|Visitors at the opening of Vivid Art Gallery|
Modestly situated in the midst of at Abijo business district, Ibeju Lekki, along Lagos-Epe Road, the new facility, Vivid Art Gallery adds to the growing energy of contemporary art being lifted by young Nigerian artists. Established by Jideonwor Gabriel Udoka, the gallery is designed
as an outlet to boost artistic expressions in both critical and commercial appreciations.
A gallery with high headroom, some of the works on display during a visit, a few days ahead of it’s formal opening, include paintings, mostly from young artists, with a few established names. But the director and curator of the gallery assured, “We have more works of masters such as Sam Ovraiti, Ato Arinze.”
Coming from experience that has shown how difficult it could be for young artists to convince galleries to sell their works, the new gallerist said: “I am using Vivid to assist my peers.”
Traditionally, Lagos and Victoria Islands are the ‘ideal’ axis to set up art gallery in Lagos. Ajah appears like a stretch further outside the action spot of art promotion. On setting up the gallery here, Udoka argued that art should be allowed to expand beyond the regular space “by testing other areas too.” In fact, he was sure that “people who live around this area will appreciate art too.”
For Udoka, the challenge of managing a gallery in such a place, which include traveling from Ikorodu to Ajah everyday would not be enough to discourage him. Trained as an artist, but with a passion for promoting art, in addition to creating it, he said, it is not exactly something he can explain in words.
“I don’t just know how I got here. I reside in such a far place like Ikorodu. But I know that setting up a gallery here is one venture that can’t go wrong, and worth lifting.”
He recalled that four years ago, while doing his Higher National Diploma at Lagos State Polytechnic (Laspotech), Lagos, the idea of a gallery has been on his table. It was actually a bigger dream than just a gallery. “I had this dream about setting up a village that will have all creative people such as artists, musicians, actors... everybody.” Perhaps, Vivid Gallery is a starting point towards the larger dream. “Yes, this is a start to that dream.”
For such a young artist going into art entrepreneurship, financing his dream business goes beyond money. “There is no amount of money I could have saved to give me this set up.” But help came from people who shared his dream.
From non-financial assistance, he got help through senior artists he considered “as my mentors such as Abdulsalam Abdul Kareem, K.K. Olojo and Arinze.”
Starting with “more than 20 artists’, the gallery also has other programmes to boost art appreciation. For a start, among my aims is to promote artists.”
Vivid has plans to have its first exhibition in October, showing the works of Abdulsalam, Uzoma Chinedu, Ovraiti, among others.