Lagos has always been an eclectic and diverse mix people and ideas, and whilst it has welcomed the alternative points of view that this brings, the city itself has kept true to its own identity and joie de vivre. To know Lagos, is to experience what Lagosians do, where they go to connect, and to share in their expression. If you are nursing the intention of connecting with the true spirit of Lagos, then visiting these eight places would be the perfect start for you.
Quintessence is a tasteful and exclusive art gallery and gift shop, with a wide range of authentic arts, crafts, furnishing and textile that include woven fabrics like Aso-Oke, cloth from Okene and akwete and various fabrics from Nigeria and other countries. An institution in its own right, this was one of the first few outlets that promoted and developed arts and crafts by creating an enabling environment for local contents produced by local artisans and college graduates. Other products offered include jewellery, books, toys, bags, clothing for children and adults, home furnishings such as placemats, throw pillows and duvets for both local and international markets, ceramics and other traditional sculptures, all, celebrating Africa. A place to go for a keepsake. It opens on weekdays and Saturdays from 9 am to 6 pm. Visit the link below for more information.
Plot 13, Block 44 by Parkview Estate Gate,
Off Gerrard Road, Ikoyi, Lagos.
69, Admiralty way, Jack House, Lekki, Lagos.
Nike Art Gallery
The Nike Art Gallery and Culture is a gallery on 5 floors and is home to a rich and vast collection of paintings, sculpture and works, which are deeply rooted in the diversity of the Nigerian and African culture. For lovers of art and all things beautiful, a visit to Lagos is incomplete until a trip is made to this place of wonder.
It is owned and run by Chief Mrs Nike Davies-Okundayo, a professional textile artist and painter, who was at her young age was introduced into the world of art and textile making by her great-grand mother.
The Nike Art Gallery and Culture, to its credit, has conducted cultural tours within and outside Lagos, giving visitors a background and context to the visual expressions seen in the art, and thereby bringing some of the symbolism in those images to life. This creation continues to promote, and provide an enabling environment for the sustained growth of African cultural heritage in Nigeria.
There are a number of Nike Art Centres around Nigeria where training is provided for aspiring performance artists and craftsmen by master teachers who instruct in wood sculpture, relief carving, painting, beadwork, mosaic, batik, adire, applique, pen and ink paintings, quilting, drum making and dancing. It opens on weekdays and weekends. Follow this link for full details:
No. 2, Elegushi Road, 3rd round-about,
Lekki-Epe Expressway, and Ikate Cross Road,
Lekki Phase I, Lekki Peninsula, Lagos, Nigeria.
Terra Kulture is a cultural centre that provides a venue and the ambience for Nigerians and foreigners alike to learn Nigerian culture and languages. It features restaurant, reading centre, bookstore, language school and a craft shop.
It has become a leading destination for visitors and Lagosians alike, seeking to learn about Nigerian arts, food, fashion, theatre and history. Renowned Nigerian authors and writers are regular visitors here. Some of them include; Wole Soyinka and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.
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Theatre at Terra is an initiative that’s meant to promote African drama and other creative performances. It has witnessed world-class performances of works by authors such as Ola Rotimi, Chinua Achebe, Wole Soyinka (Nobel Laureate Professor), and many others.
Terra Kulture opens on weekdays and weekends. There are shows every Sunday afternoon and evening and the Multi-purpose Hall provides facilities for various drama presentations. There are ad hoc performances of live music, poetry, comedy and the spoken word. Catch one of these performances and meet with other professional and people from other cultures.
The dramatic ramp that winds through the centre of the restaurant leads to the Gallery. It holds art exhibitions and art auctions as well as interaction sessions with renowned members of the art community. Check the website for updates:
1374, Tiamiyu Savage, Victoria Island, Lagos
Jazzhole in Ikoyi is a rare music store, a bookstore and a coffee shop all rolled into one. As the name implies, there’s a huge selection of jazz music but it is also the place to go for the latest CDs by international and local artists. Jazzhole is known for its sell-out intimate live music shows, and one may be in luck and meet a favourite artist. It also has its own label and has recorded compilations of urban African music, which are available for purchase.
The bookstore and coffee shop are at opposite ends of the store, with an eclectic collection of books, modern novels, historical texts on politics, economics, and magazines running in between.
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The bookstore also conducts poetry readings and book launches. It holds book reviews by prominent Nigerian writers and attending any one of their monthly events is a mind-blowing experience. Treat yourself to a cup of something warm and cheerful while browsing through the books. Jazzhole has great music and a great feel; look out for an event during your stay in Lagos. Visit this link for more insights:
168 Awolowo Road, Ikoyi, Lagos.
The National Museum, located at Onikan, was founded in 1957 by the English Archaeologist, Kenneth Murray. He had arrived in Nigeria in 1927 and initially worked as an art teacher. One of his students was a prolific and renowned artist, Ben Enwonwu. He soon became Nigeria’s first surveyor of antiquities, and it was during his tenure the National Museum was founded in Lagos.
It must interest to note that there are no cameras allowed in the museum. Although, taking photographs within the premise is not restricted except inside the museum. National Museum is opened on weekdays from 9 am to 5 pm.
King George V Road, Onikan, Lagos.
The Musical Society of Nigeria (MUSON), amongst other things, seeks to promote the performance and enjoyment of classical music and the performing arts and enhance intercultural relations with other nationalities through the cultural development of the Nigerian people and society. Since the First MUSON Festival of Drama, Art and Dance in February 1997, the Muson Centre, in Onikan, has played host to numerous ticketed shows and concerts of classical, folk and plays. Muson has its own Choir and Symphony Orchestra, periodically staging concerts that convey the richness and elegance of classical music. Check this link for upcoming events:
Muson Centre, 8/9 Marina, Onikan, Lagos.
National Arts Theatre
Acknowledged as an architectural and cultural landmark, the National Arts Theatre, at Iganmu, the complex covers an area of about 23,000 square meters and stands well over 31 meters high. With a Man Hall, a conference/banquet hall, exhibition halls, and two cinema halls, the multipurpose National Theatre was established for the hosting of the World Black and African Festival of Arts and Culture in 1977, popularly known as FESTAC’77.
Watch FESTAC’77 Video – https://youtu.be/BzAIGgWNHbY
It houses the National gallery of modern Nigerian art, Nigerian crafts and other African arts. The best time to visit the cultural centre is between 10 am and 3 pm on Tuesdays to Saturdays (12 pm – 6 pm).
The National Arts Theatre, Igannmu Intersection, Lagos
Freedom Park, the memorial and leisure park used to be an old prison during colonial times, but today is one of the venues that play host to a number of festivals and cultural activities. From film screenings to Black Heritage Festival, and from music concerts and shows to art exhibitions. For instance, it staged the award-winning Thobias de Vaival Samba Group; a lively performance of music and dance which celebrated the cultural ties between Lagos and Brazil.
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It also was the venue for the “Lagos Live Festival” celebrating 50 years of the German cultural centre, Goethe Institute in Nigeria, amongst numerous other performances. The Freedom Park opens on weekdays and weekends. Visit the link here for more info:
Old Prison Grounds, beside Island Maternity Hospital, Broad Street, Lagos