The Allure of LVI Gallery, Lagos


By Justina Okpanku                        Tourism is gradually restarting and a lot of people are taking advantage of lockdown restrictions easing to live their lives again. Some of the attractions opening their doors are restaurants, hotels and galleries. This writer made the most of the season and popped into LVI Gallery at Lekki Phase 1, Lagos. It’s a tourist location. Wow! There are lots of artwork, paintings and sculptures competing for my attention. We have missed a lot as a result of the lockdown.      You find people are still spending good money on luxury lifestyle including purchasing artwork to spur their imagination.                                                As we are in the midst of a pandemic, a good organisation aims to encourage art collectors by providing easy way to see and buy artwork during this hard situation.  This is exactly what LVI gallery did.  Due to Coronavirus restrictions, the facility brought artwork closer to art lovers.                                                           No doubt, LVI Art Gallery and Cultural Nexus is the first art gallery in the country to have a full e-Commerce website. You can virtually do everything online.                                                        LVI  gallery, situated at Chief Henry Ojogho Close, Lekki Phase 1 in Lagos,  is open for visitors now. Explore!  I had the opportunity to visit the heavenly LVI gallery, recently.                                        The first time visitor will like the serene environment. The building housing the gallery has space and its neat. Its also welcoming.

Justina Okpanku on arrival at LVI Gallery in Lagos, recently.

More important, LVI Gallery maintains Covid-19 protocols. The outfit is reinforcing basic preventive measures like mask wearing and social distancing. Inside the gallery is quiet. You stare at the artwork that communicate beautiful things for everyone to enjoy. It was nice to see how the artists unleash nature.  The leisure pieces are among the over 800 framed works and 500 unframed works in its collection. They do appeal to tourists.

Encountering the founder of LVI Art Gallery, Lekki, Lagos, Mr. Julius Iyoghiojie was remarkable. Julius is a prolific artist at heart.                                 Iyoghiojie enjoys talking about artwork and artists. “I love art,” he said after a brief introduction and you congratulated him on his modest and eye-popping gallery.

The journey of this petroleum engineering graduate into art is not by accident. He said he started art collection while in his first year at the university, during an Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) strike.

“I studied Petroleum Engineering at University of Benin, Benin City where I graduated in 2000. I have more than 20 years of postgraduate experience but I have not really worked as an engineer. But I started my art when I was studying. I started my art collection at the University of Benin while I was in Year 1 during the ASUU strike.”

Over the years, his passion for art took a better part of him. In 2019, he opened LVI Art Gallery and Cultural Nexus in Lekki Phase 1, promoting contemporary Nigerian artwork. He has even gone further to study art. He has a certification from renowned Sotheby’s Institute of Arts, United Kingdom where he completed a course in Art as a Global Business: The Value of Art.

I talked about the business of artwork, especially the shortfalls in the promotion and marketing of artwork in the country where artists are believed to do more work but live like paupers. But Iyoghiojie wouldn’t want to be drawn into the topic.

Still, among his collection are artwork from popular artists such as Bruce Onobrakpeya, Dele Jegede, Yomi Momnoh, as well as Sam Ovraiti, and Zibo Moses.

Beside the artwork on showcase, Iyoghiojie also has a picture framing studio that has engaged young people with creative ingenuity. They even frame other people/ clients artwork or give a nice frame to that old photo.

It’s amazing how Julius, an advocate of art, has brought art to a whole new level.  Apart from his ability to encourage art collectors not to give up their passion during the global pandemic, he takes them on a trip  through virtual tour and e- commerce. I asked him if its  working.  He smiled more to himself.                      The genius also would want more tourists to visit the gallery. The distinctive unique paintings and sculptures at LVI Gallery will communicate to you peace, love and unity as well as lift your spirit. This is certain.

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