Art in today’s Nigeria


Art in every sense of the word has been one of the best things about life for me. The colors, the blends, the mediums, the artists and their eccentricities. The feeling of euphoria when I enjoy a piece; performance or creative. My inability to thoroughly express this feeling should give you an idea.

Now here’s the irony, I suck at art (visual anyway). My siblings however excel in it. I usually feel so betrayed I can’t even lie. Anyways, that doesn’t stop me from expressing this love as deeply as I can (afford). If you check out all social media platforms, artisans have taken to displaying their work on there. A modern day gallery for creative art, poetry, photography and other fascinating forms. Most of my time is spent appreciating and promoting by retweets, referrals or simply using them as display photos.

The rise of the arts in modern day Nigeria is definitely one thing that gives me immense joy. I usually say I would one day want to sit and watch a group of artists just create. To bask in the wonder that is the evidence of  our godly nature.

This may seem a bit too intense for some people but I am just as unapologetic about it. Being Nigerian, there is often this stereotype about future careers. The arts were seemingly a no go area if it didn’t lead you to becoming a lawyer. A Nigerian child was deemed ‘unserious’ if they weren’t doctors or bankers.

Times however have changed and Nigeria and Nigerians have changed right along. The realization of the artistic talents which lie in their kids, friends or neighbors is being recognized.


Art and the paradigm shift

In the earlier years music was about the easiest form of art to relate to. The lyrics and the rhythm depicted everyday happenings, political issues or love. With legends like Fela, King Sunny Ade, Bongos Ikwue Ebenezer Obe, Alex O, Christy Essien Igbokwe and a whole list of great musicians, how could you not love music?

"Fela Anikulapo Kuti"
“Fela Anikulapo Kuti. Source :”

That was the easy part. The tough part now was accepting the eccentricities that some of these artistes displayed. Take for instance Fela and Charly Boy Oputa, these are two people that have received backlash for standing firm and true to their artistry. This has gone a long way to impact modern day arts in the most amazing ways. The modern day Nigerian music styles, fashion, instrumentals and even lyrics  draw inspiration from most of the artistes of old. Most young artists are on a revolution of their mindsets and are are in a constant course to push the boundaries that restrain their creativity and productivity.

"Charly Boy Oputa"
“Charly Boy Oputa”

Now there’s no denying however that there are still some people who are yet to accept the validity and relevance of the art culture but the growth in this sector gives hope to budding artisans. This covers all forms of art from visual to music to digital artists, makeup artists, dancers, poets and all other mediums not mentioned her or acknowledged as a form of art.

Art and its relevance in society

Art is generally recognized as a tool for self discovery and expression. Although not everyone of us can boast of an artistic prowess, there is definitely no denying how much we see and can relate to. There is an opportunity of expressing emotions and imaginations through art and it proves to be therapeutic. This is not only true for the artist in question but also for those that these messages get to. Some songs over the radio or dance routines or words etched into paintings or in poetry help us feel like we aren’t alone in some situations. This is the power of art.

The economic relevance of art should not be overlooked as well. The organization of exhibitions and shows opens up the public to the services provided by these artists from entertainment to aesthetics to fashion which are all very essential to our day to day living.

Promoting the arts

With arts gaining a wider acceptance and appreciation, promoting it should be top of the list. Instead of former the offhanded acknowledgements, artists should be celebrated. Platforms for the expression of their talents besides the ones created by themselves should be encouraged. Other forms of art should be explored as this not only broadens the mind of the artists alone but those that get to experience it as well.

"Fela touring troupe. Source : Carrey Purcell"
“Fela touring troupe. Source : Carrey Purcell”

This is not to say there haven’t been any of these platforms or a nonexistent appreciation, just an unawareness as regards to the extent to its importance or the unexplored forms as it is.

Do you think art is under appreciated or just ok as it is? Let us know in our comment section below.



4 Comment

  1. Ejembi says: Reply

    Now I’m anxious to see the cube cafe in Abuja.
    Excellent piece !!

    1. Iwuese Ahua says: Reply

      Thank you, Ejay! You won’t regret it, I promise you.

  2. Fadoon says: Reply

    Great piece! People are becoming more aware and it will, I dare say, do even better with time

    1. Iwuese Ahua says: Reply

      Thank you very much!I totally agree and I am so here for it.

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