The artist dedicates the gallery, which consists of five sections and appears to be uniquely inspired by aspects of the Yoruba culture and aesthetic, to her late father, Mr. Olutayo Aderinokun, who was a philanthropist and patron of the arts.
Unlike most other galleries in the city, this latest addition to Aderinokun’s multidimensional project, Studio of Mode, is not open to all members of the public.
Explaining why the facility is exclusive, she says, “My aim is to create a space where the creative voice of the multi-talented artist can be clearly heard and understood – a place where creativity can connect with modern society in an expressive, intellectual manner, without necessarily one’s creative aesthetic.”
The concept and structure of the gallery derives from the artist’s vision of Lagos as a city that is harsh, forceful and constantly in a flux. In spite of these characteristics, she notes, the city leaves a lasting impression on most people visiting for the first time.
By painting the outer walls of the facility in white and the interior in different colours, Aderinokun attempts an interpretation of the physical characteristics of Lagos that also underlines the uniqueness of her mission as an artist.
She says, “There are many places in Lagos that are very clean, but unkempt. Some roads are smooth and well-maintained, while others are barely passable. The ultra-rich and the extremely poor coexist in Lagos. It is a city of extremes.”
Inside the gallery, the terra-cotta walls serve as a reminder of the artist’s roots in Abeokuta, capital of Ogun State, as well as reflecting the transition into a different world.
This attempt by Aderinokun to create an environment that evokes the cultural imagery of Abeokuta is deliberate. Also, it advocates a break from artistic traditions inherited from Nigeria’s colonial past.
The Indigo room also serves as a reminder of Lagos. Guests can exit the gallery through the store. As they return to the ‘normal’ white space, they can reflect on their experiences and make some purchases.
Aderinokun claims that her passion for art was rekindled during the period she lived in San Francisco, USA.
“I was constantly surrounded by art in San Francisco and this really inspired me to start painting again. Before then, I dropped it because I couldn’t see a possible career prospect,” she says.
After graduating from college, she spent a year working at the Cartoon Arts Museum in San Francisco before returning to Nigeria.
Ever since, she has progressed from working in her bedroom to building a studio – Studio of Mode – and seeing her works rapidly gaining acceptance among enthusiastic lovers of art.
She says she believes in producing works that enrich the lives of other people. Also, she believes that artists must search deep within, to create something unique.