Arab influence on African art

Nigerian artist tells us what brought her to Dubai and offers insight into the West African art scene.

In the studio

Why did you come here?
I came to Dubai because I wanted change. I wanted to know how it felt to live outside of Nigeria. The art scene is fabulous here, it’s foreign to me, I don’t know much about Arabic arts but it’s beautiful. I see the place as a challenge, and I’m enjoying it.

What’s the Lagos art scene like? How does it compare to this place?
Lagos’ art scene is huge, you see all styles of paintings and ideas, which are constantly changing. Half of the population is very artistic in Nigeria. But because of that, it’s very hard to get into a Lagos gallery. You need to be able to convince them that your work is special; you have to show a unique balance in your work that will set you apart. In Dubai I think it’s slightly different – people are prepared to come to you about your work. That’s the feeling I’ve had so far.

Has your style of painting changed since you came here?

There is a lot of Arab influence in Nigeria; before living here I had no idea how vast that was. I want to go back and research that influence in my country. I’m getting a lot of inspirations from the galleries and art you see here and the appearance of Arabic women, the covering of the face and the clothes, is starting to filter into my work. It’s challenging to paint but can look very nice on the canvas. But I will always paint Africa in some way. That’s how I speak.

Are you an artist based in Dubai and looking for representation? Email christopher.lord@itp.com, attaching a sample of your work.

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