Nigeria has unveiled plans for a pavilion at the 60th Venice Biennale, which runs from 20 April to 24 November 2024. It will be the second time Nigeria participates in the event, following the 57th in 2017.
This pavilion was commissioned by Governor Obaseki of Edo State, Nigeria, on behalf of the Federal Ministry of Culture and Information of Nigeria. Curated by Nigerian-British curator and art historian Aindrea Emeraif, curator of contemporary art at the Museum of West African Art (MOWAA), which has yet to open in Benin, the exhibition is titled Nigeria Imaginary. This exhibition showcases the work of eight Nigerian or Nigerian diaspora artists (Tunji Adeniiy Jones, Ndidi Dyke, Onyeka Igwe, Toyin Oji Odutra, Abraham Ogobase, Yinka Shonibare, Fatima Tagger, and Precious Okoyomon) at various stages of their careers. After the Biennale closes, the exhibition will travel to MOWAA, the official organizer of the pavilion, and will be exhibited in an expanded form in 2025.
In a statement, Emerife asserted that the exhibition, which will take place in the historic palace of Dorsoduro near the Accademia Gallery, will “explore different perspectives and constructed ideas, memories and nostalgia for Nigeria across generations and geographies.” Elsewhere, she acknowledged that the concept fits nicely within the larger rubric of the Biennale.
“It is purely coincidental that the theme of Adriano Pedrosa’s Biennale is ‘Foreigners everywhere,'” said Emeraif. art newspaper. “The words speak to me as words about movement and evolution, finding your own home, and exploring attachment to your nation.”
Obaseki summed up the pavilion’s goals in a statement, stating, “The exhibition, conceived by Ms. Emeraife with a diverse array of accomplished artists, will encourage us to rethink our past in order to build a brighter future for Nigeria.”