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MOWAA In the News

Nigeria Imaginary- Nigeria Pavilion at the 60th International Venice Biennale Coverage

  • The group show “Nigeria Imaginary” will be one of the most ambitious African presentations ever at the Venice Biennale.

    Read here and here

    Also picked up by ArtDaily

  • Nigeria’s optimistic, youthful show, curated by Aindrea Emelife, occupies a decaying palazzo. From its glamorous ruins rises a grand many-faced wooden Igbo figure, suggesting multiple possibilities. Upstairs, among many multimedia presentations, painting wins out: Toyin Ojih Odutola’s flamboyant, elegantly striated female portraits, denoting agency and freedom; Tunji Adeniyi-Jones’s vibrant “Celestial Gathering”, a ceiling painting of figures immersed in foliage, evoking swirling Tiepolos; Yinka Shonibare’s batik-painted bust of General Rawson, leader of the Benin Expedition, caged beneath ceramic versions of Benin’s now restituted bronzes.

  • Curator Aindrea Emelife has spearheaded a new wave of contemporary artists at the Venice Biennale’s second-ever Nigerian Pavilion. Here, she talks about what the world needs to learn about African art.

  • Nigeria Imaginary is the title of the exhibition that Nigeria presents at the 2024 Venice Biennale, curated by Aindrea Emelife – curator of modern and contemporary art at the MOWAA (Museum of West African Art) – and composed of site-specific works.

  • “‘Nigeria imaginary’ comes from two points of departure: It explores the role of great moments in Nigerian history, moments of optimism, as well as the Nigeria that lives in our minds, the Nigeria that could be and is yet to be,” explained Aindrea Emelife, of the presentation she has curated for the Nigerian pavilion, at its inauguration.

  • Nigeria Imaginary – curated by Aindrea Emelife and featuring Tunji Adeniyi-Jones, Ndidi Dike, Onyeka Igwe, Toyin Ojih-Odutola, Abraham Oghobase, Precious Okoyomon, Yinka Shonibare CBE RA and Fatimah Tuggar – takes inspiration from two points of departure. The exhibition explores the role of both great moments in Nigeria’s history – moments of optimism; and the Nigeria of the mind—a Nigeria that could be and is yet to be.

  • "I think a lot about a youth audience, and I certainly had that in mind with this exhibition. The Nigeria Pavilion will tour back to MOWAA (Museum of West African Art) in Benin City, Nigeria – so I was thinking about the local audience also."

  • Using different mediums, the artists explore the many souls of Nigeria that live in their minds, whether as moments in history, nostalgic moods, or visions of the Nigeria that is yet to be. Nigeria Imaginary is an investigation of the legacies of the colonial past in today’s post-independence nation and a provocative imagination of a hopeful, youth-led future.

  • There’s an easy way to tell how popular a national pavilion is at the Biennale: Look and see who’s walking around Venice proudly carrying the tote bag.
    At this year’s event, the bright green tote from the Nigeria pavilion seems to be the one that everyone wants. The bag has the name of the exhibition, “Nigeria Imaginary,” printed on one side, and “Na Condition Make Crayfish Bend,” a Nigerian proverb, on the other.
    Nigeria’s pavilion has caused such a stir here partly because it’s the African country’s first major Biennale presentation. Aindrea Emelife, the pavilion’s curator, has created an exhibition featuring work by eight artists with Nigerian roots that includes stark photography, imposing sculpture and majestic painting.

Nigeria Imaginary Further Mentions:

A lost astronaut, looted treasure and a hit naked Turk: the 60th Venice Biennale- in pictures– The Guardian – Photography by David Levene – April 23, 2024 


Venice Biennale 2024: Diverse Themes Explored by 13 African Nations– Ikenna Churchill for West Africa Weekly, April 23, 2024


Top 10 National Pavilions to Check out During the 2024 Venice Biennale– Shawn Ghassemitari for Hypebeast, April 23, 2024


Venice Biennale Special: Aindrea Emelife interview – Lou Mensah for Shade Podcast (UK), April 23, 2024


Venice Biennale 2024 review – everything everywhere all at once – Adrian Searle for The Guardian, Print, April 23, 2024, Online, April 22, 2024


Katy Hessel’s guide to the 2024 Venice Biennale – Katy Hessel for Harper’s Bazaar, April 22, 2024


6 Standout Pavilions from the 2024 Venice Biennale– Caroline Roux for Galerie Magazine, April 22, 2024


Venice Biennale Pre-Opening 2024: All the gossip and glamour from inside the billionare’s playground– Joe Bromley for Evening Standard, Print and Online, April 22, 2024


Nigeria Triumphs at the Venice Biennale– Lola Bailey, Pan Africa, April 22, 2024


Armed guards, reparations and the lives of others: Venice Biennale 2024 – review– Laura Cumming for The Guardian, April 21, 2024


Venice Biennale Special: Inside the Nigeria Pavilion – Widewalls, April 21, 2024


Art and Advocacy: The Second Nigerian Pavilion at Venice Biennale and Its Echoes in the DMV – Andrew S. Jacobson for The Washington Informer, Print and Online, April 21, 2024


Foreigners everywhere: the 60th Venice Biennale begins today – Roberta Ristow for Vogue Brazil, April 20, 2024


