Take a Tour of The African Artists' Foundation

Step inside Nigeria's epicentre for contemporary art.

Outdoor view of the African Artists Foundation by African Artists' FoundationOriginal Source: African Artists Foundation

Welcome to the African Artists Foundation

Established in 2007 in Lagos, The African Artists’ Foundation aims to encourage the highest standard of art in Africa. African Artists’ Foundation serves a significant role in art and academic communities through organizing art exhibitions, festivals, competitions, residencies, and workshops with the aim of unearthing and developing talent, creating societal awareness, and providing a platform to express creativity.

No Touch Am - BTS by Osborne MachariaOriginal Source: African Artists Foundation

The Foundation is based in a villa on Victoria Island and houses a performance space, gallery, studio, seminar rooms, offices, and a growing library. It combines international exhibitions and artists’ residencies with professional development workshops and community outreach programs. Two flagship events have received national and international recognition: the yearly festival LagosPhoto (since 2009) and the National Art Prize, that both attract substantial and diverse audiences.

Azu Nwagbogu, Director of the African Artists Fpoundation by African Artists' FoundationOriginal Source: African Artists Foundation

Meet the director
Born in Lagos, Azu Nwagbogu is the founder and director of the African Artists' Foundation (AAF). He was previously the interim Director/Chief Curator of the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art in South Africa. For the past 20 years, he has curated private collections for various prominent individuals and corporate organisations in Africa. Nwagbogu holds a Masters in Public Health from The University of Cambridge. His work is dedicated to the promotion and development of contemporary African arts and artists.

"This is Lagos" - exhibition map (2009) by Bob Awerioba and Emeka OgbohOriginal Source: African Artists Foundation

Nwagbogu founded the annual National Art Competition in 2008, which promotes emerging Nigerian artists to the world. He is the founder and director of the annual LagosPhoto Festival, which brings leading local and international photographers into dialogue with the multifaceted stories of Africa. He is the creator of Art Base Africa, a new virtual space to discover and learn about contemporary African art and diaspora. He created Art Base Africa, a virtual space to discover and learn about contemporary Art from Africa and diaspora. Nwagbogu is on the jury of major arts awards and committees.

The AAF combines international exhibitions and artists’ residencies with professional development workshops and community outreach programs.

Main gallery
The main gallery is the primary space that you walk into. The works on the wall are exhibits from AAF's Collectors' Club. The paintings on the wall are by Edozie Anedu and Adeolu Oluwajoba.

Chigozie Obi's paintings - including the round-framed oil on canvas - explore the nature of African female experience through the interchange of toned and tinted shades.

Joseph Obanubi's vibrant Afro-futurist art and Olamuyiwa Logor's abstract monochrome are installed on the walls of this open space gallery.

Secondary gallery
This open-ceiling gallery is roofed with blue wooden frames. It's the first gallery upstairs and opens into a spacious work-room, a bed-room gallery and two others. The wonderful paintings on the wall are by Derek Jombo Jayhem.

The hub
This office space is the centre for AAF staff. The room is not just functional, but also largely ornamental with the worktable with glossy textured finish. The room opens into a semi circular balcony. Artworks by Obinna Makata and Uche Uzorka.

Residency space
One of the Artists in Residency spaces, this one within the foundation venue. Residencies are a core of the foundations practices as they promote cross cultural exchange of ideas and perspectives. The Afrocentric bedroom with hardwood furnishing and sculpture. The arched windows and doorways make a significant motif in this room and in all of the house. While the window overlooks the drive-in entrance of the compound, the lights are set to imitate skylight windows. The artworks on the wall are by Yusuf Aina and Chief Bob Aiwerioba.

Collectors' Club by African Artists' FoundationOriginal Source: African Artists Foundation

Garden and Stage
This ample outdoor space - veranda, yard of seaters, stage and shipping container storey extension - is the hub for various social gatherings, including Amplitude, AAF's music and poetry event.

Storage units and photobooth
AAF's compound and famous Ping Pong table. The red containers are used to store and preserve artworks. The photobooth underneath is a popular social media backdrop for most who visit.

The yard
This view of the main building at AAF from the pivot of the stage displays the vibrant burnt orange coat of AAF as well as its identical balconies.

Credits: Story

Azu Nwagbogu

Curatorial Direction:
Philip Fagbeyiro

Curatorial Text/Editor:
Philip Fagbeyiro

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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