Friday, 16 August 2013

For Nigerian artists, 'Artworld' of materials blossoms

By Tajudeen Sowole

When artists and art lovers joined the management of foremost art materials group, Ab Artworld for the opening of a new facility at Ojuelegba, Lagos it was a celebration of over 20 years of feeding Nigerian visual arts with quality art materials.

Currently operating with branches in Ikoyi, Surulere), Ibadan, Benin, Port Harcourt and Abuja, the headquatre was formerly located on Ojuelegba road. On this Saturday afternoon, activities and attention moved just few metres away to the new head office, a four-floor building off Ojuelegba rood, Surulere.

Elated by the high volume of well-wishers, mostly artists, the Chief Executive Officer, Alex Ewuzie stated that the organization, since inception has achieved “key milestones” in the business of supplying materials for the creative industry. 

The ultimate goal of Ab Artworld, he stressed is about affordable, but quality art materials. “In line with our core vision and mission statements, we are committed to fostering the easy and affordable access to quality art materials, books and equipment that would improve and sustain the world acclaimed outcome of the visual arts industry in Nigeria”.
Painter, Kolade Oshinowo (left), printmaker, Dr Bruce Onobrakpeya and CEO, AB Artworld, Alex Ewuzie during the opening of the head office in Lagos

And quite thoughtful of the management; a gallery for art exhibitions has been included in the new head-office. If the posture of Ab Artworld, by having an inaugural exhibition at the opening was anything to hold on to, artists may heave a sigh of relief; an exhibition space on the Lagos mainland provides alternative to the art gallery spaces in choice areas of Lagos and Victoria Islands. 
Also, a studio space is available for artists who wish to work outside their private environment.

Ewuzie explained that the art gallery and studio spaces are for emerging and established artists to enhance and show their work, thereby “fostering and developing critical/artistic dialogues”.

For the maiden exhibition as part of the opening ceremony, works of Fidel Oyiogu Jefferson Jonathan, Tyna Adebowale, Peter Akinwunmi and Victoria Udondian were on display.

The curatorial consultant of the gallery, Jude Anogwih noted that the artists selected for the show “represent the diversity and dynamics of Nigeria’s fast rising art profession”. He assured that, indeed, “more exhibitions are coming before the end of the year”.

Beside exhibition, the gallery, Ewuzie added will be available for gathering of artists “for workshops, seminars, and creative interactions thus providing needed opportunities for emerging artists to learn, work and share confidently their work”.

Shortly after declaring the Ab Artworld building opened, the chairman of the occasion and master printmaker, Bruce Onobrakpeya stated that the new art material centre “is a sign that the Nigerian art industry is really growing”. He noted that it’s not surprising such a development is coming from Ab Artworld, “having been consistent for a long time”. 

Recalling how Artworld shop pleasantly made him “embarrassed” himself some years ago, prolific painter, Kolade Oshinowo said he used to think that the best of art materials were not available in Nigeria, until he was proven wrong by Ab Artworld. “I was so elated after buying an easle with wheels in London. But I later saw the same brand and exact quality when I got to Alex’s shop”. More importantly, the tool, Oshinowo disclosed was “even cheaper here than the one I bought abroad”.
 
Ewuzie argued that the Nigerian creative environment is “promising, with increased patronage of art”. His organisation’s “corporate interest, through this one-stop facility”, remains strong, he assured.

Ab Artworld’s company profile states that it is Nigeria’s leading wholesale and retail outlet for fine art, graphics, craft and architectural materials in Nigeria anda leading provider of quality picture and art framing services.

The organisation enjoys a wide range of technical and trade support from our overseas Partners in the United Kingdom, United States of America and China. It has sole franchise for the the world’s leading art material brand, Winsor and Newton range of products in Nigeria as well as retail other top brands like Emafyl frames, Rotring, Schneider, Reeves, Polymark and Staedler. It also has strong retail relationship with over 20 other leading art material retailers nationwide.

It’s mission statement assures customers with the most comprehensive range of quality products at competitive prices while guaranteeing both satisfaction and a worthwhile experience.
 In making the mission a reality, AB Artworld seeks to pursue a transformational agenda driven by the quest for excellence in all facets of our operations. 

"It's a journey based on our realization that great organizations that outlast successive cycles of harsh economic conditions and remain in leadership positions over the long term all have one thing in common".

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