Aindrea Emelife, the closely watched Nigerian-British curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Museum of West African Art (MOWAA), has been selected to curate the Nigerian Pavilion at the 60th International Art Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia by the Edo State Governor and commissioner of the pavilion, His Excellency Godwin Obaseki. Emelife has selected eight artists to present works in response to the theme and title Nigeria Imaginary. The artists to be featured in the group exhibition are Tunji Adeniyi-Jones, Ndidi Dike, Onyeka Igwe, Toyin Ojih Odutola, Abraham Oghobase, Precious Okoyomon, Yinka Shonibare CBE RA and Fatimah Tuggar.
“Nigeria Imaginary looks at the many Nigerias that live in our minds: the Nigeria that could be and is yet to be. The exhibition will explore different perspectives and constructed ideas, memories of and nostalgia for Nigeria, with a scope that is cross-generational and inter-geographic. The artists were selected for their unique visions of Nigeria, with a mixture of artists brought up in Nigeria and within the Diaspora curated to capture a sense of optimism imbued in inherited and collective cultural history. Articulated through many fields of reference and artistic disciplines, Nigeria Imaginary is a restless investigation of the present and a defiant imagining of what is yet to come.” –Aindrea Emelife
Emelife is a rising curator and art historian, having curated a number of high-profile exhibitions across the United Kingdom, Europe, Africa and the United States. Beginning her career at London’s prestigious Courtauld Institute, Emelife is known for addressing her curatorial and art historical work from a different angle, championing untold stories and lesser-known histories. Born in London to Nigerian parents, Emelife currently splits her time between Lagos, Nigeria and London, UK.
This marks the second time a Nigerian Pavilion has been included in La Biennale di Venezia’s Exhibitions. The Nigerian Pavilion will be presented in a historical Palazzo of outstanding beauty in Dorsoduro, near the Gallerie dell’Accademia. The expansive venue will be open for the first time on the occasion of the Biennale.
An expanded presentation of the Nigerian Pavilion, also curated by Emelife, will travel to MOWAA in 2025. This will be the inaugural exhibition in the Rainforest Gallery, the new contemporary art space in the MOWAA Creative District.
The exhibition will be produced by David Hrankovic and D.H. Office and designed by Atelier Bruckner.