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Monday, July 15, 2024

Nigerian visual artist unveils artwork in renovated British Airways lounge

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Nigerian visual artist Olawunmi Banjo showcased some of her artwork themed ‘The Wait’ at the newly renovated British Airways lounge at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos State over the weekend.

British Airways recently opened a newly renovated lounge at Lagos Airport after renovating the unit for six months. The airline said the space offers customers a stronger aesthetic experience while appreciating artworks by talented Nigerian artists.

Ms Banjo’s artworks, themed ‘New Beginnings’, were featured works displayed at the hall’s grand reopening.

The 38-year-old experienced canvas painter described ‘The Wait’ 1 and 11 as a reflection on the journeys of individuals during various periods of waiting.

The other selected artists who also centered their works around the chosen theme are Qozeem Abdul Rahman, a large painting titled The Guardian, and Steve Ekpenisi, a large metal sculpture titled Ulaga.

Banjo, a self-taught artist, said: “The work represents a moment to reflect on our journey. It speaks to how many of us have gone through different experiences in life waiting at times. Some of us will be anxious about the wait. Some of us will try to reflect on our journey, how far we have come, and the possibilities of what lies ahead. My main goal with the works is to make people reflect on the possibilities of new beginnings while they wait.”

The Pan African University graduate emphasizes that the theme of the artwork goes beyond the context of waiting for a flight. He resonates with personal experiences and the universal feeling of anticipation, fostering a sense of connection among the audience.

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She said: “It might be personal for you. It could be going through an experience where you want something to happen but you don’t know when it will happen. It can be anxiety-inducing at times, but that shouldn’t be what we focus on. “We should use the waiting period to reflect on how far we have come and the possibilities of things to come.”

With over 18 years of experience as an artist, Ms. Banjo aims to raise awareness of the multifaceted nature of art. She said her painting style has evolved to explore more surreal landscapes and reorient typical mindsets.

She said: “The importance is to create awareness in people through art. It is important to let them know that it is not just about aesthetic value. We want them to know that there are many things in art. “I am inspired by nature, personal experience and the experience of other people.”

Art meets hospitality

British Airways curated the groundbreaking exhibition at the show featuring works by guest artists in collaboration with Akoje Gallery, founded by Maro Itoje and Khalil Akar.

Ms Banjo has exhibited her work at numerous international exhibitions and art fairs including Re-Art Meets Africa, Ihlienworth, Germany (2018), Press for Progress International Women Arts Exhibition in Dubai (2018), 24th Pan African Film & Art Festival (PAFF) in Los Angeles, United States.

The renovated salon, spanning 360 square meters, offers customers an enhanced aesthetic experience. With enhanced facilities for dining, relaxing and working, it is designed to meet the diverse needs of travelers and promises an exciting and comfortable stay.

British Airways chief customer officer Calum Laming expressed excitement about the new lounge and its role in improving the customer experience.

READ ALSO: PHOTO STORY: Passengers stranded at Abuja airport as aviation unions withdraw services

“We are focused on investing in the entire customer journey, not just on board. For many of our customers, lounges are an important part of their experience and the redesign of our lounge in Lagos is a key part of our transformation strategy across all our lounges around the world. We are delighted to open our doors to this stunning salon in Lagos. “We are sure customers will enjoy spending time in this cleverly created space,” said Mr Laming.

In his comments, Mr. Akar of The Akoje Gallery added: “We are honored to partner with British Airways and provide local Nigerian artists the opportunity to showcase their talents at the new Lagos Lounge. “We hope British Airways passengers enjoy the immersion in Nigerian culture and the artists’ contribution to their local arts community.”

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