In the wake of Okadabooks’ closure, another prominent entity has bid farewell to its audience.
TSA Contemporary Art Magazine, known for five years of impactful contributions to the art community, has officially closed its doors. The decision to cease operations comes after a period of reduced activity, with the last significant publications dating back to early 2023.
Okadabooks, an online hub connecting writers and readers announced the shutdown of its virtual bookstore weeks back citing “insurmountable” challenges.
A statement posted online by the platform noted that the closure would be effective from 30 November.
“This has not been an easy choice. We’ve explored various avenues to keep our virtual bookshelves alive, but, unfortunately, the challenges we face are insurmountable,” the company noted in the statement.
Founded in 2013 by Okechukwu Ofili, the platform aimed to empower authors by delivering their works directly to readers through a familiar medium—their phones. Despite commendable efforts and a supportive community, the closure became inevitable, marking the end of a decade-long journey.
TSA Contemporary Art Magazine, which evolved from The Sole Adventurer (TSA) blog in 2018 on the other hand, provided a platform for critical dialogues, representation and documentation of contemporary African art. Founder Bukola Oyebode reflects on the magazine’s legacy, emphasising its role in stimulating young talents in Nigeria’s art scene.
“In conversations with Tandazani Dhlakama, curator at the Zeitz MOCAA and Marie Cecile Zinsou, founder and president of Fondation Zinsou, I talked about my motivations to start The Sole Adventurer and how it expanded into TSA magazine in 2018. Then, in an interview on ‘Today on STV’, a breakfast show in Nigeria, I expanded on that. At the heart of my motivation was a desire to fill critical gaps in the local art community and in the larger African art space,” Oyebode stated.
“In the last eight years, TSA has contributed to critical exchanges, representation and documentation of contemporary African art in tangible and immeasurable ways. We are proud of our work and hope it will continue to resonate far longer. Among our favourite editorials is the #SocialSolidarity page, which felt like an anchorage during a precarious and uncertain time. If there is a legacy which TSA leaves behind, it would be stimulating young people in Nigeria to begin a professional career in the art world. TSA contributed to exposing young artists and art enthusiasts to the broader African and diaspora art world. It was also a space for young critics to sharpen their skills while we courted the trusted words of the established voices. We produced different projects such as Art Forum Africa with Wana Udobang, collaborated on mentoring young female artists, curators and writers, organised art tours and workshops for young people from marginalised communities, and the TSA Art Writing Master Class led by Dr. Chika Okeke-Agulu. Our last project, Collector’s Series: Artists & Cities, continues to gather heartwarming reviews while inspiring more interest in contemporary African art beyond the familiar”.
TSA’s diverse projects, collaborations, and editorial contributions have left an indelible mark on the art community.
Oyebode expressed gratitude to supporters, sponsors, contributors and readers who played pivotal roles in TSA’s journey. Notable figures like Taco Westerhuis, Roli O’tsemaye Afinotan and the late Bisi Silva are acknowledged for their contributions. The magazine’s legacy is further celebrated through the preservation of its site as a lasting archive, ensuring accessibility for those seeking artistic inspiration.
As TSA Contemporary Art Magazine bids farewell, Oyebode hints at new endeavours with the TSA Ideas Lab. The legacy of creating at the edge of impossibility is carried forward onto new paths. Readers are encouraged to explore the TSA website and social media pages, which will remain accessible as a valuable resource.
The closures of Okadabooks and TSA Magazine mark significant shifts in the digital literary and artistic landscape in Nigeria. As the digital realm continues to evolve, the impact of these closures on creators and audiences alike remains a topic of reflection and conversation within the artistic community.