In Yaba, Workspace turns Artspace

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Yinka Olatunbosun

When Ms. Toyin Arowolo conceived the idea of a workspace in Yaba, she planned on creating an environment for individuals who desire to work in an office environment but may not have the financial muscle to secure a conducive space. She opened up TY Workspace and all seemed well except the absence of artworks. In the process of buying and placing the artworks on the walls, her artist relative talked her into making the space a home of art.

The rest is history. Recently, a handful of journalists were invited to the space for a first-hand experience of the new space. It was also disclosed that throughout the working days in December, an art exhibition will hold simultaneously with the original purpose for the space.

Featuring works from printmakers and scholars such as Dr. Aderinsoye Aladegboungbe and Dr. Kunle Adeyemi, the new space is designed to generate new audience for visual arts on the mainland. It has been argued that most collectors of artworks are domiciled on the island. However, some of the biggest art collectors in Lagos live on the mainland.

With the theme, New Space, New Treasures, the exhibition is an attempt to expand conversations around who collects arts and where to collect. While giving the pressmen a foretaste of the show, the CEO, TY Space, Toyin Arowolo, represented by the Office Manager, Gladys Akran, revealed that curating this exhibition at her space is deliberate.

“Our vision is to partner with more artists and showcase their art to the world. This is our first exhibition and we are looking forward to getting the theme into the consciousness of every worker in our community,” she disclosed.

One of the participating artists, Aladegbougbe said there will be lots of miniature pieces on display to encourage new crop of collectors. The artist disclosed that he met Arowolo in Addis Ababa on his return trip from Sweden where he had an art residency programme and struck the art space conversation with her.

While responding to the question on the irony of the show’s showcase of new treasures from long standing artists, Dr Adeyemi argued that art is never old.

“Art is every new to buyers. The creation of art is all-time new. The space is an experimental space for art displays and the ideas in the works are new,” he said.

The rooms in the workspace are named after African gemstones while the walls are tastefully decorated with paintings, sculptures, collages punctuated by no smoking signs.