Guest Artists Space, an Initiative of Yinka Shonibare Foundation Launches in Nigeria

Friday, March 4, 2022
Guest Artists Space, an Initiative of Yinka Shonibare Foundation Launches in Nigeria

The Guest Artists Space (G.A.S) Foundation, an initiative of renowned Nigerian-British artist, Yinka Shonibare CBE RA, recently welcomed cultural stakeholders to the opening of its new space designed for artist and creative residencies in Lagos.

The Guest Artists Space (G.A.S) Foundation, an initiative of renowned Nigerian-British artist, Yinka Shonibare CBE RA, recently welcomed cultural stakeholders to the opening of its new space designed for artist and creative residencies in Lagos.

The G.A.S. Foundation has established two structures in Nigeria for the program. One located in Oniru, Lagos State and the other at Ijebu, Ogun State.

Designed by Ghanaian-British architect, Elsie Owusu in collaboration with Nigerian architect, Nihinola Shonibare to execute the delivery and interior finish, the Lagos building is a modern structure with a central courtyard, concrete finish and elements of historical expressions from the 60s, such as the use of terrazzo flooring. Planned to maximize space and explore the use of natural elements as much as possible, the building boasts of being as environmentally friendly, with most of the natural materials sourced locally.

Although, still a work in progress, the building also serves a quaint appeal with a ramp designed to wrap around the building, going all the way from the ground floor to the roof top. The ramp which also serves as an alternative route for a handicapped person, will have book cases with books trailing along for people to experience as they go on the ramp all the way to the roof top - which is perhaps the most charming part of the building - where a garden has been installed.

L-R: Bimpe Nkontchou, Director, Guest Artists Space Foundation & Yinka Shonibare Foundation, Yinka Shonibare CBE RA, Temitayo Ogunbiyi, Director, Guest Artists Space Foundation and Belinda Holden, Managing Director, Yinka Shonibare Foundation at the press launch of the Guest Artist Space (G.A.S.) Foundation in Lagos on Friday 25 February 2022.

As part of the launch, an exhibition titled Timed Entrance: Selections from the Private Collection of Yinka Shonibare CBE RA, is on display around the building, including the gallery, resident rooms and common rooms. Curated by Temitayo Ogunbiyi, who is also one of the directors of the residency programme, the works on view include works of photography, paintings, sculpture, and mixed media works from artists like Khadija Saye, Abe Odedina, Rotimi Fani Kayode, and Yinka Shonibare CBE RA. The exhibition encourages visitors to navigate the G.A.S. Foundation space while considering contemporary art in conversation with works from Nigerian modernism and antiquity.

The second building located in Ijebu town, Ogun State sits on a 54-acre ecology green farm and is designed by Papa Omotayo of MOE+, with interior design by Temitayo Shonibare. The structure will simultaneously provide a residency space for artists, scientists, agriculturists, and researchers, while serving as a means of sustainable agriculture to address issues of food security for the local community.

Conceived in 2019, both spaces reflect Shonibare’s ongoing beliefs in the relationship between art and social justice, showing how the combined disciplines of architecture, art and science can contribute to the local ecosystems, food security and creativity. Prior to the establishment of this project, Shonibare had a space for young artists in England, which he ran for about 10 years.

“All artists need inspiration. By bringing artists from different part of the world, there will be room for knowledge sharing and opportunities for our local artists to develop faster and better. This residency will provide the space for that… This is not only artists coming from abroad, but also about us, our Nigerian artists talking and also having the same opportunities,” said Shonibare, at the opening.

To buttress this, Temitayo Ogunbiyi said, “Our main goal is that the work with the foundation will have economic impact through cultural direction and exchange. We strongly believe that there is strong potential in the cultural sector.”

The G.A.S international residency program which is now formally receiving applications for the first edition of the G.A.S Fellowship Award, is open to artists and creatives working in the fields of contemporary art, design, architecture, agriculture and ecolog. The space will provide resources for research, experiment, knowledge sharing and work development.

For this edition, three one-month residencies will be offered to Nigerian and West African creative practitioners between May 2022 and March 2023, with two taking place in Lagos and one at the G.A.S Ecology Green Farm, in Ijebu.

Fellowships are fully funded and will offer the following:

- A room and board/ work area

- A stipend of $500

- Access to a wide range of resources and support

Criteria for Application

Applications will be received from emerging practitioners with less than 5 years of professional practice in all creative disciplines.

Guidelines for Submission

- A pdf portfolio of 5-10 images (for video work please limit clips to 3 minutes in length)

- A CV

- A brief proposal indicating how you would use a one-month residency to benefit your creative development submitted in either written format of 500 words or a 3-minute video clip.

Submission Deadline: Midnight, March 20, 2022.

G.A.S. Foundation receives strategic and fundraising support from the Yinka Shonibare Foundation, a charity registered in England and Wales. G.A.S. will welcome its first set of residents and fellows from April 2022.



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Roman Pyatkovka, “VELVET SADNESS”, (1996), photograph glued on velvet passe-partout (paper).

Roman Pyatkovka, “VELVET SADNESS”, (1996), photograph glued on velvet passe-partout (paper).


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