Photo credit: Dafe Oboro / STATEMENT


How Art X Creates a Space for African Artists and Art Lovers Alike

Photo credit: Dafe Oboro / STATEMENT

Art enthusiasts meet artists and their newest creations in an interactive exhibit inspiring progress in Nigeria

By Chisom Peter Job

November 2023

Conversations. Music. Technology. Art. The Balmoral Center in Victoria Island, Lagos, was bustling  with excitement as the annual Art X Lagos returned to town. For one week, The Center fills with people mulling over the meaning of different paintings, speaking with their respective artists and then nodding their heads in response to whatever the artists say. How often is one afforded the chance to discuss a piece with its originator?


Created in 2016 and founded by Tokini Peterside-Schwebig, the art fair showcases the work of African and diasporan artists while creating opportunities for the art scene to thrive.


There are interactive sessions that allow you to watch videos while penning down your thoughts for an imagined country. Visitors can sit in a space designed to look just like their grandpa’s house in a remote Nigerian village, immediately transporting them to their childhood, the hope being that remembering life as a kid inspires them to rethink structures that define life in Nigeria. Beyond the visual experience of Art X, creators took their work one step further by writing short stories connected to their art. The stories were not descriptions of the pieces, but rather examples of how literature and art inspire each other. 


Every corner of the art fair is filled with something for art lovers and non-art lovers alike including everything from graffiti to interactive sessions  but everywhere I turn, people talk about the paintings and the designs. This is what the Art X Lagos fair creates: a place to marvel at the work of talented African/Diasporan artists, taking in the brilliance they created.


In 2022, the arts, entertainment and recreation sector accounted for 0.21 percent of Nigeria’s GDP, with a report showing that Nigeria was at the forefront of the African art market, estimated to be around $13 billion — an amount largely bolstered by the global art market.


As more artists find international prominence and digital art continues to create more access to art on the continent, art fairs like Art X Lagos remain a space to celebrate emerging artists with the Art X Prize.


For Dafe Oboro, the Nigerian winner of the 2022 Prize, winning influenced the way the artist approaches the work. Oboro who had an exhibition alongside Belinda Kazeem-Kamiński, the 2022 African/Diasporan, self-titled Odafe, says: “I had to revisit and bring back my younger self and all the things I used to be so good at, including coloring and stitching. It has impacted the way I create.”


With a $10,000 grant and a Gasworks residency in London, Oboro was given the chance to push the boundaries of creativity with real support. “I think it’s an amazing opportunity when an emerging artist is selected for the prize, not just to get funding to create work, but to have a community to give you that push to do the work, and also a platform to exhibit.” 


As the years go by, Art X Lagos continues to be home to several artists and has been described as “the premiere fair in West Africa.” Its impact on the continental art scene is vital, according to Oboro. “When I came back to Nigeria, it was like another event a friend invited me to. But going there and seeing all the art was great. I had never seen so much art in one place,” the artist tells STATEMENT. “I think they’re playing a really important role in the art scene, not just in Nigeria, but in West Africa as a whole. And I am incredibly proud to be part of this year’s fair.”

Photo credit: AP


Inside The Rise of African Culture

Photo credit: AP

New technology spurs cultural appreciation, helping Africa to foster a complex, honest global identity

By Wale Oloworekende

October 2023

When Canadian pop giant, Drake, hopped on the remix of Wizkid’s balmy 2014 hit, “Ojuelegba” in 2015 — he ignited a global interest in the burgeoning Afrobeats scene. The musical union was brokered by British-Nigerian rapper and entrepreneur, Skepta, and in the eight years since, Afrobeats—and African culture by extension—has taken off, setting the stage for the continent’s recognition as a rising power in music, fashion, art, and film.


African culture’s rise to global prominence has, undoubtedly, been powered by its ingenious acts that combine their homegrown identity with global ambition. But it’s the contributions of key players like Skepta and members of the African diaspora scattered across the world who serve as unofficial ambassadors that have enabled this international awakening. 


