Wednesday 13 December 2017

OYASAF, played host, on Monday 11th of December, 2017 to Dr. Staffan Lunden an archeologist of the university of Gothenburg in Sweden.

Dr. Lunden, in his doctoral dissertation, Displaying Loot; The Benin objects and the British Museum” (2016), chose to depart from the philosophical position held by the British Museum on its collection of objects looted from Benin City within the present-day Nigeria, in 1897. His dissertation has since been published into a globally acclaimed book by scholars.

  During his visit, he was taken through a tour of the large number of Benin and Ife bronze works in the OYASAF collection. He made and penned down some encouraging comments in the OYASAF’s visitor’s book at the end of his visit.

 We look forward to welcoming Dr. Lunden to the opening ceremony of the Yemisi Shyllon Museum at the Pan Atlantic University, Ibeju Lekki, Lagos, Nigeria, when completed

Thursday 16 November 2017

Africa’s growing art scene turns to private funding

Rising global interest in the continent’s artworks coincides with a surge of investment from homegrown wealth
Prince Yemisi Shyllon stands beside a piece of artwork by Ahmed Akinrinola in his Lagos garden © Adeola Olagunju for the FT

Report in the Financial Times of London by Matthew Green

With its 165-year-old tortoise, crested cranes and catfish pond, the high-walled garden at Prince Yemisi Shyllon’s Lagos home would feel magical even without its motionless occupants: more than 400 sculptures in bronze, wood, glass fibre and stone. From playful village girls to an ethereal giantess, spear-wielding warriors and a drummer boy with a forlorn tale to tell, the phantasmagoria of life-size people, animals and mysterious beings represents the visions of Nigerian sculptors from the pre-colonial era to the present day. Now in his mid-60s, having accumulated some 7,000 artworks over the past 40 years, Prince Yemisi, who hails from royal Yoruba heritage, wants to secure his legacy. He is building a gallery bearing his name — the Yemisi Shyllon Museum — to showcase his collection for future generations.

“I looked at what I have and was worried that when I’ve gone everything would go to rot,” Prince Yemisi says, in a shaded corner of his garden, where a bust of a Fulani herdsman made of washers and motorbike chains keeps a stern vigil. “That is why I’m playing the little role I can play.” In mid-September, workmen perched on rickety scaffolding were busy finishing the striking concrete shell of the two-storey museum. It stands on the campus of Pan-Atlantic University, a private, non-profit institution on the Lekki peninsula to the east of Lagos. The goal is to open in 2019.
                                    Prince Yemisi with a sculpture by Nigerian sculptor Olu Amoda © Adeola Olagunju for the FT

Not so long ago, Prince Yemisi’s grant — N600m ($1.7m) towards the cost of building his museum and maintaining it for 15 years — would have marked him as an outlier in Africa, or even a crank. This is no longer the case. Across the continent, from Morocco to South Africa, philanthropists are pouring money into developing a cultural ecosystem, opening museums and sponsoring residencies, art fairs or symposia, and sketching out plans to reinvigorate dilapidated state-owned galleries. “Governments are not going to start disbursing money for the arts — they have more immediate problems to deal with,” says Ayo Adeyinka, a Nigerian art dealer who founded the Africa-focused Tafeta visual arts agency in London. “We’ve come to the realisation that if we’re going to do this, we have to do it with private funds.”
                                                     A life-size bronze sculpture by Adeola Balogun © Adeola Olagunju

