FULL PROGRAMME ANNOUNCED: Transcending Boundaries 2014 - UKs leading West African art show returns to London this spring for its second year

  • Eleven of West Africa’s leading contemporary artists bring never-before-seen work to London
  • Aabru Art in London presents a selling show offering an opportunity to buy into the rapidly emerging African Art market
  • Prices ranging from £3,000 – £30,000
  • Supported by a varied events programme
  • Press preview: 8.30 - 12.00 on 17 March, RSVP to
  • Transcending Boundaries 2014 runs from 17 - 22 March
  • Artists are available for interview
  • Address: Mall Galleries, The Mall (near Trafalgar Square), London, SW1
  • Hi-Res images, information and interviews, please contact

Transcending Boundaries, the UK’s largest selling West African art exhibition, presented by Aabru Art in London, has announced its second annual exhibition following a hugely successful near sell-out inaugural show in 2013.

The pioneering exhibition will once again celebrate excellence in West African Contemporary art and illustrate the growing popularity in contemporary art from the region. Taking place at London’s Mall Galleries for the first time, this diverse and vibrant showcase will allow both collectors and the public the opportunity to see and buy previously unseen art by West Africa’s leading artists.

Eleven leading artists, all of whom are revered in their home countries, are bringing world premières of their work to the five-day exhibition. Exquisite art, ranging from elegant wood sculptures by Reuben Ugbine and photo-realistic oil paintings by Abiodun Olaku through to intricate metal work that resembles leather by Fidelis Odogwu and bold, colourful works by Edosa Ogiugo, will be available for purchase.

Following the success of last year’s show, which was attended by leading art collectors, business professionals, tastemakers, politicians and celebrated artists, Anshu Bahanda, founder of Aabru Art is delighted to be presenting Transcending Boundaries for a second year:  

“The response to Transcending Boundaries 2013 was fantastic and we are very pleased to be returning with another collection of outstanding artists from West Africa. These artists highlight the diversity and quality of work from the region with a host of evocative and engaging works. We look forward to hosting Transcending Boundaries 2014 at the Mall galleries with a full programme of events.

Aabru Art has worked closely with each of these artists, encouraging Transcending Boundaries to break norms and establish a lasting legacy for West African art in the international market.”

All of the work on display draws on West Africa’s heritage for inspiration with prices ranging from £3,000 - £30,000.

The VIP section is designed by Banke Kuku.

Transcending Boundaries 2014 also has a full programme of educational events available to the public between 17 - 22 March. Artist tours and panel discussions with Biyi Bandele (Director of Half of a Yellow Sun), Chris Spring (British Museum), Nkem Ifejika (Business Journalist), Giles Peppiatt (Bonhams) and Abiodun Olaku (West African Artist and Founder of the Guild of Fine Arts) will take place at the Mall Galleries.

BOOKING ESSENTIAL: The public can register for VIP events by emailing

Tickets are available for the panel discussion, drinks and special preview screening event of ‘Half of a Yellow Sun’, courtesy of Soda Pictures, on Thursday 20 March from, here:

Please note that all tickets are subject to availability.

Transcending Boundaries 2014 - Gallery programme

Monday 17 March

8.30 - 12.00
Press preview (PRESS ONLY)

13.00 - 13.30
Artist and Curatorial Tour
Transcending Boundaries Artists Tour with Anshu Bahanda (Founder of Aabru Art) and a selection of exhibiting artists who will discuss their work.

Booking is essential. Please register interest by emailing
Limited Availability - 20 person capacity.

18.00 - 19.00
Behind the Scenes at Bonhams
VIP Tour for Aabru Guests with contemporary African Art specialist, Giles Peppiatt, at Bonhams on New Bond Street .

Booking is essential. Please register interest by emailing
Limited Availability - 30 person capacity.

Tuesday 18 March

19.00 - 22.00
VIP Champagne Launch Party
Music by DJ Peter Adjaye

Wednesday 19 March

11.00 - 11.30
Artist and Curatorial Tour
Transcending Boundaries Artists Tour with Anshu Bahanda (Founder of Aabru Art) and a selection of exhibiting artists who will discuss their work.

Booking is essential. Please register interest by emailing
Limited Availability - 20 person capacity.

Thursday 20 March

Booking is essential. £40 tickets (to benefit the charity ‘Concern’) for panel, drink and special screening of ‘Half of a Yellow Sun’ are available from

19.15 - 20.00
‘Co-existence or Contradiction’
Business and Art panel discussion with Biyi Bandele (Director of Half of a Yellow Sun), Baroness Lola Young (Life Peer at the House of Lords), Nkem Ifejika (Business Journalist) and Ede Dafinone (African Art Collector).

Booking is essential. £40 tickets (to benefit the charity ‘Concern’) for panel, drink and special screening of ‘Half of a Yellow Sun’ are available from
Limited Availability - 80 person capacity.

20.00 - 21.00
Drinks at Mall Galleries

Booking is essential. £40 tickets (to benefit the charity ‘Concern’) for panel, drink and special screening of ‘Half of a Yellow Sun’ are available from
Limited Availability - 80 person capacity.

21.00 - 22.30
Special Preview Screening of ‘Half of a Yellow Sun’, courtesy of Soda Pictures, at the ICA

Booking is essential. £40 tickets (to benefit the charity ‘Concern’) for panel, drink and special screening of ‘Half of a Yellow Sun’ are available from
Limited Availability - 180 person capacity.

Friday 21 March

14.30 - 15.30
‘Pioneers in the world of African Art’
Art panel discussion with Chris Spring (British Museum), Giles Peppiatt (Bonhams) and Abiodun Olaku (West African Artist and Founder of the Guild of Fine Arts).

