimated values are included in the catalogues. Whoever is willing to pay the highest for a piece gets it. If you’d ever get an original Picasso or some renaissance artist, it would definitely be at an auction and such a pice would be worth millions of dollars.
It’s funny how so many things can be gotten at the beach, and it is also funny how this makes our list of 10 places you can buy art in Nigeria. If you frequent the beach, you’d understand this. Popular beaches attract lots of crowds, and where there are crowds someone is usually selling something. Sometimes, those somethings include artworks. From sculptures to paints and even photographs. So, when next you visit the beach just be on the lookout, you might meet a dealer or an artist.
Pop up Shops
You know those vendors who you just see appear in a place you didn’t know was used for sales and after a few days, disappears again, those are examples of pop up sales. They are another good place to get art from, although they are not permanent, they sell art at very good prices.
Some of these guys who do graphic design, direct printing on clothes and wall painting also produce art on canvas or other mediums. Sometimes you’d see such works at Ikeja, Lagos or at other popular places, paintings of popular Nigerian figures.
In fact these guys can do customized work for you. I remember meeting one of such people at a literary event while I was a student. I had written poetry and I wanted a special piece to go with it, so I could display. It turned out I couldn’t afford the guy, so I forgot about the project.
This is the latest ways art is being marketed now. It’s not new in the world, however, the selling of art in Nigeria online is new. Art establishments such as Artyrama and Arthouse are really pushing this concept out. In a few years from now, it’s going to be normal to buy art online.
For you art lovers, these are 10 places to buy art in Nigeria. Irrespective of your pocket size, there’s something for you. The bigger art galleries sell at more expensive prices. When buying art, just make sure you love what you’re buying.