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Diaspora artist-architects lift Nigeria at Venice Biennale


Award winning Kunle Adeyemi’s Makoko Floating School at Venice Biennale

Award winning Kunle Adeyemi’s Makoko Floating School at Venice Biennale

Europe-based artist-architect, Ola-Dele Kuku and architect, Kunle Adeyemi, have placed Nigeria on the map of global creativity at the prestigious Venice Architecture Biennale, in Italy.

Kuku, based in Belgium, used his work Diminished Capacity, which opened at the biennale last week to give Nigeria its first national pavilion at the world’s number one gathering of art and architecture, Venice Biennale. Adeyemi, based in The Netherland won a Silver Lion Award for his Makoko Floating School work at the same ongoing Venice Architecture Biennale.

Kuku’s show at the Spazio Punch – Guidecca is ending on November 27, 2016. Recall that Adeyemi designed the outdoor exhibition for 2010 edition of LagosPhoto, in Nigeria. He is also the designer of the proposed 4th Mainland Bridge in Lagos.


The presence of Kuku at Venice is being promoted by Lagos-based art auction house, Arthouse Contemporary after the architect’s participation has been facilitated by Ministry of Information and Culture, Abuja. According to Arthouse Contemporary, the first Nigerian Pavilion at Venice Architectural Biennale has Nkanta George Ufot as the Commissioner. Ufot is Director, International Cultural Relations, Ministry of Information and Culture.

The Nigerian Pavilion is curated by Camilla Boemio with associate curator, Mr. Koku Konu and project manager Fabrizio Orsini. Colaborators and sponsors include the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture, Abuja Nigeria; Embassy of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Rome, Italy; Arthouse Contemporary Ltd, Lagos Nigeria; KU Leuven – St Lucas Architecture (Int Master’s Programme, Gent, Belgium; LMS Gallery, Brussels, Belgium, and Phillipe Laeremans Tribal Art Gallery, Brussels, Belgium.

Curatorial note: Diminished Capacity intends to analyze a historical transaction moment with the ambition to rewrite history, starting from Nigeria to provide unpublished interpretations. In this condition, to rewrite history becomes a necessary evolution. The wrong reading of Africa transforms the continent itself into a country poised in perpetual opposition to restlessness; what is its identity in forms and structures? “Africa is not a country!” In that conflict, the first Nigerian Pavilion wants to prospect new methodologies. Conflict is one of the recurrent themes in the work of Ola-Dele Kuku. The architect–artist sees that as one of the driving mechanisms in our world, and as a tool to set change in motion.

Kuku’s artist statement: “The proposed project theme titled Diminished Capacity is a reflection of the contemporary global phenomenon of ‘Socio-Cultural Conflicts’, with specific focus on the role of ‘Information / Communication’ and the ‘Mass Media’. The exhibition will be presented as a reaction to the frictions of social communication and the mass media, vis-à-vis the notion of a unitary tendency of society and common values. The contemporary sociology of mass media communication reveals a consistent presentation of agendas rather than reports which are illustrated by selected interest in particularities, focus and oversight.’

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