For the past 20 years, Adam&Eve, a luxury store in G.R.A. Ikeja, Lagos had been the home of eclectic household items such cooking wares, utensils, furniture, electronics and more. The story is about to change for a bigger narrative. From June 18 till 25, art collectors, artists and other members of the art community will converge on the brightly-painted building as the first art exhibition, which features the finest of Nigerian artists will run for seven days.
The exhibiting artists are Bruce Onobrakpeya, Kolade Oshinowo, Lekan Onabanjo, Raqib Bashorun, Duke Asidere, Alex Nwokolo, Tola Wewe, Zinno Orara and Fidelis Odogwu.
The managing director of Adam & Eve, Mrs. Modupe Ogunlesi played host to this reporter recently as she uncovered the plans for this mega-mainland art show that is indeed long overdue. As she rightly observed, most of the art exhibitions take place on the Lagos Island, leaving the impression that art is only appreciated and bought by Lagos Island residents.
â€œMaybe people assume that they cannot afford art but I donâ€™t think so,” she said.
Lagos Mainland also boasts of many well-heeled areas like Surulere, Magodo, Maryland, Ikeja, Opebi and Omole, where those with disposable income often reside. Some of these patronise galleries on the Island in the absence of popular art destinations in Lagos Mainland. For this show, emphasis is on aesthetics and functionality of the art works.
â€œI like functional art and I am particular about how your table is presented and how your meal is presented to you,” she explained. “I look at the cutlery, the plates and the glasses. These are the things I find soothing when they are well presented.
â€œWhichever way you look at Lagos, it is stressful- whether you are being driven or not. Therefore, I think people should surround themselves with the things that they consider beautiful so that you can feel that the stress is worth the living. For some, it is manâ€™s creation of beauty, inspired by nature. I think you cannot seperate one from the other. Everything you see in Adam&Eve is picked first on the basis of beauty and its function. If it is functional and it is not beautiful, I will take a second look. And when it is beautiful, I will ask about its functions and when it matches the functions I expect of it, then I will buy it.â€™â€™
Art, for Ogunlesi who has a nice painting directly in front of her table, is like a therapy strategically to provide some sort of escapism for her in the heat of deep business thoughts.
â€œI have heard from people who walk through the store that they felt some calm after sightseeing. I always say if that is how you feel, then you donâ€™t have to buy because you will come back here when you get that feeling. That is why we have been here for 20 years.
â€œWe are showcasing well-known artists because it is our first show and we want the Island to come to Mainland. We will present art in a different way, away from the gallery setting that they are used to. I think it is going to be much more interesting than what theyâ€™ve got so far. Itâ€™s one thing to go to a gallery, itâ€™s another thing to get a special feeling from the art. We will make the art exhibition more regular, perhaps twice a year. The next one can include the budding artists.”
The opening of the week-long show will include cocktails and canapÃ©s, most especially art auctions that are capable of leaving the mouth agape.
â€œOn the evenings of most of the days, thereâ€™ll be something special. We are going to auction a 100-year old pot. That is the highlight. We also have 40, 30, 10 year-old pots to auction,â€™â€™ she disclosed.
Lekan Onabanjo is the curator for this show that is not necessarily driven by financial gratification. The artists are established names in the art and their desire is to talk one-on-one with the visitors during the show.