“The African diaspora is the bridge between what’s happening internationally and on the ground in the continent,” Ronx Bamisedun, the VP of international Strategy and Artist Development at Love Renaissance, tells STATEMENT. “They’re well-traveled and are always on the move between where they live and their homeland, so they’re the ones showing their colleagues at work what’s happening or what talent to look out for.”


The African diaspora is largely responsible for the rise of Afrobeats as popular acts like Wizkid, Davido, and Burna Boy have steadily progressed from playing theater dates to selling out stadiums across Europe and North America. According to Bamisedun, the close involvement of the African diaspora with these acts comes from a place of pride in the culture. “10 years ago, it wasn’t cool to be African in America or the UK,” she explains. “In the past, you’d ask people where they were from, and they’d lie and say they were Jamaican when they were probably from Lagos because it wasn’t cool. Now because our creative currency is so strong,  our music, food, and culture are traveling.”


While popular music from Africa has undoubtedly been a success, other art forms are gaining similar prominence. Visual artists with African origins like Victor Ehikhamenor, Amoako Boafo, Ayanfe Olarinde, and Kwesi Botchway, have received critical praise globally for their work across painting, sculpting, and design. Ghanaian culture reporter, Gameli Hamelo, says that the rise in popularity of work by these artists is linked to a desire to change the narrative about Africa. “It got to the stage where the diaspora got tired of the negative imagery that is typically associated with the continent,” he says. “They have the power and accessibility of the internet now and want to use it to tell the world more robust stories about the continent. Supporting the art and artists from Africa is one of the ways to do that and it helps to project a different image of the continent.”


Outsider financial support has historically meant that African artists have less control over their output and the frequent elevation of works that propagate colonial biases, but the diaspora’s renewed investment into the continent has enabled a new level of freedom.  “The African diaspora is in a space where they have the power to control the narrative,” Hamelo adds. “In the past, that wasn’t the case because western institutions like the BBC and CNN were often the sole source of information about culture. Now it’s very different; you have people on YouTube, podcasts, X, and many social media platforms being the primary source of information for a new generation and it’s being used in the right way.”


Technology continues to play a critical role in allowing African creatives to share their work with a global audience, find diasporan audiences who get behind this work, and ensure that it’s not lost to time. The arrival of streaming platforms, in film and music, has played a key role in helping to shape fuller and more contextual narratives around the African experience. “I think streaming is a powerful tool,” Nigerian-American filmmaker, Amarachi Nwosu, tells STATEMENT. “I think it’s amazing to have these different conglomerates invest in Africa.” 


The investment made by Amazon Prime, Netflix, and Showmax allows African filmmakers to curate empathetic and multi-layered stories about the continent. “Even if you are in Japan and your friend doesn’t know anything about African filmmaking, you can go and show them films,” Nwosu says. “You can show them The Black Book and be like, ‘Hey. This is a really interesting film that tackles so many different narratives coming out of Nigeria. This is a story you should watch,’  and they can learn something from that experience.”


Ultimately, Nwosu believes that collaboration between the African diaspora and the continent is key to maintaining momentum going forward. “I think the African diaspora plays a role in just making sure that there’s an opportunity for the people that are the future storytellers,” she points out. “I think, on both sides, that I want to see an African diaspora that directly invests in the stories that we want to see come out of the continent, but I also want to see a continent that is equally engaged in stories from the African diaspora, especially these experiences of people who are navigating new terrains.”


Rogers Ofime on Queer Love in the Nigerian Series Wura

A queer love story on Nigerian TV and the man behind it

By Chisom Peter Job

July 2023

“Am I being Western?” he asks. “No. We’re talking about love, and it is between two people. And as far as I’m concerned, whether it’s a man and a man, a woman and a woman, a man, and a woman, I don’t think there’s anything wrong as long as it’s genuine love.”


