Invincible Hands exhibition explores the contributions of Nigerian female artists

The Yemisi Shyllon Museum of Arts, Pan Atlantic University, Lagos, has declared open the Invincible Hands exhibition, an art exposition that celebrates the contribution of Nigerian women in art and addresses their marginalisation. 

The exhibition, according to a statement, opened on August 28, 2021 and closes on January 18, 2022. Invincible Hands consists of an eclectic display of a wide range of art works from different female Nigerian artists spanning the old and the contemporary.

The Invincible Hands exhibition aims to address the disproportionate representation of male to female established artists in Nigeria and create awareness about this disparity, by celebrating the artistic contribution of female Nigerian artists toward the growth and development of the country’s creative culture. The exhibition takes a historic gaze at the past, paying homage to the Founding Mothers of Art in Nigeria, while drawing inferences in the contemporary art space, and solidifying a foundation for the future.

“This exhibition celebrates the contribution of underrepresented Nigerian women artists in post-colonial and contemporary eras, amplifying their work and bridging inequality gaps in the art sector to place female Nigerian artists back into the national art education dialogue and history,” said Olufisayo Bakare, the curator of the exhibition.

According to Bakare, in presenting these works to a wide audience, the exhibition highlights artistic achievements that transcend stereotyped and reductive achievements of Nigerian women in art.

“Since it takes an educative approach, it is open to every Nigerian and her allies,” she added.

The Invincible Hands Exhibition is the first of its kind at the Yemisi Shyllon Museum of Art (YSMA), where a woman, designer-cum-curator Olufisayo Bakare, is tackling the issue of underrepresentation of female artists, giving credence to their individuality, voices and creativity. Thus, the exhibition aims at being an active agent in giving these artists higher visibility.

The exhibition features an array of mixed media art, paintings, photography, sculpture, tapestry, and textiles by the contributions of 40 Nigerian female artists whose works cover different periods, with 70 art forms on display. They were curated from Yemisi Shyllon Museum of Art’s permanent collection, and as temporary loans by artists, art collectors, and patrons. Exhibiting artists include names like Susanne Wenger, Fati Abubakar, Anne Adams, Tiwa Sagoe, Anne Adams, Ndidi Dike, Amarachi Okafor, Winifred Ukpond, and Damilola Tejuoso, to mention a few.

With a background in Interior Design, guest curator, Olufisayo Bakare has trained eyes to find the rare balance between simplicity with African artistry in her work. Her keen interest in ‘carving the phenomenal out of the familiar’ has inspired her curatorial practice by establishing her as an ally in the preservation, documentation, and representation of African culture through various art forms.

The designer-cum-curator pays close attention to the works of indigenous and Pan-African artists and maker-communities by establishing unique platforms for accessibility. Positioned as a cultural gatekeeper of black histories, she recognizes that educating the masses through artistic and cultural ecosystems is at the bedrock of society. By connecting varied dialogues through an exchange of ideas, Bakare celebrates histories and their underpinned symbology. Having dedicated over a decade of her career to supporting the arts, Bakare has stepped into the limelight by partnering with the Yemisi Shyllon Museum of Art to enforce their mandate by assisting with their mission of educating through the arts.

She is joining forces with institutions like YSMA to curate exhibitions and construct site-specific installations within the creative sector and art world.

The Yemisi Shyllon Museum of Art (YSMA) of Pan-Atlantic University is an educational museum at the service of the university and the whole community. At the centre of YSMA’s mission is a desire to help audiences learn about art and through art. Our educational programmes are a central component to achieve this objective. We believe that artworks, besides allowing viewers to experience multiple forms of beauty, meaning, and skill, can also be an excellent educational resource to help persons of all ages engage, discover, and learn about the history and culture of Nigeria.

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