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SMO Contemporary Art’s ‘Joy’ Exhibition Spotlights Nigeria’s Premier Artists and Their Creative Brilliance

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SMO Contemporary Art proudly showcases ‘Joy,’ an exhibition by 21 esteemed artists from the Guild of Professional Artists of Nigeria. These artists, known for their paintings, sketches, sculptures, and mixed-media creations, share messages of hope and resilience. The exhibition takes place at The Wheatbaker, Ikoyi, Lagos, and will be on display until November 17, 2023.

JOY I, 2023 (Acrylic on canvas – 114.3 x 114.3 cm) –  BEN IBEBE b. 1966

This exhibition takes visitors on an enthralling trip through issues such as environmental concerns, the state of our nation, cultural commentary, and tradition. The pieces on display are a monument to the joy that can be found in the artistic process, a joy gained along the sometimes solitary route of creativity. These artists have mentored generations through events, seminars, internships, and apprenticeships. They have shown their works all over the world, making a significant contribution to the expansion of contemporary art in Africa.

Through their craft, they have fostered a sense of innovation and pushing boundaries. Their global exhibitions have also encouraged cultural exchange and appreciation.  Featured artists include Abiodun Olaku, Abraham Uyovbisere, Ade Ogundimu, and more. The works of Gerry Nnubia, Duke Asidere, Diseye Tantua, and Tayo Quaye’s works provide political commentary, addressing our nation’s challenges. Emenike Ogwo’s paintings highlight environmental issues due to global warming, emphasizing their impact on communities.

Duke Asidere, Pure Greed, 2023

PURE GREED, 2023 (Oil on canvas – 144.78 x 106.68 cm) – DUKE ASIDERE, b. 1961

 ‘Joy’ emphasizes urban and rural life, showcasing the importance of love, peace, and safety in families and communities. Portraits by Edozie and Okpu celebrate cultural diversity, while artists like Olaku and Ogundimu explore cityscapes and nature’s healing powers. Chike Nwagbogu, curator and founder of Nimbus Gallery, described these artists as modern-day prophets, sharing their manifestos for a more equitable planet. Established in 2005, GFA members have significantly contributed to African art’s development. 

The exhibition also exemplifies artists’ spirit, reflecting personal journeys and the collective human experience. Dr. Jess Castellote, Director of the Yemisi Shyllon Museum of Art, praised the exhibition’s diverse creations, each artist possessing a unique identity and voice. Likewise, George Edozie, President of the Guild, expressed excitement about presenting this work with SMO and The Wheatbaker, aiming to uplift spirits during our nation’s challenging times.


Derrick Chidumebi is a creative writer and growth marketer hailing from Lagos, Nigeria. He holds a Bachelor's degree in Industrial Chemistry from Olabisi Onabanjo University, Nigeria, and is the founder of The Eko Place, a media/marketing agency based in Lagos, Nigeria. Currently, he serves as a writer for Art News Africa.

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