Joke Silva leads art community at intimate ceremony for late sister

Bisi Silva

Members of the Nigerian art community came together on Thursday to celebrate the life of famed curator, Bisi Silva, for an intimate ceremony at Freedom Park in Lagos.

Nollywood veteran and sister of the deceased, Joke Silva, led friends, family and fans who shared their experiences with the well-travelled art lover.

Poet and culture enthusiast, Aduke Gomez, and director of SMO Contemporary Art, Sandra Obiago, were some of those who delivered the first round of rousing eulogies.

All the speakers spoke of a woman who defined an era of artistry in Nigeria.

Said to be shocked at the state of Nigerian art after her return in the early 2000s, Ms Silva championed a structured, detailed and academic approach to the art industry in Nigeria.

Executives of pan-African artist network, Arterial Nigeria, were present to pay tribute to Bisi, who was a honourary member and a mentor in their programmes.  

The tributes came to an end with a stirring performance of Grammy award-winning artiste Frank Sinatra’s ‘My Way’.

A brief musical break followed before the next part of the occasion began.

Series of unfinished documentaries were played to depict different sides of the celebrated art icon.

The documentaries depicts Bisi Silva as a teacher, author, mentor, curator and family woman.

One of the videos documents her work with world-renowned artist, Yinka Shonibare, whose works explore cultural identity, colonialism and post-colonialism during his visit to Lagos.

Another one showed her as a teacher urging artists to appreciate and understand the importance of the proper documentation of their work and creative process.

Bisi Silva died of cancer on Tuesday, February 12.

She was the founder and artistic director of the much celebrated Centre for Contemporary Art (CCA) in Yaba, Lagos.

Silva was also the curator of Asiko International Art School, the pan-African roaming alternative art school.