December 27, 2021

I’m driven by my passion for creativity — Tiwa Adegbuyi, art curator

I'm driven by my passion for creativity — Tiwa Adegbuyi, art curator

Tiwa Adegbuyi. Photo: Osa Mbonu-Amadi

TiwaAdegbuyi, an economics graduate from the University of Lagos, is a creative director and one of the youngest art curators in the business. Driven by nothing else but passion, VANGUARD cornered her for a chat at the private preview of Omo Aderonke art exhibition which she curated.

I'm driven by my passion for creativity — Tiwa Adegbuyi, art curator
Tiwa Adegbuyi. Photo: Osa Mbonu-Amadi

By Osa Amadi, Arts Editor

How did you come into art?

It wasn’t planned at all. I started out when I was in the university. A friend of mine who was a photographer wanted to have an exhibition. He reached out to me because he knew I was good at planning things.

He wanted me to plan it. At the time I didn’t know it was called curating. I thought I was just helping someone to plan an exhibition.

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It went well. A lot of people came and it became a yearly thing. We established a company and we started organizing group exhibitions every year with young artists.

Did you read art in the university?

No, I studied Economics.

And you are now into the economics of art

Yes, it helps me to understand the business side of things. So, it wasn’t planned at all; I just found myself in that space and I realized I really enjoy art and being around artists.

Which year did you graduate from the university?

I graduated in 2019.

About how many exhibitions have you organized so far?

Six, at least. 

What does organizing this kind of art exhibition take – finding the space?

Yes, finding the space; but the major thing really is finding the artist. And I have been fortunate enough to always find people who are eager to work with me whenever I am putting together things like this.

Artists want to showcase their works too. So, I am always on a lookout for artists I enjoy their works and who I feel their works need to be showcased. I just reach out to them and let them know that I would like to exhibit their works.

Now you are showcasing Affen Segun’s works in Omo Aderonke; did you know Segun before you took him on?

No, I was actually introduced to Segun by someone, and when we met, we instantly clicked. We have only known each now for about a month.

Double Seis Entertainment, the company that manages him, reached out to me and proposed that I should handle the artist’s first solo show. That’s how it came to be.

Apart from organising exhibitions and curating, do you have another regular job?

Yes, I am a Creative Director. I work with a talent management agency. We manage artists and celebrities.

Are you doing this show on behalf of the organization you work for?

No, this is my personal (project). I work fulltime as a Creative Director which also involves art and being creative.

So, I do incorporate art into what I do fulltime and then, this is the second thing I do; it’s really a passion for me. I enjoy it so much. It’s a way for me to express myself.

What is your ultimate aspiration in the business?

I have something I started in August. It’s called Expo Lagos. It’s essentially an exhibition that showcases different mediums of art. We did the first one in August, and we are hoping to do two exhibitions in a year.

We showcase different medium of arts – digital art, traditional art, films, virtual realities and all of that. The first edition went very well. In five years’ time I hope to be doing it on a global scale. I want it to be one of the biggest arts festivals in the world.

Do you want it to be bigger than Art X Lagos?

We are not competing with or comparing ourselves with anyone, but I believe we are all in different lanes where each and every one is doing his or her own thing. The sky is wide enough to accommodate all the birds in the world.

Although you have been in the business only for a few years; have you been smiling to the bank?

I cannot say that it has been financially fulfilling as it should be, but I know that the passion and excitement I feel being a curator are enough to keep me going.

It is not the money that is driving me at the moment. I am rather driven by the passion and love for what I am doing. I have no doubt that other things will eventually come.    

Vanguard News Nigeria