The Birth of LVI Art Gallery

CEO, LVI Art Gallery, Julius Iyoghiojie

Yinka Olatunbosun

The previous evening, Julius Iyoghiojie, the MD/CEO, LVI Art Gallery had stayed up at the gallery to attend to clients till about 10:30pm. The gallery is barely six weeks old. Last weekend, at a pilot group exhibition, Iyoghiojie spoke about how his 25years of art marketing had culminated into a site-specific art gallery, located in Lekki Phase I.

The brief encounter coincided with the close of the show, “Beauty and the Beholder’’ featuring works of artists such as Bruce Onabrakpeya, Soji Yoloye, Ehigbor O.B.J, Odeyemi Oluwaseun, Alagbada Olayinka, Pitar Alakhume, Joel Utuedor and others.

“We organised the show to create awareness about the gallery,’’ he began. “A stone is thrown into water to cause a ripple effect. We want people to know we are here and we are not just here for today. We are here for good. We have some visitors already and we hope to follow up on them. We need to continually engage our market.

“We are trying to promote the art, the artist and the gallery. We have our imprints in different institutions like the banks, cultural centres like Alliance Francaise, British Council and so on. We will be having exhibitions and other art events from time to time, from solo to group exhibitions. We are looking at promoting the different schools of art in Nigeria wherein wegather their alumni and organize shows”.

Iyoghiojie, who studied Petroleum Engineering at University of Benin (UNIBEN) sees art as an asset, advising that it is better to give someone a gift of an artwork than a phone or a wrist watch. From the paintings of Eyo to the Durbar festival, cultural details are some of the thematic elements in some of the works at the show. Of the over 200 pieces, Soji Yoloye’s works are the most on display. Iyoghiojie explained the reason for such visibility for the artist.

“Soji and I have a very strong relationship. He is one of my earliest artists at UNIBEN. He was in final year in 1994. He was one of the first artists that I started marketing in UNIBEN. Soji is gifted and his works are highly sought after in the industry. There was a time in the whole of Ikoyi and Victoria Island thatthe GTBank offices were decorated with the works of Soji. I am very happy to be working with him. I am looking forward to a solo exhibition with him soon. There is no gallery that doesn’t have a work of Soji,’’ he explained.

Unique for its use of natural light, the gallery is also in close proximity with a popular art gallery in Ikate area of Lekki and isa subset of the LVI Home and Office Solutions with expertise in interior decoration, moving and installations amongst others.