The Invincible Hands Exhibition, exploring the history of women in the Nigerian art scene

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The Yemisi Shyllon Museum of Art is pleased to announce The Invincible Hands exhibition opening from August 28, 2021 – January 18, 2022.

The intersection of art and culture has become the breeding ground for conversations that shape our culture in Nigeria. In an age where the information lies at our fingertips, accessibility to the contributions of women in society is more apparent, however, this has not always been the case. We ask ourselves, “in an era where the Zaria Rebels were making their mark, where were their female colleagues? Where are they now?” The ratio of male to female established artists in Nigeria continues to be strongly imbalanced, in favour of men.

The Invincible Hands Exhibition

(L-R top: Susanne Wenger, Princess Elizabeth Olowu, Eunice Okeji, Asabi Bakare,
bottom: Clara EtsoUgbodaga-Ngu, Chief Constance Afiong ‘Afi’ Ekong, LadiKwali).

The  Yemisi Shyllon Museum of Art (YSMA), of the Pan-Atlantic University (PAU), wants to address this disproportion through an extensive art exhibition at the museum. The highly anticipated showcasing titled The Invincible Hands curated by Olufisayo Bakare focuses on the contributions of over 30 female artists whose works include a combination of paintings, photography, tapestry and textiles, sculpture, and mixed media art. Over 80 artworks will be on display, covering different periods and artistic media. They are curated from the permanent collection of the YSMA and from temporary loans by artists and collectors. In presenting these works, we highlight artistic achievements that transcend the stereotyped and reductive achievements of Nigerian women in art. The goal of this exhibition is to celebrate the influence of marginalized female Nigerian artists in the post-colonial and contemporary eras, amplify their work, and bridge inequality gaps in the art sector by placing The Invincible Hands of female artists back into our art education and art history. It aims at being an active agent in giving these artists higher visibility.

Following the ‘Museum Opening of the Year Award’ in 2020, despite the lockdown constraints caused by the global pandemic, it is with an immense sense of gratitude that we look forward to welcoming you to our campus and museum facility in the near future. As we work earnestly to complete plans for the upcoming exhibition, YSMA celebrates our community members for their unwavering support, expressing our gratitude to the sponsors, exhibiting artists, patrons, advisory board, and supervisory council. The exhibition is made possible thanks to the generous support given by Kayode Adegbola, Tola Adesanmi, Demi Adewumi, and Lakunle Runsewe.

About the Guest Curator

With a background in Interior Design, Olufisayo Bakare has trained her eye to find the rare balance between simplicity with African artistry in her work. Her keen interest in ‘carving the phenomenal out of the familiar’ has inspired her curatorial practice by establishing her as an ally in the preservation, documentation, and representation of African culture through various art forms.


Curator: Olufisayo Bakare

The designer-cum-curator pays close attention to the works of indigenous and Pan-African artists and maker-communities by establishing unique platforms for accessibility. Positioned as a cultural gatekeeper of Black histories, she recognizes that educating the masses through artistic and cultural ecosystems is at the bedrock of society. By connecting varied dialogues through an exchange of ideas, Bakare celebrates histories and their underpinned symbology. Having dedicated over a decade of her career to supporting the arts, Bakare has stepped into the limelight by partnering with The Yemisi Shyllon Museum of Art to enforce their mandate by assisting with their mission of educating through the arts.

She is an integral part of the ‘Precolonial Societies of Nigeria’ program, formulating the teaching manual for the Ile-Ife Pre-colonial society. Buttressing this, Bakare is an active member of the ongoing ‘Museums of the Future’ program facilitated by Geothe Institut.

Bakare’s passion for travel, anthropology, and culture has aided several platforms of creative expression with businesses such as Interior Living, and The Yellow of Lagos. She is joining forces with institutions like YSMA to curate exhibitions and constructs site-specific installations within the creative sector and art world.



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