In Wura, Rogers Ofime brings queer characters out of the shadows, challenging Nigeria’s long-held social norms.


Dubbed as Showmax’s first Nigerian telenovela, with plans on making it their longest-running one, with over 200 episodes, Wura follows Wura Amoo-Adekola (Scarlet Gomez), a mother and ruthless businesswoman who is ready to do whatever it takes for her gold mining business to succeed.


In Wura, Femi (Seyi Akinsola) and Lolu (Iremide Adeoye), two queer characters, are allowed to exist as they are without the implication that they are abominations, a common theme in mainstream Nollywood. While there are a few productions where queer characters are beginning to be respected, humanizing them has always been a problem, something Wura takes seriously.


While creating the show, Ofime wanted to stay true to its South African adaptation, The River, where these characters also exist. “So, when we were going to adopt it, we asked questions like ‘Would it be accepted in Nigeria?’ ‘Should we change it to a boy and a girl?’ ‘A love triangle?’ But then, we had to remind ourselves that there wasn’t anything wrong with two people of the same sex being in love and that the fact that it isn’t accepted in Nigeria doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist,” Ofime tells STATEMENT.


This interview has been edited for length and clarity.


STATEMENT: You’ve worked on many projects and have been in the industry for years. What has it been like for you so far?


Ofime: Well, I think it’s been fun. It’s always interesting when you do what you love to do and what you’re passionate about. And that’s the one thing that has kept me going. I’m doing what I love and have carved a niche for myself in the industry regarding the stories I tell.


I like to tell provocative stories. Stories that can change the status quo. So I think it’s been an interesting journey so far.


The story of Femi and Lolu was provocative. What was it like to tell it? Were there any challenges faced?


Honestly, there was no challenge. There was nothing. We don’t face challenges telling the stories of a boy and girl in love, so why now? Why are we giving it attention? Why are we making it feel like there’s something wrong that we’re doing? There’s nothing wrong with the story. There’s nothing wrong with the creative approach because it is what happens in our day-to-day existence. We all must come to the acceptance of it because it is what it is.


This is the first Nollywood show on a major service that isn’t offensive when showing queer love. And we know there’s still a long way to go, so what do you think about that?


On the contrary, Nollywood has come to embrace it. Do we have many confident producers telling these [queer] stories? Maybe not, and perhaps not many of us, but it’s been accepted. Like, a friend recently won a Berlinale award for his gay drama, and that’s not the first. As I said, it’s not Westernization but the fact that we must embrace this part of our existence. 


Do we have queer people in Nigeria? Yes. Do some of us accept them? Yes. I’m not here to tell people; please accept queer people because they’re in love. They’re in love, and you have to take it or leave it.


Why was it essential to bring The River to Nigeria?


Firstly, The River was very successful. And secondly, we knew it would work in terms of our social milieu. The only area, as you pointed out, was the queerness. The River is in its 6th season in South Africa; it’s done about three seasons in Kenya and two seasons in Portugal, if I’m correct. And so when they approached me to do this for Nigeria, I checked and saw the good ratings, and thought, “why not?”


Were you involved in the casting process?


Yes, I was. So our casting process was very long and tedious, but yes, I was involved, and of course, Mnet was involved too. So we called for an open audition, and then we streamlined to the number of people we wanted from the open audition. And in fact, you’d be amazed at how many actors wanted to play the part of Lolu and Femi. 


I was shocked, but seeing people auditioning to play these characters was also encouraging, as we had about 15 actors for the role of Lolu and about 20 for Femi before we pruned down to three and then from three to the final two. And the actors we eventually got for the role knew what it entailed. They got close, would call themselves babies, and held hands, which made the on-screen chemistry believable.


What stood out between both actors?


We didn’t want stereotypes. Do you know what I mean? We tried to avoid stereotypes about queer men and how they must look or sound. So we looked out for good screen chemistry and screen presence in delivery. Also, they were more convincing than the others, so they landed the role.


