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N I G E R I A
 
 
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NATIONAL GALLERY OF MODERN ART (NGMA), LAGOS:


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Permanent Exhibition of the National Gallery of Art,
at Entrance "B", National Theatre, Lagos

 

 

The permanent exhibition of the National Gallery of Modern Art, Lagos is divided into eight sections: Portrait Gallery, Works of the Masters and other Nigerian Artists, Sculptures, Ceramics, Foreign Art, Modern Nigerian Art Movements and styles and Nigerian Textiles respectively.

THE PORTRAIT GALLERY SECTION:

Although the gallery is concerned with modern Nigerian art, the National Gallery has gone into history to produce not just the portraits of modern day Nigerian leaders and nationalists, but also the portraits and images of some of Nigeria’s pre-20th century and pre-Independence personalities. These include Oduduwa, Oba Esigie of Benin, Queen Amina of Zaria, Mai Idris Aloma, King Eyo Honesty of Calabar and King Jaja of Opobo, Nnamdi Azikiwe, Alhaji Sir Ahmadu Bello, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Sir Adesoji Aderemi, and all the past and present Heads of State. There is also a special section with the portrait of Aina Onabolu, Chief Hubert Ogunde, Chinua Achebe, Wole Soyinka and Ben Enwonwu, all prominent Nigerian artists (Visual, Performing and Literary).

THE WORKS OF THE MASTERS AND OTHER NIGERIAN ARTISTS SECTION:

This section of the gallery is made up of a collection of modern works of art by some of the leading masters of Nigerian art. It showcases the works of such pioneers and masters of modern Nigerian art as Professor Ben Enwonwu, Akinola Lasekan, Erhabor Emokpae, Professor Solomon Wangboje, Bruce Onobrakpeya, Haig David West, Gani Odutokun and a host of others.

MODERN SCULPTURE SECTION:

The archaeological finds of Nok, Igbo-Ukwu, Ife, Benin, and the lower Niger are evidence of an unbroken art tradition, which covers a period of over 2000 years. This section, displays examples of modern Nigerian sculptures. The sculptures show a marked change from traditional works of art in theme, style and idiomatic expressions. This also implies a change in concept and use. This section presents modern developments and changes in Nigerian sculpture, devoid of the ritual and mystical character of traditional art. Notable pieces here include Sweet Mother, Gelede, Female Figure, Dancing Figures, Iya Ibeji, Eyo masquerade etc.

NIGERIAN CERAMICS:

Pottery is a traditional occupation practiced in many parts of Nigeria. The wide geographical spread of this art is made possible by the location of clay, found along river- beds in different parts of the country. The products of the potter include household utensils as well as memorial sculptures, which are prevalent in some parts of Northern Nigeria. A recent development is the introduction of sculptural ceramics as shown in this section of the gallery. Modern technology has made it possible for pottery to advance from the traditional method of burnishing to the complicated application of feldspar, limestone, silica, sand, and wood ash to effect glazing. The introduction of the wheel as opposed to hard building methods has resulted in new concepts, techniques and styles in modern ceramic art.

ARTWORKS FROM FRIENDLY NATIONS:

A corner stone of Nigeria’s foreign policy is friendship and good will towards all countries. This goodwill has always received reciprocal gestures from various nations with whom Nigeria has had diplomatic relations and many years of goodwill from various countries. The works reflect the creative genius of the artists from such countries, thereby serving as a manifestation of the fact that creativity is an attribute of all mankind. Most of the works exhibited were gifts recieved from friendly nations and peoples.

MEDIA AND STYLES IN MODERN NIGERIAN ART:

This section displays the various media and styles used in executing modern Nigerian visual art. The media range from pencil, charcoal, gouche, paint, water colour, ink, beads etc.

GLASS PAINTING:

Painting on glass (stained glass) is a very old technique used to create designs for churches or galleries or for private collections. Different techniques have been experimented on by Nigerian artists. On display in this section are works produced through glass etching which is gradually gaining recognition and acceptance among modern Nigerian Visual artists and the general public. This section is still growing.

MODERN NGERIAN TEXTILES:

According to modern classification, textile design is grouped under industrial art. However, it is one of the oldest forms of art in Nigeria used in various ways for different purposes. It developed from a humble stage of treating barks and leaves of plants for human clothing to modern sophistication of producing cloth in different techniques for dresses, wall hangings, bed sheets, window blinds etc. It is known that across the country, different methods and materials of producing various textiles have been developed and effectively harnessed to meet the requirements of the Nigerian society. Among the Yoruba, the traditional method of creating pale designs against dark background (Batik) has been popular from the past to the present. So also are the Kano dye pits popular among the Hausas of Northern Nigeria. In these areas, natural dyes and salts extracted from plants (indigo, ash etc) had been effectively used before the advent of modern dyes and industrial salts. Among the Igbo, West of the Niger, Kwara, Benue, Imo, and parts of the South-East, weaving has been the major technique adopted to create intricate designs and patterns on fabric. As in other forms of art, (Sculpture, painting, ceramics etc) Nigerian textile artists heavily draw from folklore and make extensive use of symbols and idioms and even capture contemporary scene. The artists employ natural and abstract shapes to interpret their experiences or transmit messages as the case may be. In some cases, signs and symbols which could only be understood by the initiated are adopted. It is obvious that the Nigerian modern textile industry developed side by side with traditional methods and each helped to enrich the other.

 

 

 
 
 
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