The outbreak of generosity has occurred at a time when African art is in vogue in London, New York and Paris, with the continent’s leading artists winning international acclaim. But these projects to support painters, sculptors and photographers are more an expression of cultural self-confidence than a reflection of the new enthusiasm for African aesthetics in the West. “It’s like another kind of colonisation when you need to get your affirmation [from] a museum like the [UK’s] Tate, for example,” says Azu Nwagbogu, founder of the African Artists’ Foundation in Lagos. “We have Africans taking ownership of what’s important and starting to shape the narrative of the continent.” The impact of philanthropy is most visible in newer institutions like Prince Yemisi’s. Alami Lazraq, the Moroccan property magnate, for example, sponsored the construction of the Museum of African Contemporary Art Al Maaden, which opened last year in Marrakesh. By far the highest-profile new cultural centre on the continent is South Africa’s Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa, which opened in September. Housed in a nine-storey complex, with a stunning atrium built inside converted grain silos, the museum was established through a partnership between the V&A Waterfront development in Cape Town and Jochen Zeitz, the German philanthropist and former chief executive of the sportswear brand Puma, who has loaned his extensive collection of African art to the museum.
Life-size artworks by Ben Enwonwu (bronze), Olu Amoda (metal) and Oladapo Afolayan (stone), among others in the garden © Adeola Olagunju
 Elana Brundyn, until recently director of institutional advancement and external affairs at Zeitz MOCAA, says the museum will raise the profile of African artists across the continent and beyond. “I never thought I would see it in my lifetime,” says Ms Brundyn, a South African gallerist who created her first display space 17 years ago in a milking shed on her parents’ farm outside the town of Durbanville. “I think lots of people are seeing the need to do bigger and better projects.” We have Africans taking ownership of what’s important and starting to shape the narrative Azu Nwagbogu In a country that is still navigating the complex legacy of apartheid, the fact that the museum bears the name of a white European has caused some controversy. But Zeitz MOCAA’s supporters hope it will inspire more wealthy Africans to back projects to support the arts. “Of course, it will always be controversial. But hopefully it’s a wake-up call for fellow Africans to follow suit,” says Monna Mokoena, founder of Gallery MOMO in Johannesburg. In Lagos, Prince Yemisi’s gallery is winning converts even before opening its doors. Frank Wiggle, head of development and external relations at Pan-Atlantic University, says he began to appreciate Nigerian art only after he saw Prince Yemisi’s collection. He hopes that the museum will have a similarly inspirational effect on the university’s undergraduates. “All of a sudden I discovered that something other than the football pitch and a nice movie could be interesting,” says Mr Wiggle. “If this can happen to somebody like me, imagine what can happen to thousands of students.”

Wednesday 25 October 2017


Mr. Geoffrey Omondi Magina, a Kenyan artist (CV below), recently completed a five (5) weeks international artist In-residence programme with OYASAF, on the 22nd October 2017. During Mr Magina’s residency in Lagos and Abeokuta, he produced nineteen artworks. Art collectors and other stakeholders in the industry, interacted with the artist and his produced works of art, at the OYASAF garden in Lagos, Nigeria on Thursday the 19th of October 2017.

During the artist’s working experience at the OYASAF facility at Abeokuta, he took time off to teach art to the security personnel in Abeokuta.  The security man involved, had no prior skills but used oil/acrylic to produce the accompanying work below on canvas. Also in his interaction with indigenes of Abeokuta, Geoffrey trained young children in Abeokuta on how to paint.

The Kenyan artist in addition, was exposed to thriving art galleries, important art centres and institutions in Lagos, such as the National Museum, Freedom Park and visited some artists in the Universal Studios at Iganmu, among others.

Kenyan international artist in Yoruba Adire during his interaction with the art community in Lagos. PHOTO BY MFON RALPH OBOT

2017: Kenya National Museums – Solo Exhibition: Butterflies
2016: Kenya National Museum Affordable Art Show – Group Show
2016: Talisman Restaurant – Solo Exhibition
 2016: DusitD2 – Group Exhibition
2016: Manjano Exhibition – Group Show
2016: Little Art Gallery Karen - Solo Exhibition
 2015: Kenya National Museum Affordable Art Show – Group Show
2015: ISK Show – Group Show Etc Etc.

Workshops and Talks:
2016: Artspace: Topic: Art and Money
2016: Nairobits: Topic:Creativity Bibliography:
Margaretta Wa Gacheru: Business Daily: Choosing Art as inspiration and enterprise.
Frank Whalley: The East African: Childhood Nostalgia review (My solo show review)
Margaretta Wa Gacheru: Business Daily: Young,Gifted Magina dumps accounting for Art. 