So what should viewers expect in the next season?


It is going to get better. I mean, we saw people complain about Femi and Lolu. Meanwhile, we didn’t show them doing anything. But wait for it; our viewers won’t be disappointed. We had two queer characters in The River and got to see more. So, expect the same.


Wura is currently streaming on Showmax.



Blonde Obsession and Western Influence: An Interview with Stephen Buoro

Buoro captures life in Nigeria amidst the birth of the internet

By Kenechukwu Nwokedi

July 2023

What is it like to live in the mind of a 15-year-old whose life has been formed by the intersection of Western pop culture and a Nigerian upbringing? Stephen Buoro’s novel, The Five Sorrowful Mysteries of Andy Africa, tells the engaging story in his acclaimed first novel. A recipient of the Booker Prize Foundation Scholarship, Buoro has a  degree in Mathematics and an MA in Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia.


STATEMENT spoke to Buoro about his writing process (part of the novel was written on his Blackberry!), the novel’s themes of religion and Western pop culture, his favorite time to write, and more. 


This interview has been edited for length and clarity.


STATEMENT: The Five Sorrowful Mysteries of Andy Africa is an interesting name for a novel. Can you tell us how you conceptualized the title and a little bit about the novel?


Buoro: The novel is a coming-of-age story set in present-day Nigeria. So it’s about Andrew Aziza, a smart, funny fifteen-year-old boy obsessed with blondes, whiteness, the west, and knowing who his true father is. He is ashamed of his mother, a photographer, who is poor and uneducated. In essence, the novel is about Andy’s feelings of shame and obsession intensifying when his life is suddenly destabilized by colonial violence. 


Regarding the title, The Five Sorrowful Mysteries is a prayer of the rosary in the Catholic Church. I come from a Catholic background, so it’s a prayer I said a lot growing up in Nigeria. This prayer reflects on the final moments of Jesus’ life during his time on earth — carrying of the cross, crucifixion, and death. While writing this novel, I realized especially in the first draft, how the life of Andy and also many Nigerians I knew, strongly mirrored this prayer. The prayer seems to reflect the turbulence and suffering of the post colonial experience in a country like Nigeria trying to find stability. I’m very interested in intertextuality, and the prayer is very intertextual. I hope readers get to see the novel as a literary prayer. 


A significant theme in the novel is the influence of the West on Andy’s taste in media — films like Star Wars, Dune — and literature and how his interests alienate him from his peers. Where did the idea for Andy’s alienation come from and does it mirror your own experiences growing up in any way? 


Of course. I was born in 1993 in Nigeria, so I was a teenager in the 2000s, a period saturated with Western culture. Western culture became much more ubiquitous in the mid to late 2000s in the country due to the internet, and for a Nigerian kid like Andy, that brings a sense of being present on the global stage. I felt that way as a teenager too because my friends, classmates, and I would spend a good chunk of our time talking about cultural phenomenons like WWE, the Premier League, the new Will Smith and Angelina Jolie films, all that kind of stuff, so it mirrored my experience too. 


Growing up, there was this huge presence of the legacy of colonialism; For example, we had to go to church and be religious, and we were told that this Western God and system of being are the right and only ways of doing things. And in school, I received similar messages because some of my schoolmates and I were flogged for speaking our local languages. So gradually, as a teenager, I began to absorb all these elements of the West such that my mates and I would mock other schoolmates who mispronounced English or French words. Partaking in Western culture was a way for me to belong because I didn’t want to be alienated from my peer group. All of that has huge imprints on young people and affected me when I was young as well. These huge imprints affect the way we conceptualize the world, our sense of self, and the way we see things in general and I wanted to explore all that through the character of Andy, his friends, and their interests in pop culture.


It can be argued that this novel doesn’t cater to Western audiences or coddle readers who may not understand its idiosyncrasies. For example, the untranslated Hausa used in the novel. Was this an intentional choice?


