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Alatise’s ‘Alter Native Artists Initiative’ boosts art residency


A set of sculptures titled Sleeping Beauty by Peju Alatise

Support for artists, at local and international levels, gets a boost with a new platform known as Alter Native Artists Initiative (A.N.A.I.). It’s a non-profit outlet for the visual arts in Nigeria, founded by artist and architect, Peju Alatise. According to Ayodeji Rotinwa, who is ANAI’s Communication Manager, Alatise has chosen to give back to the art industry in Nigeria by setting up the platform.

In its mission statement, A.N.A.I. is projected as space for the promotion of artistic and community development in Nigeria. It will bring together emerging and established artists, as well as the local community on a platform of mutual exchange, learning, and innovation.’

The foundation will provide space, resources, and practical training for Nigerian and international creative practitioners. It will also hold residences and trainings, facilitate cultural exchanges between international artists and local ones. Other programmes, include building capacity of women in the immediate community through training in creative practices to create goods and reduce the barrier to entry into the craft market, provide space for artists to engage in experimental, traditional and contemporary projects, and also house a ceramics studio – the first of its kind in Nigeria – with a view to breathing life back into the once vibrant ceramics industry in the next five years of operation.


ANAI’s Arts Advocacy is practical in nature, taking the form of training, provision of infrastructure, and artists’ residency, whilst also facilitating the creation of new collaborations between creative practitioners and the local community. The foundation aspires to become a custodian of some longstanding creative and cultural industries and practices in Nigeria. In doing this, ANAI bridges the divide between the traditional, contemporary and the experimental, favouring community involvement in a way that encourages learning, empowering the people of the community and making positive contributions to their local economy.

“Our mission is to create sustainable infrastructure that supports creative practitioners in Nigeria and to empower those actor within our community and ourselves on our own terms. To achieve this, we have a 5-year strategy for 2017 to 2022. This was created in consultation with partners, including professional artists, art institutions, legal advisers, architectural consultants, and business consultants. To deliver on the strategy, we have the following objectives as guidance: “Filling the gaps in formal visual arts education with practical training, building a bridge between local and international artists, creating a platform for exchange of ideas, culture and experiences, providing facilities for artists to engage with their audience, providing a space for artists to document their works, facilitating artistic projects that involve the community, collaboratively, and developing the community by facilitating practical training programmes.

ANAI Foundation runs a variety of initiatives designed to support and promote artistic endeavors. One of the critical ways we do this includes our funded artists residency and professional development programmes include facilitator residencies (funded by ANAI partners and sponsors), emerging/younger artists residency program (funded by ANAI Foundation) and artists residency programme (funded by applicants).

The Board of Trustees: Mr. Folusho Phillips, Mrs. Habiba Balogun, Mr. Olufemi Akinsanya, Mr. Adeyemo Shokunbi, Mrs. Onsu Wegner, Mr. Bola Asiru and Ms. Olapeju Alatise.

The Alter Native Artists Initiative draws its name from a play on the word, ‘alternative.’ The non-profit seeks to alter the current state and nature of artists for the better, elevate the standards of what is native or natural to them. “ANAI is the first purpose built residency of this magnitude in Nigeria. It will train emerging and established artists. It will provide space for them to engage in self—chosen experimental, traditional and contemporary projects taken on board by the foundation through applications or produced through training programmes.


“ANAI intends to be a custodian of longstanding creative and cultural industries and practices in Nigeria – particularly in ceramics. It will house a ceramics studio – a first of its kind in Nigeria that would hopefully serve as model inspiration for ceramics micro industries across the country – and kick start the creating of quality, indigenously made ceramic goods. It may be interesting to note that as of right now, Nigeria imports ALL of the ceramics it consumes. Nothing is produced locally. Not your coasters, floor tiles, teapots or water closets.

ANAI will be a bridge of exchange between international and local artists. World class experts in chosen mediums will train local artists on same. Local artists will engage with industry best practices. International artists will tap inspiration from the cultural and artistic wellspring that is Lagos. The foundation will be a platform for exchange of ideas, culture and experiences.

ANAI is also very passionate about engaging the community around it and pushing artists to do same. It will empower people in neighbouring ANAI sites through training in creative practices and processes that they can then use to improve their creative potential and livelihoods, making positive contributions to their local economy. It will also connect artists to the community as well to facilitate collaborative projects.”

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