Lagos City of Hustle Builds an Art Ecosystem b

By Siddhartha Mitter

The New-York Times Feature

…A BACK STAIRWELL in a shopping mall hosts one of Lagos’s sharpest artist-run spaces: The Revolving Art Incubator, in the Victoria Island business area. It is a vertical project, making an exhibition and event site of steps and landings.

Lately a gargantuan wood figure wearing a cap has dangled three stories down in the stairwell, with small counterparts on the landings. They represent the “godfathers,” or bosses, who dominate Nigerian politics.

Hundreds of comments found on Twitter on the state of Nigeria were fastened on slips of paper to a wall. Upstairs, old televisions ran footage of each of Nigeria’s past heads of state. Their sound was off. Instead, speakers played clips of animated bus-stop debates..

The incubator holds artist talks and poetry readings, with the audience on the stairs and leaning on railings. Office workers hang around, waiting for the traffic to dissipate.

“There’s something organic about it,” said Jumoke Sanwo, the space’s founder, whose goal is to help emerging artists manage their careers…


Feature 1

At the Revolving Art Incubator, Ayo Akinwande's exhibition, “Powershow II: The Godfathers Are Not to Blame.” They represent the bosses who dominate Nigerian politics.

Credit Ayo Akinwande


Feature 2

Ayo Akinwande, at his installation at the Revolving Art Incubator, with comments on the state of Nigeria. “We have conservations about power in this country all the time,” he said, “but nothing changes.”

Credit Tom Saater for The New York Times