Definitely. I’ve always seen it as tautology or unwarranted repetitions when novels try to interpret certain expressions. I understand why many African writers have to do that and you will find a few points where I tried to translate some terminologies in the book too. 


I think people will actually google stuff they care about when they’re reading, as many have access to Google translate and the internet. My intention for this novel was to try and use all the stylistic devices at my disposal to convey the experience of being a Nigerian boy growing up in the North, what he sees, hears, and the feel of the place.


Andy suffers a dreadful fate at the end of the novel and it almost feels deserved. Was it always inevitable? 


In a way, yes because coming from the point of the view of the plot and his character, there just seemed to be this direction. From the very first sentence he declares his love for blondes and that already projects the narrative towards that end when he attempts to leave the country. On the other hand, I have this schema, the five sorrowful mysteries which is the prayer I’m working with, that directs me towards that end. These two narrative frameworks all coincide towards Andy’s attempt to leave and his failure at leaving. Sometimes the easiest solution is usually the best in terms of the plot development.


I found out from a previous interview that you were a mathematics teacher while you were in Nigeria. How did you balance the demands of that job with the task of honing your skills as a writer? 


I taught for about seven months which is still a considerable amount of time. Luckily for me I was working part-time at the school so I only went in when I had classes to teach. I was also working as a research assistant for one of my lecturers at the university so that was helpful. I would teach during the day and write during the evenings which was great because that was my favorite time to write. 


Mathematics plays a significant role in how Andy processes the hardship of living in Africa. What inspired your decision to incorporate mathematics into the storytelling? 


When I was writing this novel, I realized how my interests in mathematics, pop culture, and religion would help and arm Andy with amazing tools for unraveling himself for the reader and contemplating the post-colonial world he finds himself in. When I was Andy’s age, I found mathematics and poetry therapeutic in many ways because they helped me negotiate my angst and rage as a teenager. So that gave me a method of attempting to understand things.


Do you have a routine for writing and what was your process for writing this book?


Hopefully, I will have a definite routine in the next ten years as this is my first novel, but I didn’t have one for writing this book. Everything has just been some form of experimentation and discovery for me. For example, part of this novel was written on a Blackberry Curve 2, pencil and paper, and then on a computer. I love writing in the evening– I don’t know, maybe it’s the time of day when my brain is much more relaxed or less critical of itself, so I drafted the novel mostly in the evenings but my process changed when I was revising. When I have deadlines I just have to make it work.


Do you often know the ending of a story when you start it? 


The ending was mostly clear to me when I was about a quarter into the novel, and that greatly helped me. I like the sense that I know where a story is going, and it gave me confidence during the writing process


Do you have any advice for African writers currently working to be better storytellers? 


This might sound [like a cliche], but in my experience, just keep writing, dreaming, reading, and thinking.  Also I remember reading this wonderful advice by, I think, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, about how Nigerian writers should just write their own stories and not copy John Grisham or other Western writers. That’s also wonderful advice!


Are you optimistic about the future of Nigerian literature? 


That’s the only thing in Nigeria I’m incredibly optimistic about. Nigeria is going through so much turbulence and, for a writer, it’s a wonderful time to be alive and to write. I recently read Tola Rotimi Abraham’s Black Sunday, a very wonderful book. In the past we only had Chimamanda Adichie and a few others but so many emerging writers are coming through and that’s really great.


What books would you consider your favorites? 


The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky. On my shelf, I currently have Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes and The Unbearable Lightness of Being. Also 100 Years of Solitude, James Joyce’s Ulysses, and my favorite Adichie novel, Purple Hibiscus


What authors have influenced you as a writer? 


In terms of who influenced this novel, I have to mention Chinua Achebe. Reading him when I was a teenager was very important in my development. Also, A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess. In terms of the tone and voice in my novel, this book was very influential.


Do you tend to read at all while working on a book or do you cut off any possible inspirational supply? 


