The Guardian

The Guardian

Yinka Shonibare: ‘I see what’s happening as an African renaissance’

Yinka Shonibare and his work The British Library, at Tate Modern in April. Photograph: Tabatha Fireman/Getty Images

Over the past decade, I’ve been running a project space for emerging artists in East London called Guest Projects. Based just off Broadway Market, it supports practitioners in a variety of disciplines, from visual artists to musicians to theatre companies. Not long after setting it up in 2008, I decided I wanted to make the project international. As I have roots in Nigeria, and the creative scene there is so exciting, Nigeria seemed like the right place to do it.

About eight years ago, I acquired some land in Lagos. Now we’re in the process of building a residency in Lekki, a rapidly developing area in the east of the city. It will house three artists at a time, with studio and gallery spaces on the ground floor, and residents’ bedrooms above.

The project also extends to a 30-acre farm in Ijebu, three hours northeast of Lagos. We’re in the process of landscaping and building a barn house and studios for artists, using sustainable materials such as mud, as well as a walled garden where people can learn about indigenous plants. Lagos is a very busy urban area with a lot of nightlife and music, so Ijebu will be for artists who need a more quiet space to produce work on a larger scale (there also will be a sculpture garden on the farm)…

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