Bisi Silva, the founding director and curator of the Centre for Contemporary Art (CCA), Lagos, has passed. Bisi, the younger sister of Nollywood actress, Joke Silva, died after a battle with cancer.
Bisi founded CCA Lagos in 2007, after her first degree in Foreign Languages in France. She earned a two-year MA in Visual Arts (Curating and Commissioning of contemporary Art) at the Royal College of Art in London.
The Centre for Contemporary Art, Lagos, is an independent non-profit making visual art organisation set up to provide a platform for the development, presentation, and discussion of contemporary visual art and culture.
CCA Lagos supports and presents the intellectual work of art and culture practitioners through exhibitions, public programmes especially lectures, talks, seminars and screenings as well as through workshops.
It also encourages and promotes the professionalisation of art production and curatorship in Nigeria and West Africa collaborating with artists, curators, writers, theorists and national and international organisations.
In 2010, she created the Àsìkò International Art School, an innovative programme with the aim of filling a gap in the educational system in Nigeria and many African countries, who tend to ignore the critical methodologies and histories that emphasise artistic practice.
Through CCA Lagos, Bisi has collaborated with international curators and institutions such as with Tate Modern, Kiasma, Museum of Contemporary Art, Helsinki, the Menil Collection in Houston and Pulitzer Foundation.
Her curated shows includes, ‘Democrazy’ comprising 3 solo exhibitions with Ghariokwu Lemi, Ndidi Dike and George Osodi, (2007–08); ‘Jide Alakija: Owambe, Aso-Ebi and the Politics of Dress’ (2011); ‘Kelani Abass: If I can save time’ (2016–17); ‘Playing with Chance: El Anatsui’ (2014) and the group exhibition ‘Like a Virgin’ with Lucy Azubuike and Zanele Muholi.
Read some of the tributes to her
Today was profound loss for the art world and Africa in particular. I’m grateful that I had the opportunity to thank you for all that you do and the inspiration you’ve been. Rest In Peace Bisi Silva. #BisiSilva
— mpho matsipa (@matsipa_mpho) February 13, 2019
So sad to hear Olabisi Silva has left us. A huge loss for African Arts. I’m forever grateful she connected me with @JackYakubu1 in Rwanda and championed his brilliant creative and connective work. We wanted to invite you to Kigali Photo Fest in June. We will miss you. #BisiSilva
— Zoe Norridge (@ZoeNorridge) February 13, 2019
Truly shattered to hear of #BisiSilva's passing after battling cancer. She was such a warm, witty and humble human being but most of all a visionary for visual arts in Africa. We've lost a giant but what an ancestor we're gaining…💔
— Shari Ankomah (@ShariAnkomah) February 13, 2019
Oh No #BisiSilva I am shocked and so sad..you have done so much for African arts and we admire you. Rest in power Bisi through US.
— Undiscovered Canvas (@nomazanongqunga) February 13, 2019
RIP #BisiSilva. Incredibly talented curator with a peculiar eye for amazing art. Indulged me so many times with my novice knowledge. Ever patient and generous with her mind and love for all things art. Life is so fleeting…
— Alice Tomdio (@alicetomdio) February 12, 2019
Heart heavy hearing the news of curator #BisiSilva's passing. Grateful she left us with so many gems…like this one. And so sad to have missed her during her most recent visit to Chicago at @HPAC_chicago. #ProgressOfLove @MenilCollection @ccalagos @pulitzerarts pic.twitter.com/eGM05rxLnd
— Tempestt Hazel (@tempesttdhazel) February 13, 2019
We are saddened by the news that curator #BisiSilva has died. Bisi visited the Center in 2017 to discuss her curatorial practice. Here, we share an excerpt in which she discussed making “the local” more visible within a globalized field of #visualarts. https://t.co/hSUdnGPiHR pic.twitter.com/jv1RaoZsiJ
— Pew Arts & Heritage (@PewCenterArts) February 13, 2019
— Kemi Lala Akindoju (@lalaakindoju) February 13, 2019
People are reporting that the remarkable, lovely, force of nature Bisi Silva has passed away. As director of @ccalagos she had a profound impact on contemporary Nigerian and larger African art, and introduced so many of us in the US to what we should know. Rest in power, dear. https://t.co/d4mr2l6RAa
— Aruna D'Souza (@arunadsouza) February 12, 2019
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