When I was writing this novel, I had a lot of free time to read books and some of them gave me crumbs that stimulated my mind. I had been writing the novel for about five years and it would’ve been absurd not to read any other book for that amount of time. I also watched TV dramas like The Wire, Lost– the wide span of characters, the sense of time etc. It’s amazing!


Do you have any favorite films? 


I love the musical film, Chicago. The writing and humor is on point. I love Jazz so I loved the music as well. Also, 2001: A Space Odyssey and Blue is the Warmest Color.


What is your ideal reading experience? 


I’m very open to reading anything. For me, the only test a book should pass is for it to engage me on an emotional, intellectual, and even aesthetic level. I want to be able to forget about my mundane life and be immersed in whatever world it is.


The Five Sorrowful Mysteries of Andy Africa is currently in stores.


Film & TV

The Future of Nigerian Film: Backyard Studios in the Suburbs

How Nollywood filmmakers are solving Nigeria’s age-old logistical issues

By Wale Oloworekende

July 2023

  • An ineffective permit system has shifted film productions from urban cities to rural areas. 

  • Veteran producers anticipate the growth of ‘film lots’ to maintain control of shooting environments.

  • Without government support, Nigeria can’t grow its production capabilities to full scale.


Since its inception in 1992 with the release of Ken Nnebue’s thriller, Living In Bondage, the scope of Nollywood–the portmanteau used to refer to Nigeria’s film industry–has only grown bigger.  From the over 750,000 copies of  Living In Bondage sold that made the film an instant hit to the return of cinema culture to the country around the early 2010s and, now, the rise of streaming services like Netflix and Amazon in ubiquity, Nollywood has continued to tell authentic stories about the Nigerian experience while finding ways to bolster profitability. Last year, Nigerian films grossed over N800 million ($1,103,400) at cinemas. Crucially, the industry employs over 1 million people. 


While Nollywood is also widely recognised as the second largest film producer in the world, behind Hollywood, it continues to grapple with logistical difficulties surrounding production. The lack of governmental support or an institutional framework to smoothen the production process continues to make filmmaking in the country a herculean effort, meaning that filmmakers have had to move their productions to other countries in the past for various reasons. 


“One of the biggest issues is getting the right permits because we don’t have the functional bodies to issue those permits to shoot,” actress and producer Imoh Eboh tells STATEMENT. “They exist in theory but they’re not functional in a practical sense. In other countries like Tanzania, the government and authorities are fully involved in the filmmaking process, but in Nigeria, it’s heavily based on who you know and how you can work around tricky situations.” 


Too often, the process of getting film permits is bogged down by bureaucratic red tape that reflects how low the movie industry ranks on the government’s list of priorities. It’s a conundrum that shows no sign of getting better despite the industry generating over $600 million annually. With the bulk of filmmaking shoots taking place in urban cities like Lagos and Abuja, the lack of interest in the filmmaking process by government authorities can often mean that producers and directors are left to figure out how to navigate shoots in areas they’re not familiar with alone. They are often left at the mercy of touts and street urchins locally known as agberos who make logistical preparation and execution a nightmare. 

Blessing Uzzi, a Nigerian producer and filmmaker, contends that these street urchins are at the heart of all the logistic issues facing filmmakers. “Touts are at the root of the problem,” she says. “To be honest, every [logistics] problem eventually boils down to an agbero issue.”


Furthermore, the uncertainty and incertitude of logistical preparations mean that very few people working in the Nigerian film industry can claim to have mastered the process. According to director and producer, Editi Effiong, not having a comprehensive understanding and mastery of the logistical process is a big issue that needs addressing. “The most chaotic aspect of setting up logistics for a Nigerian shoot is having the know-how,” he says. “Because most pictures are shot in Lagos or in just one location, the ability to handle people over large spaces or work on sequences that are not situated anywhere between Lekki and Ikeja means that most people don’t have any experience with that. However, I think the industry is growing in know-how and people are getting a handle on how to do things.”


