Art patron, Abraham Akpi, opens a new art gallery Kabana Traffic Lounge in the Lekki area of Lagos, Akeem Lasisi reports
Unless you are under the spell of passion, you do not dedicate a choice building – or a part of it – in an eyebrow area like Lekki, Lagos to art works. Some may quickly observe that those who appreciate visual art are usually found in such an elite area. But the fact is that thousands, if not millions, of people would first consider other products or services that fetch quicker and better cash.
Nestling under such a spell, Abraham Akpi has just opened a gallery in Lekki. He unveiled the facility recently when art lovers, friends and associates joined him at a night that also featured musical and poetry performances. For him, it is the climax of a long-held passion to promote art and support artists.
While he is also an artist, poet and fashion designer, Akpi first made a statement some 15 years ago when he organised an exhibition for Ada Godspower, who he considered a very promising hand. He says the growth of practitioners is always his concern.
Akpi says, “My passion for the arts is out of this world. I cut and draw with my hands. I was one of the fashion designers during the days of Kese Jabari. But this gallery we are opening today is for everyone. It is not for me alone. It is a platform for anyone having art-related programmes or projects. We should all invest in projects that can help our artists and other youths. Our artists are dying for lack of exposure and patronage. I see a lot of girls going into prostitution because there is no employment.”
All the tens of works currently on display are from Akpi’s repertory. But he says a few are not for sale. Asked why he still holding on to such, he says, “I can’t sell my life.”
Some of the works dearest to his heart are those of Emmanuel Ikpen, Ademola Ogunnajo and Bode Olaniyan. According to him, Ikpen’s works are unique and rare while he describes Ogunnajo as a master of cubism.
“Bode Olaniyan is the grandmaster himself. He is the man behind the mask. He is the Bruce Onabrakpeya of our time.”
At the opening were patrons/ enthusiasts such as Seyi Omotoye, Darlington Eke, Dagatola and veteran photographer, Tam Fiofori.