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The Invincible Hands

picture of Yemisi Shylon museum
Jun 22, 2021

(L-R top: Suzenne Wenger, Princess Elizabeth Olowu, Eunice Okeji, Asabi Bakare,

bottom: Clara Etso Ugbodaga-Ngu, Chief Constance Afiong ‘Afi’ Ekong, Ladi Kwali).

The intersection of art and culture has become the breeding ground for conversations that shape our culture in Nigeria. In an age where the information lies at our fingertips, accessibility to the contributions of women in society is more apparent, however, this has not always been the case. We ask ourselves, “in an era where the Zaria Rebels were making their mark, where were their female colleagues? Where are they now?” The ratio of male to female established artists in Nigeria continues to be strongly imbalanced, in favour of men.

The Yemisi Shyllon Museum of Art (YSMA), of the Pan-Atlantic University (PAU), wants to address this disproportion through an extensive art exhibition at the museum. The highly anticipated showcasing titled The Invincible Hands curated by Olufisayo Bakare focuses on the contributions of 40 female artists whose works include a combination of paintings, photography, tapestry and textiles, sculpture, and mixed media art. Over 100 artworks will be on display, covering different periods and artistic media. They are curated from the permanent collection of the YSMA and from temporary loans by artists and collectors. In presenting these works, we highlight artistic achievements that transcend stereotyped and reductive achievements of Nigerian women in art. The goal of this exhibition is to celebrate the influence of marginalized female Nigerian artists in the post-colonial and contemporary eras, amplify their work and bridge inequality gaps in the art sector by placing The Invincible Hands of female artists back into our art education and art history. It aims at being an active agent in giving these artists higher visibility.

Following the ‘Museum Opening of the Year Award’ in 2020, despite the lockdown constraints caused by the global pandemic, it is with an immense sense of gratitude that we look forward to welcoming you to our campus and museum facility in the near future. As work earnestly to complete plans for the upcoming exhibition, YSMA celebrates our community members for their unwavering support, expressing our gratitude to the sponsors, exhibiting artists, patrons, advisory board, and supervisory council. The exhibition is made possible thanks to the generous support given by Kayode Adegbola, Tola Adesanmi, Demi Adewumi and Lakunle Runsewe. As plans continue in earnest, further details of the exhibition to be disclosed shortly.

About the Guest Curator

Olufisayo Bakare finds a rare balance between simplicity and African artistry in her work. Her keen interest in carving the phenomenal out of the familiar has inspired her curatorial practice by establishing her as an ally in the preservation, documentation, and representation of African culture. She diligently curates the works of indigenous and Pan-African artists and maker-communities by recognizing and challenging some of the most poignant topics in the arts and culture ecosystem. In line with connecting varied dialogues through an exchange of ideas, Olufisayo reassesses histories and their underpinned symbology. Her passion for travel, anthropology, and culture has given her a platform to curate exhibitions, document societal experiences, and actualize site-specific installations within the creative sector and art world.