21 Mar 2022

Yinka Shonibare CBE RA launches a New Cultural Centre in Nigeria

Set across sites in Lagos and Ijebu, Guest Artists Space is a non-profit dedicated to facilitating cultural exchange through tailored residencies, public programmes, and exhibition opportunities for creative practitioners from around the world.


The Foundation is a UK registered charity, established in 2019 to provide fundraising and strategic support for the Guest Artists Space (G. A. S.) Foundation in Nigeria, amongst other initiatives. The Foundation is headed up by Belinda Holden and supported by an international board of trustees and an advisory board of prominent, global artists.

Guest Artists Space (G.A.S.) Foundation is an ambitious charity project founded in 2019 by Yinka Shonibare CBE RA and an esteemed board of Directors. It’s set to offer exciting opportunities for those working in the fields of contemporary art, design, architecture, agriculture, and ecology by giving space and resources to research, experiment, share, educate and develop work. February sees the completion of over 24 months of complex building work across the Foundation’s two Nigerian sites. The moment is celebrated in a series of vibrant yet intimate events with cultural stakeholders, all hosted by Yinka Shonibare CBE RA as well as an exciting open call for a new associate fellowship programme.

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The first G.A.S. building located in Oniru, Lagos is a modern, brutalist-inspired structure that wraps around a central courtyard. Designed by Ghanaian British architect Elsie Owusu in collaboration with Lagos-based Nigerian Architect Nihinlola Shonibare of NS Design Consult who was additionally commissioned to execute the interior design concept and delivery, intends to support international cultural exchange establishing connections between Africa’s art markets and the international art community. The space comes equipped with live/work units and an adaptable multi-use project and gallery space. As part of the launch, an exhibition featuring a selection of works acquired by Yinka Shonibare CBE RA over the last 20 years is currently on display in the gallery, resident rooms, and the common areas of the G.A.S Foundation in Lagos. This installation of photographs, sculptures, paintings, works on paper, and mixed media collage curated by Temitayo Ogunbiyi encourages people to navigate the space of G.A.S. Foundation while considering contemporary art in conversation with works from Nigerian modernism and antiquity.

The second building designed by Papa Omotayo of MOE+ with interior design by Temitayo Shonibare sits on the lush 54-acre Ecology Green Farm in Ijebu that produces crops ranging from cassava and cashew to peppers and maize. It will also provide a residency space for artists, scientists, agriculturists, and researchers and was created with sustainable infrastructure and food security for the local community in mind. The build has stayed true to the farm’s guiding ‘sustainability first’ ethos by only using local materials for construction; they include 40,000 bricks made from soil dug up for the foundations. The site has an exciting future ahead with construction on four workshop buildings dedicated to craft practices including weaving and ceramics commencing this spring.

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“The art world needs to evolve – there is a rich vein of talent out there, but we might lose them if the status quo of the last thirty years remains. We are working with the local community, whilst opening doors for the next generation, equipping them to thrive not just survive” said Yinka Shonibare CBE RA.
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G.A.S. Foundation is an evolution of Guest Projects, Yinka Shonibare CBE RA’s long-standing, London-based artists residency project. It receives strategic and fundraising support from the Yinka Shonibare Foundation (charity number 1183321), a charity registered in England and Wales. G.A.S. will begin welcoming an exciting roster of both local and international talent for residencies and fellowships from April 2022.

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