Nigeria Reveals Plans for 2024 Venice Biennale Pavilion

Nigeria has pulled back the veil on plans for its pavilion at the Sixtieth Venice Biennale, to take place April 20–November 24, 2024. This will mark the second time the country has participated in the event, following its inclusion in the fifty-seventh edition, in 2017.

The pavilion is commissioned by Governor Obaseki of Nigeria’s Edo State on behalf of Nigeria’s Federal Ministry of Culture and Information. Curated by Nigerian British curator and art historian Aindrea Emelife, who is curator of contemporary and modern art at Benin’s yet-to-open Museum of West African Art (MOWAA), the exhibition is titled “Nigeria Imaginary.” The show will present works by eight Nigerian or Nigerian diasporic artists—Tunji Adeniyi-Jones, Ndidi Dike, Onyeka Igwe, Toyin Ojih Odutola, Abraham Oghobase, Yinka Shonibare, Fatimah Tuggar, and Precious Okoyomon—of differing generations and at various stages of their careers. Following the close of the Biennale, the exhibition will travel to MOWAA, the pavilion’s official organizer, where it will appear in an expanded form in 2025.

Emelife in a statement affirmed that the exhibition, to be held at a historical palazzo in Dorsoduro, close by the Gallerie dell’Accademia, will “explore different perspectives and constructed ideas, memories of and nostalgia for Nigeria, with a scope that is cross-generational and inter-geographic.” She elsewhere acknowledged the neat fit of the concept within the Biennale’s larger rubric.

“It is complete serendipity that Adriano Pedrosa’s theme for the Biennale is ‘Foreigners Everywhere,’ Emelife told The Art Newspaper. “It speaks to me as a phrase about movement and evolution, finding one’s home, and exploring one’s attachment to nationhood.”

Obaseki in a statement summed up the goal of the pavilion, noting, “This exhibition, envisioned by Ms. Emelife with a diverse roster of accomplished artists, encourages us to revisit the past in order to create a bright future for Nigeria.”

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