Introducing kó

 

 

It is with great pleasure that I announce my newest endeavour in the art world. kó is an art gallery based in Lagos, Nigeria that is dedicated to promoting modern and contemporary art.

 

After developing Arthouse Contemporary's satellite projects over the years, Arthouse-The Space and Arthouse Foundation, which organised exhibitions and artist residencies, I am excited to create kó as a separate and unique gallery entity. This will allow us to create focused exhibitions on a regular basis, delve more deeply into artists and art historical topics, generate research and publications, and continue to promote Nigerian art on the global stage.

 

kó's focus is two-fold, in championing Nigeria’s leading artists from the modern period and celebrating emerging and established contemporary artists across Africa and the Diaspora. Throughout my career, I have had the honour of developing projects with numerous modern African masters, including Ben Enwonwu, Yusuf Grillo, Bruce Onobrakpeya, Demas Nwoko, Uche Okeke, Simon Okeke, Emmanuel Odita and Oseloka Osadebe, among many others. After producing the retrospective exhibition, Zaria Art Society: Celebration of Legacies in 2019, I realised the need to form a gallery that would promote these important art masters. I have also had the privilege of working with many of Nigeria's most celebrated contemporary artists, including Peju Alatise, Nnenna Okore, Sokari Douglas Camp, George Osodi, Eva Obodo and Diseye Tantua. I have also been able to develop relationships with several emerging artists over the years through our artist residency programme, and I am eager to work alongside many of these artists as a gallerist.

 

It is certainly unexpected to open an art gallery during a global pandemic, though now is a better time than any to embrace the connective powers of art to bring together our community. After six months of lockdown, we are all yearning for a sense of normalcy. We launch kó on 25 September 2020, with a solo exhibition by Kadara Enyeasi. Kadara was one of our early artist residents at the Arthouse Foundation, and I have watched his artistic development with great interest. This exhibition is a departure in Kadara's work as he experiments with poetry, painting and abstraction while retaining his philosophical approach to art production. This exhibition will launch our new gallery space in Ikoyi, where we will pursue our rigorous exhibition programme.

 

I am also honoured to announce that kó will participate at Frieze Masters with a solo presentation of Ben Enwonwu, in their Spotlight section, which highlights pioneering artists of the 20th century. Ben Enwonwu is one of the world's most important modern artists, developing a visual language for African art to define itself on its own terms. While his legacy has already been thoroughly cemented in the art historical cannon, this presentation at Frieze Masters is an important addition to the presence of African artists in the global art market. While the physical edition of Frieze Masters has been canceled this year, we look forward to participating in the Frieze Viewing Room, the online edition of the fair.

 

kó will have a busy schedule for the rest of the year. We will participate in Art X Lagos and present exhibitions with Thebe Phetogo, Edozie Anedu, Joseph Obanubi and Stephen Tayo, who all completed artist residencies with the Arthouse Foundation in 2020. We will also present an exhibition by Yadichinma Ukoha-Kalu, who kó nominated for Art Dubai's Residency Programme earlier this year. We look forward to announcing more of our plans for 2021, starting with an exhibition of Eva Obodo and Ngozi-Omeje Ezema, followed by a solo exhibition by master modern artist Jimo Akolo.

 

Due to the continued need for social distancing, kó will be open by appointment. This will allow us to control the visitor flow. We welcome you to join us for the Opening Reception of our inagural exhibition of Kadara Enyeasi on Friday, 25 September 2020, 12- 7 PM. We will book appointments in one hour slots, with a maximum of 4 visitors at a time. All visitors are required to book an appointment in advance by submitting the booking form here. We hope that this process will asssure our visitors a safe and comfortable experience during these uncertain times. We will also actively engage our online presence to interact with our exhibitions on a digital platform.

 

In the Yoruba language, kó translates as a verb “to gather” or “to build”. Our aim is to support the creativity of contemporary art in Africa by providing a platform to communicate, share and grow.

 

 

With best wishes,

 

Kavita Chellaram

Founder, kó

 

September 21, 2020