Terra Kulture

Terra Kulture

The advantage of flying to Lagos was that, despite a delay of about an hour, I arrived in good time to check out the exhibition at Terra Kulture still the first day. Practically, the exhibition venue was only 2 minutes drive from the apartment and Zico’s driver, who knew the place, dropped me there and picked me up again an hour later. Terra Kulture, by the way, seems to be a really lovely venue. On the ground floor there is a restaurant and on the second floor a quite big exhibition space.
The exhibition was entitled ‘Celebrating the Traditional Crafts of Northern Nigeria’ and showcased works produced during but also independently of the British Council/Prince’s School of Traditional Arts Workshop. They were beautifully showcased and, good news for the participants, a good number had already been sold. Unfortunately I had missed the opening of the exhibition for which all the workshops’ participants as well as Fossua and David, the course facilitators, had come down to Lagos. By the time I arrived most of them had already travelled back. Only Sadiq had stayed behind to attend to the exhibition and its visitors as well as represent CADDAK, the craft organisation formed by the course members.
Sadiq suggested that the feedback for the exhibition was very positive, something a member of the gallery staff confirmed. In fact, many visitors – Nigerian as well as expat – were surprised that Northern Nigeria had such beautiful art and craft traditions. This probably harks back to the general assumption expressed to me by many people that the north does, supposedly, not have any viable art traditions – and by implication meaningful contemporary arts. In fact, however, this exhibition and the works presented seem to have allowed CADDAK to make contacts with the local Chamber of Commerce who offered to assist them financially to attend and present their works at trade fairs.


  1. Just a bit of news coverage about the exhibition:

    A feast of arts and craft from the North

    By THERESA ONWUGHALU, Wednesday, February 20, 2008

    A total of 19 artists from the Northern part of the country are being celebrated in the on-going exhibition at Terra kulture, Victoria Island, Lagos.

    The show, which opened on February 16 till February 29, 2008, has the theme, Celebrating The Traditional Craft Of Northern Nigeria. It is organised by the British Council and British High Commission, Nigeria, in partnership with The Prince’s School of Traditional Arts, Standard Chartered Bank and the Terra Kulture.

    Some of the artists, craftsmen and women include: calligraphers Said Umar Wali, Mustapha Gabari, leather designer Salisu Said, whitesmiths Sadia and Mardia Mudi,painter and printer Bashir Isa Abbas and Bashir Mohammed Idris respectively as well as potters Sadiq Abubakar Aliyu and Murtala Danjuma. Others are architectural designers Ibrahim Mohammed, Nura Yakasai and Mohammed Bello. Graphic designer Fatima Halilu, cap designer Nura Ali, pot decorator Isa Abdu, embroiderer Tasiu Mohammed, calabash carver Farouk Modobbo, textile designer Hanatu Hassan and ceramic technologist Danliti Yahaya.

    Through a research project carried out by two facilitators -Dr. Fosuwa Andoh and Mr. David Barnes from the Prince’s School of Traditional Arts, the creative potentials of these 19 artists and indigenous craftsmen and women mostly from Kano State, were discovered and enhanced.
    This is in accordance with the Prince’s School philosophy, ethos and practice in encouraging youth, artists, craftsmen and women in various communities to rediscover and reassess their cultural heritage and background.

    The project’s outreach and community education integrates theory as well as practice to enable each participant work harmoniously with head, heart and hand. Participants were also able to create innovative designs based on the traditional universal principles of geometry derived from nature. The aim was for them to gain access to new and different markets with the potential to improve their livelihood.

    On the whole, a closer view of the exhibited works show the strength of team work, determination and perfection. They are classical pieces which could compete favourably in any part of the world.

    Although properly refined during the workshop, the geometric patterns produced on either the pottery, kettles, hats, calabashes, textiles, raffia and other media are typical examples of the indigenous art forms of the Hausas.

    An overwhelmed participant, Nura Ali, a cap designer expressed his happiness over his experience during the workshop. He disclosed that there was a great difference between the hats he used to produce and the ones he now produces.

    He explained that his designs now bear straight lines and that this has enhanced their quality compared to the previous ones without defined patterns.

    Speaking on The Arts of The Muslim Hausa of The Northern Nigeria, Professor Abdalla Uba Adamu, chairman, Centre for Hausa Cultural Studies, Kano, explained that the spirit of sustaining the wonder and creativity of the Hausa art forms prompted the British Council and the British High Commission to collaborate with The Prince’s School of Traditional Arts on the project.

    He hinted further that among the Muslim Hausa of Northern Nigeria, art is essentially a non-representational expression of creativity, a tradition which started long ago, noting that the project has achieved tremendous success through the enthusiasm of participants.

    Also Mr. Christopher Knight, MD/CEO, Standard Chartered Bank, said his bank was proud to be a partner in the project.

    His words: “We are extremely proud of our partnership in this initiative. This is our contribution to the development of Northern Nigeria’s rich cultural heritage and we remain committed to making a positive impact on youth and education via lending support to the preservation and advancement of arts and culture.”

  2. And, here you find some images from the exhibition:


  3. And some more images:


  4. Odili.net Sunday, February 10, 2008

    British Council celebrates traditional crafts from the North

    By Akeem Lasisi

    As arts enthusiasts await the flagging off of the fourth edition of Celebrating the Traditional Visual Arts of Northern Nigeria, its organisers, the British Council has announced that the Head of the Department of Architecture at the Federal University of Technology, Minna, Dr. Abdulrazzaque Muhammad-Oumar, will deliver a keynote address at the event holding at Terra Kulture, Victoria Island, Lagos.

    The programme billed to hold from February 16 to 29 is a British Council’s initiative aimed at raising the traditional design awareness of young practising designer/crafts people in Northern Nigeria and their understanding of the language of Traditional Visual Islamic Art.

    “As a result of this awareness-raising and skills development, the 19 crafts men and women participating in the project have been able to create innovative designs based on the traditional universal principles of geometry derived from nature and by so doing gain access to new and different markets with the potential to improve their livelihood,” the Council said in a statement that also indicated that the exhibition was sponsored by the British High Commission, Nigeria and Standard Chartered Bank. It also noted “the generous support of Terra Kulture”.

    The British Council project is managed in partnership with the Prince’s School of Traditional Arts, UK and we were honoured to be visited by HRH, The Prince of Wales during the project’s first workshop in November 2006. A second workshop was held in February 2007 and a third just concluded in December 2007. The aim of the workshops have been to give the 19 participating local crafts men and women an understanding of Geometry which is the language of traditional visual Islamic art. It is also to equip them with skills needed to transfer geometry to their various crafts, and help them think creatively in terms of product design, finishing, and promoting themselves as crafts people.


  5. I never posted this link to the original catalogue to the exhibition, didn't I? Here it is as downloadable pdf:



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