Adeolu Tahouf: The Art In The Art Collector
The business of collecting art is one that will always be remarkable all over the world. Adeolu Tahouf, the owner and founder of “Ogirikan,” in a chat with The Guardian Life takes us through her journey as an art collector; her experiences, challenges and highlights.
How long have you been in the business of collecting and selling arts?
I have been a collector since 1991, and in 2017 I started collecting to sell.
How has your upbringing and education contributed to what you do now?
I am a systems analyst and a computer programmer, but this has no significant influence on what I do now. Growing up, my mother surrounded us with vibrant colours and plants. We lived on big grounds and we were encouraged to plant and wait for the blossom.
What factors influenced your love for art?
Two factors, Love of colours and space. I feel a space is not complete with empty walls and without natural elements.
As a business owner in Nigeria, what are the difficulties you face especially when it comes to arts?’
Storage is a monumental challenge, for artists, collectors and galleries. The industry lacks storage facilities for all concerned.
I believe a wall in a home or an office space should have a work of art. “Ogirikan” in Yoruba means one wall.
What is your favourite work so far and why?
This is tough for me. I love art and I believe there is no bad art. I must have a connection with the art piece. It could be the placement of a dot in the artwork that gives an outstanding balance. I go mainly by my intuition and I must be connected to the piece.
What is the toughest part of collecting arts?
The toughest part for me is assessing whether the artist wants to pursue a career and not give up. Artists have different challenges like we all do. I try to establish a connection with the artists and build relationships with the artists as much as I can.
When compared to other countries, do you think the sales of arts and arts flourish well in Nigeria?
It will amaze you that a fair amount of Nigerians are great collectors, either for aesthetics or for gain. The only thing I would add is most of the artworks are underpriced in Nigeria.
What are the principles guiding your business?
One of my guiding principles is transparency. I consider it essential with artists, as with life.
As a connoisseur of arts, what opportunities do you think exists for artists and art collectors in Nigeria?
We don’t have too many opportunities for artists in Nigeria, not that the opportunities don’t exist. But until there is a powerful government and corporate support, our artists will continue to seek international markets. Take, for example, the Nigerian postage stamps. I believe the government should have a platform for artists to design our stamps regularly. Stamp collection is still a hobby for many. We have great art collectors in Nigeria, my only concern is we don’t have enough auction houses and online auctions and museums for collectors who have taken on the business of collecting great masters. Collectors collect and keep under poor storage conditions. Collectors need to reach out to international auction houses and museums or come together to build a physical museum or an online museum.
The great collectors know themselves. Art is our heritage and part of our history. I cannot emphasise enough that it needs to be preserved.
What has been the highlight in your journey?
I organise an art event for miniature artworks of sculptures and paintings. Which I find is less intimidating for art enthusiasts and new collectors. The fair is in partnership with another young and local gallery like mine. We present works by a minimum of 100 artists annually. We cancelled the 3rd edition in 2020 because of the pandemic. This year we will go online and manage the physical space and observe all safety protocols.