Women in Visual Arts

Art Forum Africa (AFA) is a discourse initiative that seeks to address matters that concern artists, curators, collectors, governments, art and culture managers, and others that are involved in art in Africa. 

The forum is created by Bukola Oye of The Sole Adventurer and Wana Udobang of  Wanawana.net.

This maiden edition of the forum proposes to answer  the question:  “Where Are The Women In Visual Arts?”, which will hold on November 28, 2015 at Ford Foundation, 105 Close, Banana Island-Ikoyi , Lagos. 

With this maiden edition, Art Forum Africa seeks to ask questions regarding representation, exposure and prominence on women in the visual arts. Co-founder of AFA, Wana Udobang of WanaWana, says: ‘It’s important that women are not written out of the historical narrative in visual arts. It would be doing our future and the future of emerging artists a great disservice. The arts are about story-telling and this also means that we will experience the dangers of shutting out diverse narratives’

In Nigeria, the numbers of women presently in art schools are not impressive. It is even worse that the figure drops further as they move into the creative market. This makes one wonder: unlike other areas in the creative industries, why do women become less interested in visual arts in education and further on in the real world?   

We hope that this status quo can be changed if we identify the barriers that are holding women back. Importantly, we want to bring this discussion to the consciousness of decision makers – women AND men - who may be able to bring change. 

Art Forum Africa is supported by the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Ford Foundation, Ajeast Group, Bella Naija and Zebra Living. 


Peju Alatise

Peju Alatise is an artist and architect based in Lagos, Nigeria. Her art reflects a strong focus on the significance and power of womanhood. Alatise uses clothing in her art as a literal and metaphorical representation of humans. She hopes that the resulting sense of emptiness gives the audience a moment of inflection, and an incentive to question prefabricated beliefs. She is inspired by artists such as David Dale, Bruce Onabrakpeya, Susanna Wenger, Ai Wei Wei, Louise Bourgeois and Do Ho Suh. Peju Alatise is regarded as the highest selling female artist of contemporary art from Nigeria. 

Azu Nwabogu

Azu Nwagbogu has platform called Female Artists’ Platform, a part project of the Female Artists Development Project, an annual initiative to promote a more gender equal creative industry and also the founder and director of the African Artists’ Foundation (AAF), a non-profit organization based in Lagos, Nigeria, and dedicated to the promotion and development of contemporary African arts and artists,with the aim of unearthing and developing talent in Nigeria. In 2008, Nwagbogu founded the National Art Competition, an annual arts competition in Nigeria that provides a platform of exposure to emerging Nigerian artists. He is also founder and director of the LagosPhoto Festival, an annual international arts festival of photography, which brings leading local and international photographers into dialogue with multifaceted stories of Africa. Nwagabogu has served as a juror for the Dutch Doc and the POPCAP Photography Awards, and was a nominator for the Discovery Award at the Rencontres d’Arles Photography Festival in 2014. 

Ugonma Adegoke

Ugoma Adegoke trained as an economist and corporate finance professional. Today she is a creative entrepreneur, some might call her a one-woman riot. Ugoma is a tireless community builder, adventure and creative force. She directs the workings of the award-winning and much-loved fashion brand, Zebra living. She produces experiential events and programs inspired by Nigeria’s rich cultural and multi-arts heritage under the auspices of The Life House which she founded with her husband, Dayo Adegoke. Ugoma created the WOMAN RISING Music Concert and Arts Weekender, an annual commemoration of International Women's Day and a glorious celebration of women in the arts and women who enable the arts.She co-founded and directs the Lights, Camera, Africa!!! Film Festival which has emerged as the most prominent public film festival celebrating the best of African and independent cinema in Nigeria today. Ugoma’s personality inspires trend-setting and taste-making directions in fashion, art, culture and lifestyle.