The Female Artists Association of Nigeria (FEAAN) started in November 2001 during the “Women in Art” exhibition organized by the then, Director General, Dr. P.C. Dike of the National Gallery of Art. It was then called Nigerian Association of Female Artists (NAFA). But during the registration of the Association in 2007, the first name NAFA, was rejected by the Corporate Affairs Commission. That brought about the current name FEAAN. The association started with 21 members who were present at the opening of the “Women in Art” exhibition at the community Hall, Federal Capital Territory, Department of Arts and Culture, Area 10, Abuja, now Cyprian Ekwensi Art Centre, Abuja. The intention for the formation of the association according to Dr. Bridget Nwanze now Prof. Nwanze, was to bring all the Female Artists together to encourage them to practice the profession instead of abandoning it to pick up other professions. It was also observed that, very few women were participating in exhibitions organized by the Society of Nigerian Artists (SNA). Either they were not being carried along or they shy away from competing with the men. Dr. Dike has this to say in one of the exhibitions: “The exhibition symbolizes not only our pride in our nation’s artistic heritage but also a concern for promoting the creative potentials of our women in an age of robust feminist ideologies”. This was very apt, as the women were eager to break the silence and shatter the ceiling walls.
Prof. Nwanze made this statement at one of our exhibitions in 2014,
Given that these female artists are from different backgrounds, in terms of birth, origin, and training, working on the same theme, has afforded them the opportunity to exchange valuable ideas and gain specialized information as well as create an avenue for common experience”
Initially the association was being funded by the National Gallery of Art when Dr. Dike was still the DG. Since he retired, we have received minimal support. The National Council for Arts and Culture have also supported the association in the past.
The association had Prof. Bridget Nwanze as the president, Ngozi Akande as the Secretary, Joyce Ebirim as the Vice President, Vera Nwaokoko Chijioke as treasurer, Maria Obi as PRO and Betty Bassey as Asst. PRO. Prof. Nwanze was the president from 2001 to 2011, within this period we had exhibitions in Abuja, Lagos, Port Harcourt and Lokoja. The artists were exposed to exhibitions and workshops which gave the members the confidence to participate in more exhibitions locally and internationally. In 2011, an election was held in University of Port Harcourt, Rivers State, and Dr. Ngozi Akande became the president from 2011 to 2018. Within this period Ngozi diversified the funding of the association from government to Embassies and private sector. The association has partnered with the French Embassy to train artists at the Bruce Onobrapkeya’s Harmattan Workshop. Other Embassies that have supported the association are, Embassy of Mexico, Spanish Embassy, German Embassy, Chinese Cultural Centre, Pakistani High Commission in Nigeria, British High Commission, British Council, Australian Embassy and Irish Embassy for programs and events. We have had workshops and exhibitions with the Embassy of the United States of America on Art as Therapy for survivors of Gender Based Violence and Rape. UFUK Dialogue has been our partners for over 7 years. The association have had workshops and exchange programs with the China Embassy and China Cultural Centre, with some female artists visiting China for workshops and cultural exchange. The association is registered with the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development, they are also cleared by EFCC. We also partner with the UN Women for exhibitions to mark International Women Day and Elimination Against Women and Girls, 16 days of Activism. Mummy Nike as fondly called, is one of our Grand Patrons, through Nike Art Gallery, Mummy Nike has given us her gallery for over 8 years for exhibitions, she has facilitated exhibitions in and outside Nigeria for the female artists. The National Gallery of Art, the National Council for Arts and Culture, have also supported the association.
Through the support of the above Embassies and organizations, the association has consistently held exhibitions in most states of the federation. We have four zonal offices with over three hundred members. Among the members, most of them are running their personal businesses and art studios and more younger ones are being encouraged to be independent. The past 20 years have been very fulfilling as the association have had over 30 exhibitions with different themes as it affects women and other social events. The association has used their art as a campaign tool against Gender Based Violence and Rape. The association had seminars, and journals were published. Through collaborations with UFUK Dialogue and Nile University of Nigeria, the association sponsored the following members for PGD, and Master in Peace and Conflict resolution using their art as a tool, Joy Orvihi, Joyce Ebirim, Anne Agba. The China Cultural Centre through the Association sponsored Abigail Nnaji to China for 2 months for paper cutting workshop in China. That has also influenced her painting style. Millicent Okocha was also sponsored to China for 7 days Art workshop. Ngozi Akande was also nominated for cultural exchange in Wuhan, China. The partnership with International Child Art Foundation (ICAF), made it possible for five members of FEAAN to participate in the Children Art workshop, at the 6th World Children Festival at the Mall in 2021 in Washington DC. The French Embassy has sponsored over 50 members to Bruce Onobrapheya’s Harmattan Art Workshop in Delta state. Ngozi Akande was also sponsored by the French Embassy to represent Nigeria in Andorra UNESCO Art For Peace Camp.
In 2018 Chinze Ojobo became the president of FEAAN. We have had exhibitions in Nigerian Consulate in Johannesburg, in Oct 2018 to mark Nigerian Independence, at the Irish Ambassador's residence exhibition and the British Village exhibition. we also had collaborations with other NGOS like, Health Watch Africa, OSIWA, Education as a Vaccine and ENACOF. The Kulture Kode Gallery and Nsibidi the Gallery, NESTONE, Wuye, Abuja have also given the association space to exhibit works and use their spaces as contact. Despite all our activities, it's unfortunate that the association has not received any international grant to support the members and also have a befitting gallery space and office. We have been depending on individuals for support for space. We solicit supports for a gallery and office space.
Join us to celebrate the Nigerian Female Artists and all those who have supported her the past 20 years. For this reason, the association will engage on the following programs to mark the Event through, 2022.
Ngozi Akande (Ph.D.)
Co-founder, Past President &Sec. BOT FEAAN.
FEAAN registration number CAC/IT/NO 26022.