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Upbeat in Dopemu as Art Trade berths

By Gregory Austin Nwakunor
07 November 2021   |   2:37 am
For Mainland residents, there is something to cheer for with the opening of the Art Trade Gallery, Dopemu. Housed in the Mat & Mic Event Centre, is a must-visit cultural destination

Adetola Adenuga, Eugene Aghimien, Jimoh Lukman, Hanson Okere and Yinka Olatunbosun at the gallery.

For Mainland residents, there is something to cheer for with the opening of the Art Trade Gallery, Dopemu.

Housed in the Mat & Mic Event Centre, is a must-visit cultural destination, as it offers unique and original artworks at affordable prices.

Established after the lockdown in 2020, the gallery was conceptualised on the need to create a space for artists based on the mainland and beyond to showcase their works beyond Lagos Island where many art shows are domiciled.

To create a variety of pieces, the gallery has collected works from both emerging and established artists who have showcased their skills in various media using diverse techniques.

Speaking with the founder, Morounfolu Adesanya, who grew up in the Alimosho area of Lagos State, he reveals that his over the years ties with the council area, reputed to be one of the biggest in the country, led to his decision to site the gallery there.

“I have always been interested in arts and one could notice that most of the art galleries in Lagos, like most entertainment venues, are on the island and Lekki as well as Yaba. When I was growing up, this was not a big deal. I mean; we go wherever the entertainment venue is. But as the city’s urbanisation increases, it is no longer convenient. People want to go to venues that are closer to their homes. And traffic can be hectic,” he says.

To him, “the majority of the artworks are sold at an affordable price. Most people are buying art from where I would call the primary market that is the first to buy the artwork either directly from the artist or the gallery, when you are buying the artworks, usually, the prices are reasonable especially for the young artists. The more internationally established the artists are, the more expensive their artworks would be.”

He adds, “talking from a personal experience, I bought my first artwork as a student and I was buying from a student, so, it was very cheap. We are at a point that if you are really an art lover and you are a young person furnishing your first apartment, you should have one or two original paintings that resonate with you.”

According to Adesanya, “you can get artworks within your budget and original artworks signed by the artists can increase in worth in just a few years. That is something that is valuable in your house.”

The gallery has had a good response from a lot of artists with differing ages, styles and educational backgrounds. “I think the youngest artist is about 22 years old and we have someone in his 50s. I think part of our selling point is that government my management background, I have tried to put in place processes to make sure that we are dealing with our artists with equitable contracts but we are also very transparent so that they can focus on selling more artworks rather than.

We are building a community of creatives and we are focusing on the long term and as long as we are taking care of the community, the business side will take care of itself. As the economy is getting more challenging, people are looking for other ways of investing.”

Jimoh Lukman, one of the artists whose works adorn the gallery walls, says, “I got to know about the place through a friend, who said a new place for art trading has opened. So, I met Mr Adesanya, the gallery owner. He gave us the freedom to do any work.”

Another artist, Eugene Aghimien, a University of Benin-trained painter, says Lukman referred him to the gallery. “I believe that anything he told me will be fine because we have been friends for more than five years. I was sceptical initially and I asked if the artist would not inflate their price, which could hold back their work from selling, he said he would make some publicity, and then, I signed some documents and brought in my works.”

Hanson Chidozie Okere, a sculptor and pyrography artist from Rivers State, who graduated from the University of Port Harcourt, is into pyrography technique.

He says it involves the use of razor to draw with burnt wood. “That’s the medium with which I practice. I learnt the technique in 2015 from a Benue State-born friend. I was in school then, so, I didn’t have much time to practice it for I was still studying at the University of Port Harcourt. I relocated to Lagos in 2019 and as of last year, my work trended on Twitter and that’s where I started.”

For Adetola Adenuga, a multi-media artist, Lukman also introduced him to the gallery. “He told me about this place and I am happy to see a place like this on the mainland. I have been taking my works to galleries on the island. I think this will help a lot of younger artists.”

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