is art in nigeria elitist?

and to answer the question that made you click the link to this post, i am still unsure.


what i am certain of is that art in nigeria needs to be more accessible to the poor. i may or may not write about this in my next post, simply because i still need to do more research.

i am still looking for an answer to this question but in the meantime i am exploring the possibilities of it being elitist and challenging the notion that it isn’t.

what i desire most is a solution. a solution or solutions rather, that will increase the accessibility of art to the masses.

my second visit to tate modern allowed me to question what were random thoughts in my head.

i watched this art documentary yesterday which i highly recommend you watch too –

meschac gaba, a contemporary artist from cotonou said these words:





for a long time i never really questioned how elitist art can be.
it is open to many but not always accessible to the poor.

in nigeria, for instance, most of our art galleries are located in affluent areas.

a conversation with my friend on this opened my eyes. he mentioned that this could be an institutional problem- better electricity, for instance, was present in these areas. he added that unlike london, for instance, where transportation was cheaper, in relative terms and easier, in  lagos, travelling to these art galleries(most of which are located on the island) are expensive and time consuming.

however, this should not be an excuse. or should it?should one social class deserve certain privileges?

for a long time i never really questioned how elitist art can be.
it is open to many but not always accessible to the poor.

is it necessarily bad if some people are educated? ; if some part of the population is enlightened by the works of great artists; if some eyes are open’d.

or is it?

perhaps it is time pressing political and social issues which are channeled through various forms of art are exhibited elsewhere.

perhaps we need to start calling the phone numbers of artists whose sculptures and murals and paintings of politicians and celebrities are displayed on the roadside.perhaps they need to be encouraged too.

i am aware that solving this issue, that is if art in nigeria is elitist is  easier said than done but i think more people need to be aware that art is important.people other than you and i who can afford to visit galleries and take pictures of themselves with art.if art in nigeria is indeed elitist, how can we encourage more people to take up art(broadly speaking )if they are not exposed to any at all?

would love to hear your comments.

please email me on or mention/message me on my twitter @lanairea


2 thoughts on “is art in nigeria elitist?

  1. I love this, I feel like this is so important.there’s so much talent in Nigeria that is locked up because of insufficient funds to support dreams, for exploration, for exposure.
    I know for a fact that there is powerful creativity in our streets, its a pity a lot fo us only see them from behind windows.
    There’s the elite Art society,which is expensive,then there are others ,who arejust as powerful and need someone to buy them quality materials.
    whether on the road or in an air conditioned gallery in V.I. art in Nigeria,Nigerian art shares a common story of someone who managed to put a part of themselves down in a country which doesn’t really seem to support Art.
    Creativity should never be unaffordable.

    1. thank you so much love…i completely agree with you that art is sometimes controlled by the bourgeoisie..exactly!so many children that want to be able to showcase their work have their dreams crushed.i am happy you recognized that there’s an elite society- that’s how the capitalist system operates.yes, we do share a common story, we are inspired by the same Nigeria that rewards the rich and punishes the glad you liked it!please share to your friends too

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