On Sunday, 23rd April, distinguished guests and connoisseurs from Lagos’ buzzing arts ecosystem gathered at Guest Artists Space Foundation for an evening celebrating international creativity and culture. The special moment was generously organised and facilitated by creative entrepreneur, cultural curator and founder of BLOOM Art, Ugoma Ebilah and offered visitors the opportunity to get an intimate glimpse into the practice of current G.A.S. residents Tunji Adeniyi-Jones, Laeïla Ajovi, Chiizii, and Tobi Onabolu.
Following an open address and presentations from the resident artists who, though currently convened in Lagos, are typically based across Benin, the US and the UK, guests were taken on tours of the impressive G.A.S. Lagos building. The structure set across four floors was designed by British-Ghanaian architect Elsie Owusu in collaboration with Nigerian architect Nihinlola Shonibare and includes a library, live/work units for the residents, a studio/events space, and courtyard where a jazz trio entertained the small crowd throughout the evening.
Meanwhile, the dynamic studio spaces showcasing evolving sketches, collages and paintings by practitioners Laeïla Adjovi and Chiizii proved to be a popular gathering point for conversation and networking and allowed the artists to meet some of the most important professionals and tastemakers working and living in Lagos. The Foundation itself is a Nigerian non-profit dedicated to facilitating international cultural exchange and developing creative and research practices through residencies and collaborations. It was established in 2019 by British Nigerian artist Yinka Shonibare CBE RA and an esteemed board of Directors. G.A.S. would like to extend heartfelt thanks to Ugoma Ebilah and BLOOM Arts for their generous support and guidance in delivering an unforgettable evening that will no doubt germinate further flourishing connections.
G.A.S. residents and Directors with the event host. L-R Niyi Adenubi, Laeïla Adjovi, Temitayo Ogunbiyi, Tunji Adeniyi-Jones, Chiizii, Ugoma Ebilah and Tobi Onabolu.
G.A.S. Residents Tobi Onabolu, Laeïla Adjovi, and Tunji Adeniyi-Jones
Nadine Siegert and Femi Akinsanya during a studio tour with Chiizii.
Event guests during a G.A.S. building tour led by residency and Projects Coordinator Adekunle Adeboye.
Laeïla Adjovi addressing guests during the Q&A session.
Director of Goethe-Institut Nigeria, Nadine Siegert discusses her ongoing relationship with G.A.S.
Laeïla Adjovi discussing her practice with Director of Kó Art Space, Kavita Chellaram.
ABOUT UGOMA EBILAH
Ugoma Ebilah (Lagos, Nigeria) is a veritable multi-hyphenate. Trained in economics and business, she started her career as an oil and gas analyst before gaining further work experience in real estate and principal investments. Her first entrepreneurial foray was in hospitality which saw the setting up of the eclectic and multi-function space, The Life House.
Ugoma’s current venture is BLOOM Art, a portfolio gallery and private art salon set in the heart of Victoria Island. In her role as Founding Director and Chief Curator at BLOOM Art, she has curated and produced exhibitions with some of the most exciting and accomplished modern and contemporary artists including Muraina Oyelami, Tam Fiofori, Marcia Kure, Uchay Joel Chima, Lemi Ghariokwu, Gbenga Offo, Victor Ehikhamenor, Angela Isiuwe, Rom Isichei, Olu Ajayi and Tega Akpokona. She has also executed the biggest private secondary market art sale in Nigeria to date.
Ugoma has been identified as a veritable tastemaker and dynamic force on the Nigerian art scene which has seen her curate numerous art and culture projects for clients including Constant Capital, First Bank, Microsoft, Stanbic IBTC, Rand Merchant Bank, Helios Investment Partners, Heritage Bank, McKinsey and Coronation. She is currently building Mbari Kola; a house of development for artists and people who enjoy the arts, which is set to impact many angles of the Nigerian and African art space.
Ugoma Ebilah Portrait. Photo courtesy of Ugoma Ebilah.