In Nigeria, there is a perceived general indifference towards art and cultural happenings. Even in a place like Lagos which is considered the hub for creative and artistic expressions, art and culture is an experience and luxury reserved for a certain privileged class. Although in recent times, the attitude is changing and more people are engaging the cultural sphere, there is still a need to ensure that this appreciation grows and spreads to communities with little or no access to the art scene. This task of opening up the Nigeria art scene is one of the key objectives of The Sole Adventurer. We have taken it as our responsibility to build appreciation for art locally, share the news of what is happening in the art scene, make more people aware of artistic practices and cultural activities around them and bring in young people from different communities to the art world they are excluded from by certain limitations.

To make the extended part of this objective a reality, The Sole Adventurer launched an educational art tour project at the beginning of November. The founding editor, Bukola Oyebode, together with a small team of volunteers, led fifteen teenagers from the LOTS Charity Foundation on a two days tour of six art establishments and art events around the city of Lagos. The purpose of the tour was to make an educational and social impact on the young beneficiaries of the welfare center that will create a ripple effect in the near future. They are being exposed to diverse artistic practices, artists, and key practitioners in the hopes that this will develop an appreciation for our artistic history and cultural heritage as well as challenge them to be creative individuals.

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Children of LOTS Charity Foundation at Art Twenty One Lagos to see Namsa Leuba’s show Ethnomodern before it opened to the public. Middle: Bukola Oyebode

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Children of LOTS Charity Foundation with the TSA team at The Bruce Onobrakpeya and the Harmattan Workshop Exhibition at the Lagos Court of Arbitration, Lekki

In Bukola’s words, “Through TSA Art Tours, I want to build a future of curious people, especially young individuals from marginalized communities with no access to the tremendous art in the Lagos art scene. I want more people to encounter art and to be curious, and the best way is to catch them young. Hopefully, these visits to art centers and studios will unlock the thinking of these young people and their own creative abilities. The least of the things we want to achieve is to make them appreciate and value the arts and culture of their society.”  Bukola hopes to achieve this by organizing constant tours with these group of people from different communities to art centers, artist studios other places where they will encounter art regularly.

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At the Stevenson Gallery booth at Art X Lagos Fair

During the two days tour, the group visited Omenka Gallery, Eko Hotel, and African Artists’ Foundation, some of the selected venues for LagosPhoto Festival 2016. They also visited Namsa Leuba’s exhibition before the private preview at Art Twenty One, the long-running Bruce Onobrakpeya and the Harmattan Workshop exhibition at the Lagos Court of Arbitration, and ended the tour at the Art X Lagos Art Fair. During the visits, the teenagers encountered a number of art techniques, mediums and objects they were previously unaware of and they also got the chance to interact with artists and art professionals. It was fulfilling to see them point out excitedly at works they particularly liked, and to hear their comments on the experience in general. They had fun imitating some of the artworks on display after overcoming the initial shyness of being in posh buildings full of art on white walls.

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On a tour of the Bruce Onobrakpeya and the Harmattan Workshop exhibition with one of the tour guides by SMO Contemporary Art

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At the Bruce Onobrakpeya and the Harmattan Workshop exhibition at the Lagos Court of Arbitration

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At Omenka Gallery to see part of the LagosPhoto Festival

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At Eko Hotel viewing images from the LagosPhoto Festival

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(L-R) Bukola Oyebode, Tony Ola, and Namsa Leuba at Art Twenty One

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Watching the behind the scene video of Next Generation Lagos series by Namsa Leuba at Art Twenty One

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The children engaging with the colouring wall at the ArtX Fair

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Watching live art by Uthman Wahaab at the ArtX Fair

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Director of African Artists’ Foundation (AAF), Azu Nwagbogu, welcoming us at AAF’s new office building

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Discussing a video installation by Kenya artist Muchiri Njenga showing as part of LagosPhoto at AAF

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The group with Dr. Peju Layiwola, a Nigerian artist and art lecturer at the University of Lagos

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TSA Art Tour volunteer member from LOTS Charity Foundation with renowned documentary photographer Akinbode Akinbiyi fondly called Uncle Bode at Art X Lagos

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Sandra Obiago Mbanefo, Executive Director, SMO Contemporary Art (in the middle) with the group at Art X Lagos Fair

LOTS Charity Foundation is a non-profit organization founded by Tolu Sangosanya. The center caters to the physiological, social, educational and emotional needs of vulnerable street children and children from indigent families in Ajegunle-Apapa area of Lagos.

TSA Art Tour will not a one-off event. We are open to working with different foundations and schools in different low income earning communities, and with the support of interested people amongst our readers, we will make this a quarterly tour. In addition to visiting galleries and art establishments, one-day-one-artist studio visits will also be organized, to give them an opportunity to engage with artists directly and encounter the creative process in an informal setting. If you would like to be a part of this project or know any organization that would be interested in offering support, please write to us via [email protected]