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I Connect With Art No Matter The Medium, Reveals Female Collector

By Bridget Chiedu Onochie, Abuja
15 May 2015   |   11:36 pm
Folake Adebanjo, popularly called Mimi is a household name in Abuja Sheraton Hotels and Towers. A Business AdmFinistrator turned art collector, Mimi is strategicaly positioned at the foyer of the hotel as one walks through the front desk office.

Folake Adebanjo

That is where she has served as a link between artists and their unknown customers for about 10 years.   Interestingly, she does not only collect paintings and indigenous Nigerian fabrics, she also goes beyond the shores of the country to collect crafts and local fabrics from other African countries.

She told The Guardian that beyond the business side the art, she likes to addto guests experience and that perhaps, tells why her office is strategically located the hotel. On what it feels like being a female art collector, she said: “It is interesting.

There is joy in it. You are into something beyond your imagination. It is very beautiful. I am not an artist but I got into it through a friend”. Mimi however noted that as interesting and fulfilling it is to collect art, there is need to connect with an art piece emotionally to act as an efficient middleman between the artist and the potential buyer.

“One thing about art that I know very well is that there is no particular one that interests you better than the other.  Once you get the painting, if you love art, there is a connection immediately you see it.

“When I came in, I could not believe I will just sit down here an watch over artworks. And the lady said, be focused, listen and see. To a point, an artist will bring a painting and gives it a name but when I look at it, I will disagree with the name and go ahead to suggest a more befitting name.

“ I change name of art piece if I see that the original name does not suit it because I am very good at reading a painting. I did not go to school for art but I am so much in love with it to a point that I find if difficult to stop”, she said.   As a intermediary between the artist and the buyer, Mini has come to realize that most of the artists are very understanding and this makes it easier for to connect with whatever artwork they bring to her.

According to her, that is the only way she can add meaning to the message imbedded in the art piece.   “As for the guests, you  want them to understand what is in the art.

And what you need to know in other to collect an art include the scenario, the motif, media and the colours.   “Some guests would want to be connected before they buy and if you are able to connect with the artist, it will be easier for you to connect with the buyer. “This way, both of you come to an understanding.

At times, I understand the work more than the artist, it is possible. Most of the times, the buyers see me and not the artists. For that, I go into the painting myself, very familiar with all the paintings, the details and what is missing.

“To a point now, I am beginning to put a stroke to what I am feeling. Not that I am learning. Sometimes, I sit down and I am feeling something- that I just need to put something down. Art evokes a kind of feeling in you. You collect and connect with the works”.

On the guest experience, she said artworks displayed at corners of the hotel excite guests and boost their tourism experiences.

“Some of the guests may not have been able to travel to other parts of Africa and so, when they see artworks or fabrics from those countries, they are excited, especialy when they know that they are for sale. Then, the next question is ‘who is the artist’? They ask many questions and you are there to answer all of them.

That is the beauty of the whole thing.   Mimi derives so much joy and fulfillment in her chosen vocation that she could not see anything as a challenge.

For her, the fact that the environment is serene and the management of the hotel welcoming, has taken care of any seeming difficulty that may confront her in the course of her business.