Art & CultureEditors Choice

Stop, Listen!

Adenrele Sonariwo is the founding director of Rele Art Gallery and Rele Arts Foundation and the initiator of YOUNG CONTEMPORARIES, an artist training and residency program providing young Nigerian artists with resources to further their artistic practices.
You lived abroad for several years and then moved back to Nigeria where you have been expanding the Nigerian art scene by exhibiting young contemporary artists, introducing them to both the Nigerian and the international art market. What inspired you to set up the gallery and the foundation?

— I started the gallery about six years ago primarily as a response to what I was witnessing within the art and culture space in Nigeria. I felt like the energy, the spirit of the young people wasn’t necessarily captured within the culture space. As a gallery, we are committed to presenting the works of some of the most dynamic contemporary artists from Nigeria. Finding ways to nurture young artists is what led to the creation of foundation that we launched about a year after the gallery was founded. The foundation is the institution that organizes the ‘Young Contemporaries Program’, which we are now in the sixth edition of; it is a critical platform that provides young artists with the tools and resources needed to navigate the art world. In the last two years, we have incorporated a residency portion where the artists can move outside of their normal day to day life to a serene environment where they can feel inspired, develop their practice while receiving guidance from professionals and other established artists/mentors. It is beautiful to see how it has influenced young artists’ practices and how it has been a catalyst for them to further their careers.

The foundation also organizes the Art Summit, which brings together top-leaders within the art Eco system to discuss issues within the art world.

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*The views of the above article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Africa Speaks 4 Africa or its editorial team.

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