Venice Biennale titled ‘Foreigners Everywhere’ platforms LGBTQ+, outsider and Indigenous artists – Colleen Barry for Asscoiated Press News April 20, 2024

On the Ground – Sarah Douglas for ARTnews – “Breakfast with ARTnews” Newsletter, April 20, 2024


Venice Biennale: our picks of the shows to see in Venice from John Akomfrah to Ethiopia’s first ever pavillion – Elizabeth Gregory, Evening Standard (UK), April 20, 2024


At Nigeria’s Second  Venice Biennale  Outing, Culture Minister Expresses PrideThis Day Live, April 20, 2024


A la Biennale de Venise, douze pays africains battent pavillon – Roxana Azimi for Le Monde (France), April 19, 2024


Venice Diary Day 3: The Biennale’s Best Pavilions Capture the Absurdity of Art in this Moment – Emily Watlington for Art in America, April 19, 2024


Off-Site Exhibitions Review: Responses to Political Instability – Vanessa Peterson for Frieze, April 19, 2024


Don’t miss these 10 pavilions at the 2024 Biennale – Giorgio Aprosio and Carla Tozzi with Alessandro Scarano for Domus, April 19, 2024


The Venice Yearbook: Your Guide to the Longest Lines, Most Promising Debut, and Biggest Drama Queens of the Biennale – Charlotte Burns, Julia Halperin, and Devorah Lauater for Cultured, April 19, 2024


Tops and flops of the BiennaleMonopol, April 19, 2024


The African Countries Showing at the 2024 Venice Biennale – Nelson C.J. and Dennis Ade Peter for OkayAfrica, April 19, 2024


Your Guide to the Venice Biennale 2024: The Artling’s Top Picks – Aena Nabong for The Artling, April 19, 2024


Editors’ picks: Venice Biennale specialArt Basel, April 19, 2024


Five on Friday: April 19, 2024– Caitlin St. John for Hospitality Design, April 19, 2024


8 Hits of the Venice Biennale – Jason Farago, Alex Marshall, Julia Halperin, Jillian Steinhauer and Zachary Small for the New York Times, April 19, 2024


Venice Biennale 2024 review — barmy, bizarre and beautiful – Laura Freeman for The Times UK, Print and Online, April 18, 2024


The 10 Best National Pavilions at the 60th Venice Biennale – Jameson Johnson and Casey Lesser for Artsy, April 18, 2024


The 10 Best National Pavilions at the Venice Biennale, From a Cut-Up Giraffe to Body Horror in a Church–  Alex Greenberger for ARTnews, April 18, 2024


Obaseki showcases Nigeria at 60th Venice BiennaleThe Guardian Nigeria, April 18, 2024


Obaseki showcases MOWAA, global potential of contemporary Nigeria art of 60th Venice Biennale – Emmanuella Oko for Nigerian Observer, April 18, 2024


Your Guide to the 2024 Venice Biennale – Sallie Lewis for Hemispheres, April 17, 2024


15 unmissable pavilions at the Venice Biennale 2024Artequeacontce, April 17, 2024


60th Venice Biennale: Obaseki showcases MOWAA, global potential of contemporary Nigeria art– Eubaldus Enahoro for Obaland, April 17, 2024


When African Countries Debut at the Venice Biennale, the Biggest Challenge Can Be Coming Back–  Angelica Villa for ARTnews, April 16, 2024


Art-World Experts Victoria Siddall, Koyo Kouoh, and Audrey Ou Reveal Their Must-See Pavilions at This Year’s Venice BiennaleCultured, April 16, 2024


A Venice Guide to Art from Africa and the Global DiasporaContemporary&, April 16, 2024


AIR MAIL’s Guide to the Venice Biennale–  Elena Clavarino for AIR MAIL, April 16, 2024


What to See at the 60th Venice Biennale – the Elephant RoundupElephant Art, April 16, 2024


At the 60th Venice Biennale, Aindrea Emelife Seeks To Reimagine NigeriaOkay Africa, April 15, 2024


Nigeria sets up pavilion at International Cultural exhibition at Venice BiennaleNigeria Tribune (Africa), April 15, 2024


Nigeria to showcase artists at Venice Biennale, promoting cultural exchangePulse (Africa), April 15, 2024


FG Nominates Obaseki to Lead Nigerian Delegation to 60th International Art Exhibition in ItalyThis Day Nigeria (Africa), April 14, 2024


Nigeria sets up pavilion at Venice BiennaleVanguard News (Africa), April 14, 2024


Rising nationalism and falling funding are reshaping the Venice Biennale – Fiammetta Rocco for Financial Times, April 13, 2024


Aindrea Emelife: One of the Venice Biennale’s youngest-ever curators is bringing Nigerian art to the masses – Elena Clavarino for AIR MAIL, April 13, 2024


This Year Marks Africa’s Largest-Ever Participation at the Venice Biennale. Here’s What to Expect – Rebecca Anne Proctor for Artnet News, April 13, 2024


Venice Art Biennale 2024: a guide to what to see in and around the city – Amah-Rose Abrams for Wallpaper*, April 12, 2024


Art Basel unveils further highlights for its 2024 edition, including full details of its expanded city-wide program featuring Parcours, the Merian, Film, Conversations, and the Messeplatz projectArt Basel, April 11, 2024