Brought to life by artists in 2017, the Lagos Biennial is our favourite “new face” on the circuit and has consolidated the city’s identity as a hub for contemporary art.

Chosen for: Innovation.

The Lagos Biennial orbits around locality. Over the past four editions, the biennial has positioned the city as a hub for starting contemporary art narratives, as well as bringing historical architectural sites into the conversation. Location plays a key role in the identity of the biennial and acts as a channel for connecting the past with the present. The first edition was held at the running shed of the Nigeria Railway Corporation which dates back to 1955, and the second edition took place within an abandoned building donated to Nigeria by the British colonial administration at the time of independence. This year, the fourth edition will be held at the Tafawa Balewa Square, a concrete expanse once used as a race course for the British Colonial Administration.

Through its programming, the Lagos Biennial champions adventurous approaches to making art and engaging in political discourse – their intention is to broach complex sociopolitical issues and inspire new modes of interacting with the city. The city of Lagos is dynamic by nature, and the event adds a new flavour to the art circuit, questioning the conventions of the biennial format and cultivating curiosity and innovation. This year, the biennial will shift the needle away from a Eurocentric history of exhibitions and biennials to create space for bigger conversations and alternate realities.

Lagos Biennial will take place at Tafawa Balewa Square in 2023. Dates are yet to be announced.

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Lagos Biennial