Yinka Shonibare CBE RA, known for his assessment of thoughts, for example, authenticity, character, imperialism and power relations in often amusing drawings, paintings, sculptures, photos, films and installations, presents through his foundation Guest Artists Space, an altruistic venture for the Nigerian cultural space.
His cultural space aims to open invigorating doors for those working in the fields of contemporary art, design, architecture, horticulture and nature, by providing a space and means to research, explore, share, educate and encourage work.
The main structure, located in Oniru, Lagos, is an advanced Brutalist-style structure that folds into a central patio. Designed by Ghanaian-born British engineer Elsie Owusu in team with Nigerian modeler Nihinlola Shonibare, who is also responsible for the planning and execution of the interior design. The structure is expected to help support cultural exchange by linking African art markets with the global. The space is furnished with living/working units and a multipurpose space for projects and exhibitions.
As part of the opening, an exhibition highlights a selection of works acquired by Yinka Shonibare CBE RA in recent years. This exhibition of photographs, sculptures, paintings and mixed media, curated by Temitayo Ogunbiyi, invites people to explore the space while reflecting on contemporary art in discussion with the works of Nigerian innovation and relics.
The next structure, designed by Papa Omotayo of MOE+ with an interior design by Temitayo Shonibare, is located on the lavish Ecology Green Farm in Ijebu, which produces crops ranging from cassava and cashews to peppers and corn. It will also provide a residency space for artists, researchers, agronomists and scientists. This project has been carried out with a view to an economic foundation and food security for the local community. The creation of this place has remained consistent with the theory of sustainability, using only local materials for the development, including 40,000 blocks produced from dug up soil. The site has an intriguing future ahead of it, with the development of four workshop structures dedicated to carrying out work, including coiling and ceramic production.
For Yinka Shonibare CBE RA, this framework is intended to safeguard the rich vein of know-how that we stand to lose if the state of affairs of the past 30 years continues.