The continued growth of the movie industry and the influx of a new range of industry practitioners means that alternative options are being sought to find a way around these logistical issues. One of the options being explored is the devolution of the filmmaking process from the urban centres where films were made in the past to other areas across the country. It’s an idea that has historical precedence. An ambitious project led by ex-Cross River governor, Donald Duke, in the mid-2000s was launched to turn the picturesque Tinapa Resort in Calabar into a filmmaking mecca in Nigeria with movie mogul, Mo Abudu, leading that charge through her EbonyLife studios. 


 In 2018, Up North, a romantic drama based on a story by Editi Effiong, was released to critical acclaim. Mainly shot in Bauchi, in Northern Nigeria, Editi remembers it as one of his favourite shoots. “I’ve found that shooting in the North is inherently easier than shooting in Lagos,” he explains. “When I am working in the North, everything is easy. In the past when I have applied for military and government permissions, I’ve tended to get them and I think Bauchi is a great place to shoot as well.”


The next evolution of this trend could also be a move towards movie lots that allow filmmakers to bring their visions to life in a controlled environment without the disruption of hoodlums or the looming spectre of logistical costs hanging over them. Last year, filmmaker Kunle Afolayan, who is often credited with helping Nollywood transition into a more modern epoch, released his latest movie, Aníkúlápó, to rave reviews. The historical drama, set in the 17th century Oyo Empire, was shot on location at the KAP Film Village and Resort, a 40-acre property located in Igbojaye, Oyo State. 


The idea for setting up the lot came to Afolayan after a decision was made in his mind to pursue making Aníkúlápó. “Seeing as the movie was set in the 17th century, my mind went to my mum’s village because they have mountains and all that,” Afolayan says. “We decided to go there and see if we could remodel some structures. I took some of my crew members and friends but as we were entering the town I saw a land by the side surrounded by hills. Later, I went to the community, told them my plans and asked for six acres to build sets and all that but today we have 40 acres.”


Another advantage of having that facility, per Afolayan, is being able to bring his vision to life clearly. “The highlight of Aníkúlápó in a film village is the flexibility that you have,” he says. “Sometimes you have a script and it says you need a palace but it doesn’t tell you what the palace looks like. I referenced some pictures of the Oyo empire in the past but I decided that I wasn’t going to build the palace like the ones from that period.”


For all the talk about movie lots easing the production process, they represent different logistical costs due to the concentration of movie stars and crew members in cities like Lagos, Ibadan, and Abuja. “Because of their nature, we need to have these lots in faraway places,” Eboh says. “So, the question becomes if filmmakers can have the money to put their crew and cast in the optimal facilities around these areas. Donald Duke built one in Tinapa, but people still moved back to Lagos because flying people across the country is expensive.”


Still, Editi Effiong believes there is a place for movie lots in the Nigerian movie landscape. “Lagos is the hub of the film-making industry, so I think it needs a lot,” he says. “I think there’s a market for smaller and big pictures that can find film lots very useful. Generally,  I also think that film lots can reduce the cost of production significantly, especially for pictures that don’t need a lot in terms of outdoor sets.”  He also thinks that having movie lots in places like Uyo, Jos, Kaduna, and Kwara would go a long way to helping lower logistical costs and foster a true, broad representation of Nigeria. 


It’s something that Kunle Afolayan wholeheartedly agrees with. “I think we can have movie lots anywhere,” he says in a chat from the KAP Film Village one morning. “The important thing is that someone has to see the vision. We have different geography everywhere, and we need it all deployed and used in our films. Nigeria is massive, and all we need is people to take the bull by the horn.” 


As Nollywood continues to grow bigger and the scope of its stories gets more ambitious, there are sure to be more movies made in lots across the country thanks to investments being made by private financiers and the influx of streaming services into the country. As these adventurous commitments rise in popularity, there should also be vigorous government-led efforts to make filming in urban areas hassle-free, thereby ensuring that the movie industry can unlock its full potential.