Thought Pyramid Art Centre in Benin City epitomizes the realization of constructive ideas – Jeff Ajueshi

by Bob MajiriOghene Etemiku
thought pyramid

Jeff Ajueshi is a curator and founder of Thought Pyramid Art Gallery in Nigeria.

The Thought Pyramid has galleries in Abuja, Lagos and Delta state. Why is the one in Edo state just being established considering that Edo has a rich history of Arts.

I am a Bini Boy. I’m a native of Benin, born and raised in this city by a Benin mother and Urhobo father. Old Bendel State’s Red City is my place of birth, and Edo is my beloved home. Hence, this homecoming is particularly meaningful. The concept of the Thought Pyramid Art Centre Benin was conceived years ago, but it has now materialized into reality. We are delighted to be here at a time when collective efforts are needed to uplift the Edo art ecosystem. Our aim was not only to create a remarkable art space but also to contribute to the discourse on elevating Edo’s art scene. We took our time to establish a gallery that Edo’s and Benin’s people can take pride in, striving to create the most exceptional art gallery in Edo State, something unexpected, which is in line with the reputation of Thought Pyramid Art Centre for standing out. I am pleased to say that we have achieved that goal.

Interest in the Benin artefacts is very high locally and internationally.  Is the Thought Pyramid getting involved in this heightened interest, and how does the Pyramid intend to get involved?

Certainly, we cannot be present here without a deep interest in engaging in a meaningful discourse and contributing to the causes that hold great significance for the people of Edo State. This, after all, is the essence of being the “PYRAMID.” Our commitment extends to a keen desire to delve into the rich history of this region and to curate programs that can help preserve its unique heritage.

One of the ways in which we aim to contribute is by providing stability to the local art community in Edo State. Drawing from our extensive experience acquired over decades in the competitive art scenes of Lagos and Abuja, we aspire to inspire the growth and sustenance of indigenous art right here in Edo State and Benin City. With the support of the Nigerian art community, we have established ourselves as a household name in the Nigerian art industry, and we now seek to offer our platform to Edo artists, assisting them in elevating their practice. In essence, our goal is to fortify the very foundation and structure of visual art in Edo State and Benin City. Furthermore, Thought Pyramid Art Centre Benin is eager to collaborate with the leaders and authorities of the local art scene to promote the harmony and balance that motivated our homecoming. It’s worth acknowledging the remarkable efforts of the art stakeholders and custodians in this region. We aim to find ways to enhance unity and integration, believing that together, we can continue to ensure the relevance of our culture and value of our artifacts in this modern and contemporary art era. Working collectively, we can preserve and elevate our heritage for generations to come.

Most people find it difficult to place art in national development.  What do you think can be done to redress this kind of attitude?

Frankly, I believe it’s time to move beyond merely contemplating “What do you think…” It’s high time we translate our thoughts into action. The establishment of Thought Pyramid Art Centre in Benin City epitomizes the realization of constructive ideas that hold great importance for us and the betterment of our society and our passions. Additionally, it’s crucial that no one distances themselves from the positive changes advocated by some of us. We can truly garner national attention when we unite as a single voice and collectively execute our plans as one people, one art industry. Let’s set aside division and embrace unity, bound together by love and dedication.

The Thought Pyramid Art Centre is easily the number one Art Gallery in Nigeria. How did you get to this position?

I truly appreciate your kind words. Thank you very much. Personally, I firmly believe that tireless passion, a relentless drive, consistent hard work and giving can make anything achievable. These are some of the principles that also apply to how we reached our esteemed position in the Nigerian art industry. Nevertheless, we remain humble and grounded, and I consistently convey this to my team. We understand that there is much more to be accomplished, and many more frontiers to explore. Thus, we don’t rest on our laurels. Our attention is fixed on the future, always asking, “What’s next?” And one of those “next” steps is the Thought Pyramid Art Centre Benin, where we are currently celebrating this milestone. We’re already setting our sights on the next missions and visions on our bucket list.

Does the Thought Pyramid have any plans to work with or collaborate with the Edo state Museum of West African Art, EMOWAA, being built in Benin City?

Absolutely, we’re looking forward to exploring that possibility. We’ve been greatly impressed by the initial documentation and other aspects we’ve observed. Thought Pyramid Art Centre (Benin) is open to partnerships with individuals and organizations who are willing to collaborate with us. If the Edo State Museum of West African Art (MOMAA) is where we can commence our collaborative efforts, we are more than eager to do so. To commemorate the grand inauguration of Thought Pyramid Art Centre Benin, we are thrilled to present a group exhibition titled “RED BOOK,” featuring 15 of Edo’s most esteemed visual artists such as Ben Osawe, Amos Odion, Ben Osaghe, Edosa Ogiugo, Enotie Ogbebor, Bob Nosa Uwagboe, Pita Ohiwerei, Ohis Ohiwerei, Sam Ebohon, Tony Oshiame, Ada Godspower, Ibie Blessing, Exodus Aluyia, Taiye Idahor, TYNA Adebowale. This exhibition serves as a tribute to the abundant heritage of creativity, artistic culture, and the vibrant spirit that characterizes Edo State and Benin City, resonating throughout the entire national art landscape. “RED BOOK” offers a thoughtfully curated collection of exceptional artworks by globally renowned artists hailing from Benin, promising an immersive journey that will further ignite your appreciation for Benin’s artistic traditions. I am delighted to extend this official invitation to art enthusiasts and stakeholders in Edo State, Benin City, and from around the world to join us for the grand opening of “RED BOOK” on Saturday, November 11, 2023, at 4 pm. The lineup of artists will leave you captivated. Following the grand opening, we invite you to a gallery talk on Sunday, November 12, 2023, at 4 pm, where you will gain insights into the “why” and aspirations behind the establishment of Thought Pyramid Art Centre Benin. “RED BOOK” is scheduled to run until Sunday, December 10, 2023. We eagerly anticipate the presence of discerning art connoisseurs at this remarkable exhibition. Our address is 33, Aiguobasinwin Crescent, G.R.A, Benin City.

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