This is a difficult exhibition to describe as it’s so varied that while there are themes to the displays, they can almost be described as a cluster of small individual exhibitions in one.
The curious title of the main exhibition, In a Pot of Hot Soup, was inspired by a comment by the artist Jerry Buhari, who reflected on the challenging times that Nigerian artists have faced over the years. A collective of artists known as the Zaria Rebels could find themselves “in a pot of hot soup”.
The exhibition is also not unlike soup ingredients, being a mix of a wide range of different media and styles, that come together to form the final exhibition.
Nigerian art is political, and some of the items on display also challenge Nigerian cultural taboos about sexuality and feminism. Another sculpture, of fabrics in cubes references a saying that “If Nigeria will not wear her cloth, she deserves to go naked”.
Arguably, the second smaller display is more interesting though. A mix of displays, but mainly political, looking at how politics in Nigeria is marketed and satirised.
There’s a mix of political cartoons mocking modern Nigerian politics, and cases of political campaigning material, much of which is often handed out for free to, ahem, encourage voters to support a candidate. There’s also a case of comic books, showing the local talent and publishing firms.
It’s an interesting collection, and worth a visit, if not to be wowed by the art and maybe more to see an alternative culture in a way that’s rarely represented in art exhibitions, and that’s its politics. I can say I am pleased I went, and although it didn’t exactly wow me with art, it pleased me with knowledge.
It’s open Tuesday to Saturday 10.30am to 5pm, and late to 8pm on Thursdays. Entry is free.