Educational Highlights:
2016: Copyright x – Go Down Art Center
2015: Creative Entrepreneurship Program – Go Down Art Center
2013: Strathmore University, Bachelor of Commerce, Double major in accounting and finance. Graduated with a second class (upper Division).
2011: Pinnacle Business School, Certified Public Accountant, Finalist

Thursday 19 October 2017


Omooba  Yemisi Adedoyin Shyllon Art foundation (OYASAF)  played host to some members of the Nigerian Field Society on  Saturday, the 14th day of October 2017, of  which 20-member delegation was led by Mr Edouard Blondeau.

The visitors were welcomed with a presentation by Prince Yemisi Shyllon on the contributions of OYASAF to the promotion and development of Nigerian art and culture. They were taken through a working tour of the foundation’s collection of contemporary and modern paintings, sculptures, antiques, traditional art, neo traditional African art and some shots from the different Nigeria fast disappearing cultural festivals.

The visit included a guided tour of the foundation’s large number of bronze, stone and metal works of life-size sculptural pieces in the OYASAF gardens, coupled with a large number of paintings and sculptures in the interiors of the foundation’s edifice. The tour was concluded with some photo and quiz sessions.

Tuesday 15 August 2017


In line with our vision to promote the appreciation of Nigerian art, OYASAF recently completed the hosting of the two best 2016 overall visual art graduates of Yaba College of Technology, Lagos, Nigeria. Mr Agbaje Julius Abidemi and Mr Akinrinola Ahmed Abiodun were the beneficiaries. Mr Agbaje Julius Abidemi graduated as the best painting student while Mr Akinrinola Ahmed Abiodun was the best graduate in sculpture.

The two graduate artists in-residence, successfully completed their five (5) weeks fellowship program with OYASAF covering the period 5th of June 2017 to 10th July, 2017. During Mr Abidemi’s residency at OYASAF, he produced some masterpiece portraitures, one of which is presented below.
Title: Amaranthine, Artist: Agbaje Julius Abidemi, Dimension: 2 by 3 feet, Medium: Oil on canvas, Year: 2017

Mr Akinrinola Ahmed Abiodun completed his five weeks artist in-residency program with OYASAF during the same period. He produced the sculpture observable below.
Title: The cube, Artist: Akinrinola Ahmed Abiodun Dimensions: 6ft (L) 6ft (B) 7ft (H) Medium: metal and aluminum mirror/reflective composite panel, Year: 2017

The piece titled: “The Cube”, is a multicoloured lighted construction, executed in metal and aluminum mirror/reflective composite panel. The outer cube represents man with the universe, while the lighted reflective inner cube, relates to man’s environment which is seen as contributing to the development of human’s intrinsic abilities for impactful contributions to the world around us.
The interconnected stars in the outer red painted outer cube represents harmony and unity within human diversity. The element of universality was incorporated into the work to make it timeless and transcend the barriers of cultural, ethnical and racial differences of the world around us.

Monday 22 May 2017


Invitation for applications

OYASAF invites Nigerian and international artists to apply for its artists in-residence programme of 2017. This new annual programme, is designed for two sessions of five weeks each within the months of, (1st September to 30th November, 2017) and (1st of March to May 31st, 2018) and thereafter, during the same period each year. The programme will provide artists an opportunity to live and work in an up class and serene environment of Abeokuta, South West of Nigeria (about 100km North of Lagos), to develop their specific individual projects while experiencing and engaging with Nigeria’s rich cultural heritage. Abeokuta city is a major historical town in Nigeria. It is the state capital and the largest city in Ogun State of Nigeria’s southwest. It is situated on the east bank of the Ogun River with a most beautiful and ideal environment for artists.
Location and Work Place

The work place of the OYASAF artists in-residence programme is located in the country home of Prince Yemisi Adedoyin Shyllon at Abeokuta. The contemporary architectural building, located atop the Abeokuta presidential hill top estate, overlooks the scenic land and cityscape of the historical city, its architecture and life-size bronze sculptural garden is purposely designed for the creative and curious mind.
The residency space is ensuite with spacious living and dining rooms, and a kitchen equipped with up to date cooking facilities. The work space has good natural and artificial light.

