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She Leads Africa: 10 Tips For Organising An Independent Art/Design Exhibition in Lagos

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dreamstime_m_27567943To artists and designers, exhibitions are very important. In fact, they are akin to gigs and appearances musicians make. Exhibitions are a good way to talk to people about your art, meet prospective buyers and patrons and generally reach more people. Now, most people think you need to have a gallery or art-house to have an exhibition. However, more and more independent art exhibitions are put together across the world.

Three months ago, I had an exhibition titled, “The Philosopher’s Muse: An alternate art exhibition” in Lagos, Nigeria. I’d like to share firsthand how you can pull off a great event.

Now, the first step is to have all your art works completed first. This way, you don’t run into any future troubles. Once you’ve done this, you’re ready to start.

Build a committee
The committee can be made up of people you have employed or friends and family. No matter what, always start with a committee. Tell as many people about your idea as possible to get their take and then have some of them help make your idea a reality.

Create a budget
With the help of your committee, you would need to decide on a budget for the event. Stick to it closely and don’t forget to factor in marketing costs.

Get a space
If you can get a gallery space, that would be amazing. If you can’t, there are tons of other types of spaces that can be used. Think of bars, garages and so on. If you’re in Lagos, you can reach out to Sao Café, Blue Mahogany, StrangerLagos, Ice cream factory, iamisigo store and Kia Motors. These are a few places in Lekki that seem to be game for such events. If you don’t want to go with them, you can get a garage, a white space, a store or a room to host your first exhibition.

Invite other artists
Always do this. Two heads are better than one and it’s a great idea to invite other artists to exhibit with you. This will require drawing up an arrangement with them.

Publicise your event
There are a number of blogs which would be happy to publicise your event for a small amount of money or for free depending on your agreement. Some of these blogs may not be powerhouses in the blogging world but they reach the right crowd. A number of examples are NTDIL, FOMO, The Sole Adventurer, UnravellingNigeria, Vunderkind, The Naked Convos ,,

Also, getting your event on a free events platform may help the turnout of the event.

Upload the details of the exhibition
Having all the details of the exhibition on your Facebook page or website will cut the cost of publishing exhibition material. It will also get other people who may be unable to make it to the exhibition aware of the event.

Rent or loan a small set of speakers for music. Then organise caterers to provide small finger foods and drinks so your guests know you appreciate them for coming. Yellow Canopy is an affordable option for event catering.

Send invites
After publicizing the event, don’t forget to send out personal invites to people you want to see at the event. These could be influencers, mentors or others.

Set up early
Before the event, try to set up a day before. Have the name and titles of the works you’ll be exhibiting neatly placed near the pieces.

Have a good time
At this stage, you have done all you can. It’s time to have some fun. Enjoy it knowing that no matter what, you have taken the first step in your career. This is good news.

Morountodun Obaigbo is a contributor to SLA. She is a new age creative designer with a niche in creating synergy between metal, graphic and interior designs. Morountodun’s Benin Kingdom heritage, her degree in Metal Design from the University of Benin and internship with traditional casters from the renowned Igun street lend depth, breath and textures to her works. For more articles like this, join the SLA community here.

Photo Credit: Hupeng |

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