Definition of the Programme

This programme is a new project complementing existing programmes of OYASAF with a view to working closely with artists around the globe for an educational, immersive, creative and inclusive experience.

Period of the programme

The programme is divided into two five weekly residency sessions per year, within the two separate periods of (1st of March to May 31st) and (1st September to 30th November) of each year, with each session hosting two artists at a time respectively.

Prior to every session of the OYASAF residency programme, a notice will be put out with an open call for Nigerian and international artists to apply towards engaging in new artistic projects in the range of paint media within the city of Abeokuta.
For cross-cultural purposes, the programme is thus designed to host international and Nigerian artists. On the successful selection of applicants, artists will be residents in the artists’ studio at Abeokuta and will be provided a working space to experiment and research their art production projects and would be provided with logistical support for their artistic creations. The residency will culminate in a one day solo exhibition of the produced works during the residency, at the OYASAF facility in Lagos or any other location as may be decided by OYASAF from time to time. Resident artists will have the opportunity at such exhibitions, to meet Nigerian and non-Nigerian collectors, curators, gallery owners, scholars and journalists.
At the end of each residency programme, artists will be expected to donate one artwork per artist to OYASAF. The artworks donated at the end of each residency will be selected at the absolute discretion of OYASAF.


For the OYASAF artist in-residence programme, artists at the beginning of each session, will be provided the following:
·        Living stipends, per artist of one Hundred and fifty Thousand Naira (N150,000) per session of five weeks and
·        Production allowance, per artist of One Hundred Thousand Naira (N100,000) per session per artist
However, resident artists will be responsible for supplying and providing the tools and materials for their artistic productions during their OYASAF residency programmes.

Application Guidelines

The programme is open to artists working in the paint media only. All applications must be submitted electronically and only those submitted will be accepted. Applicant artists are expected to use Adobe Acrobat to type into the PDF form fields, or otherwise, print their applications and complete them by hand and then scan. All submissions and required supporting documents should be sent online to:, as either a direct email attachment, or shared via Dropbox or Google Drive. Attachments must not exceed 10MB. Selection decisions will be made by an OYASAF selection panel which decision shall be final and not justiciable. For more information, please visit:

Also please note that:

·        Applications are now open for the, 1st of September to 30th November 2017, session.
·        Each artist must submit works online, completed by them within the preceding last 2 years of their application.
·        Only successful applicants will be informed via emails by OYASAF.
·        The selection decisions about the OYASAF residency programme shall be final and shall not be open to negotiations and discussion.
·        Applications are expected to reach OYASAF by latest, 60 calendar days before the beginning of each session.  Only successful applicants shall be notified within 3 weeks of the deadlines for the submission of applications.
To apply for the OYASAF residency programme, please, fill in the application form below and dispatch same to OYASAF, with your CV and a portfolio of no more than 5 works. Selection is not only based on applicants’ academic or professional background but attention will be given to the strength of each project proposal and its integration with the local scenic and cultural environment of the programme.
All applications must be submitted in English.


(Please fill all the areas of this form)

NAME (as appears on your passport)

PSEUDONYME (if applicable)







POSTCODE (Where applicable)


CV (maximum 1 page)

Images should be in jpeg format, maximum size 1MB per image. Images in excess of the limits provided will not be viewed by the panel.

PREFERRED SESSION: (1st of March to May 31st) OR (1st September to 30th November).





Tuesday 16 May 2017


On Saturday 13th May 2017, eighteen members of the Nigerian Field Society (NFS) led by Edouard Blondeau, arrived to the home of Prince and Chief (Mrs.) Shyllon on the Presidential hilltop in Abeokuta, the capital of Ogun state. On arrival, they were warmly welcomed by Chief (Mrs.) Funmilayo Shyllon and  Prince Yemisi shyllon.
After some brief introduction, the visitors were taken through a tour of the life size bronze and metal sculptures garden of the edifice. This was followed by a tour of the internal portions of the edifice which commenced with a visit to the two bedroom en-suite guest chalet of the main building.

During the tour of the guest chalet, Prince Shyllon intimated his guests of the intention of OYASAF to use the chalet of the building for the annual OYASAF international artists in-residence program which is about to commence.
The visiting NFS guests, were later taken round the artistically decorated internal portions of the main residence, adorned with contemporary sculptures and paintings.
Refreshment at the terrace overlooking Abeokuta. Photograph by OYASAF documentary photographer: RALPH MFON OBOT
 One of the highlights of the tour, had the visitors enjoying the unique 270degrees terrace overview of Abeokuta city while enjoying some light refreshments. At the terrace of the building overlooking Abeokuta, the visitors were surprised with the cutting of a birthday cake for Dr. Adun Okupe- one of the visiting NFS members. 
Birthday celebration for Dr. Adun Okupe with her mother, Mrs. Fowora Okupe and Prince & Chief (Mrs.) Shyllon . Photograph by OYASAF documentary photographer: RALPH MFON OBOT
Some NFS members could not but enjoy the warmth and fraternize with the artwork outside the gate of the building overlooking the main street and welcoming visitors at the entrance of the building with a smile.

Friday 12 May 2017


 The  Omooba Yemisi Adedoyin Shyllon Art foundation (OYASAF) in collaboration with the UFUK Dialogue Foundation recently, organized a three day ‘’Art for  Peace’’ workshop for artists with the theme; “cultural co-existence, Dialogue, harmony and peace”. The workshop was organized by the two foundations towards uniting the multiple cultural traditions of Nigeria with Turkey.  The three days workshop, started from Monday 24th to Wednesday 26th of April, 2017. The workshop was facilitated by a renowned Turkish artist, Mr Tugay Yalcin of the Nile University of Nigeria. Nigerians and other nationals were taught the techniques of painting in water colour with marble decorative background - a unique Turkish art.
Facilitating Artist: Tugay Yalcin. Photograph by Oyasaf documentary photographer: OBOT MFON RALPH
 At the workshop, Prince Yemisi  Shyllon, the  Founder and CEO of The Omooba Yemisi Adedoyin Shyllon Art foundation (OYASAF) and co-sponsor of the program, in his remarks, informed the participants, about his three (3) years long collaboration with the Ufuk Foundation which includes the sponsored exhibition of some thirteen (13) Nigerian artists in a travelling exhibition of paintings to Ethiopia, Turkey and the United State of America in 2014. His remarks during the interactive session at the workshop, included the importance of provenance, continuous art education, art entrepreneurship, and the improvement of local patronage for Nigerian art.
Prince  Yemisi  Shyllon at the workshop. Photograph by Oyasaf documentary photographer:                   OBOT MFON RALPH

 During the workshop, Nigerian artists learned from Turkish artists and interacted with each other while producing water colour paintings in marble background finish. There were also a general agreement among the participants during their interactive sessions, that African nations need to effectively collaborate among themselves towards creating a well-organized and interactive art practice and embracing indigenous cultural constructs in their creative aspirations.
Artist practicing marble artistry at the workshop. Photograph by Oyasaf documentary photographer: OBOT MFON RALPH

 In total, about 80 artists and non-artists of Nigerian and other national extractions
participated in the workshop ,which included; Clara Aden , Akintunde John ,
 Dimpa Sunday Busaya Lawal , Mfon Ralph Obot, Monsuru Alashe , Yusuf
Durodola,  Noami  Oladipo, Ogaga Tuodeinye, Sotonye Jumbo,  Sunday
Akpedo,  Oluchi  Zom, Joel A, Yusuf Seidu Okus , and Emmanuel Ije and
many others.
A cross section of some of the Participants at the workshop. Photograph by Oyasaf documentary photographer: OBOT MFON RALPH    

Artists that participated in the workshop, were issued with Certificates of participation at the end of the program.
A snap photograph of some of the participants with their certificates of participation at the workshop. Photograph by Oyasaf documentary photographer: OBOT MFON RALPH