TBC - Yinka Shonibare MBE (International Artist of Nigerian Origin)

Booking is essential. Please register interest by emailing
Limited Availability - 80 person capacity.

Saturday 22 March

14.00 - 15.00
Gasworks Tours
VIP Tour of Gasworks discussing ‘African Residencies’ led by Alessio Antonelli, Director of Gasworks

Booking is essential. Please register interest by emailing
Limited Availability - 30 person capacity.

- END -

Notes to editors

Address: Mall Galleries, The Mall (near Trafalgar Square), London, SW1
Twitter: @Aabru_Art

List of confirmed artists:
Abiodun Olaku
Ben Osaghae
Bunmi Babatunde
Duke Asidere
Edosa Ogiugo
Kolade Oshinowo
Fidelis Odogwu
Reuben Ugbine
Rom Isichei
Sam Ovraiti
Tayo Quaye

Media contacts:

Kallaway PR
Jack Hickmott
+44 20 7221 7883

Anshu Bahanda
M: +44 7802 777 469

Ticketing information:
The public can register for FREE tickets to the VIP gallery programme by emailing:

Tickets are available for the special preview screening of ‘Half a Yellow Sun’, courtesy of Soda Pictures, from, here:

Please note that tickets are subject to availability

Opening Times

Monday 17 March -
Press preview - 8.30 - 12.00
Open to the Public until 17.00

Tuesday 18 March - 10.00 - 17.00
Wednesday 19 March - 10.00 - 17.00
Thursday 20 March - 10.00 - 17.00
Friday 21 March - 10.00 - 17.00
Saturday 22 March - 10.00 - 15.00

Transcending Boundaries 2014 is very grateful to its generous sponsors:

Seven Energy
Amaya Capital Partners

Christian Ravina
Soda Pictures - UK distributor of ‘Half of a Yellow Sun’
Banke Kuku

Media Partner

The Art Newspaper


Transcending Boundaries 2014 - The Leading Platform for Contemporary West African Art

Following the success of the inaugural Transcending Boundaries exhibition last year, termed 'The Best African Party in 2013' and attended by Yinka Shonibare OBE, art collectors, business professionals, trendsetters and politicians, the largest show of West African art to ever be held in London, returns.

As a leading platform to celebrate excellence in West African Contemporary art presented by Aabru Art in London, the exhibition showcases the work of master artists from the region. Transcending Boundaries 2014 provides an opportunity to buy into the art world’s hottest new region and aims to encourage mainstream international growth in the rapidly emerging African art market.

Transcending Boundaries 2014 runs from 17 March until 22 March at London’s Mall Galleries.

Anshu Bahanda – founder of Aabru Art
Anshu Bahanda is the founder and chairman of Aabru Art. She has a passion for finding undiscovered, talented artists and introducing them to the world stage. Anshu collected art for a number of years before curating exhibitions professionally.

Anshu studied film at Raindance (UK) and art at Sotheby's (London). She has a Masters in Computer Science from Boston University (USA) and a BA in Economics from St. Stephen’s College (India). Her professional life began with a career in banking, more specifically at Deutsche Bank and Lehman Brothers in London. During her career she worked within the emerging markets space and spent some time with Andersen Consulting in India.

Anshu is also one of the founding members of Pan Asian Women’s Association (PAWA). Her work ethos is based on integrity and social entrepreneurship. She is based in London and lives with her husband and 2 daughters.

About Mall Galleries
The Mall Galleries in central London functions not only as a venue, with three main galleries, a bookshop and a cafe, but also as home to the Federation of British Artists, a registered charity established in 1961.

The Federation of British Artists (FBA) consists of eight of the UK’s leading art societies, all of whom hold their Annual Exhibition at the Mall Galleries. A unique national resource, the FBA has over 500 artist members and serves as a national focal point for contemporary figurative art by living artists working in the UK.

The Mall Galleries also host several of the UK’s premier open art competitions, including The Threadneedle Prize and the ING Discerning Eye. Furthermore, they are home to the Hesketh Hubbard Art Society, the largest life drawing society in London.

As a charity, they place great importance on their educational activities. Their exciting programmes reach out to diverse age groups and communities from London and around the UK.

Artist Biographies

Abiodun Olaku
Abiodun Olaku was born in Lagos in 1958 and trained as an artist at the Yaba College of Technology. He worked within the Civil Service from 1982 and left after five years to concentrate on his artist pursuits.

Olaku is well known in Nigeria for his realist approach and exceptional drawing ability. His oil canvases are suffused with atmospheric light, shapes and subtle colour. He is one of the most sought after Nigerian artists today. 

Ben Osaghae
Born in Benin City in 1962, Ben Osaghae trained as an artist at the Auchi polytechnic, Edo State, Nigeria in 1986, specializing in Painting. After his National Service and a three-year teaching contract ending in 1990, he returned to his Alma Mata to become Senior Instructor in Painting, Life Drawing and History of Art between 1991 and 1995. He resigned from this post to devote more time and energy to ArtHours Studios, his private studio which he created whilst working as a teacher.

Osaghae has had four solo exhibitions in Nigeria and has participated in several group shows in Europe and the United States. He has an impressive list of patrons and collectors all over the world. He also enjoys writing prefaces and critiques in catalogues of fellow exhibiting artists.

Bunmi Babatunde
Born in 1957, Bunmi Babatunde studied sculpture at Yaba College of Technology, graduating in 1983. He has participated in over 25 exhibitions at home and overseas and produced work for both public and private commissions.

His large-scale ebony works are instantly recognised in Nigeria due to his popularity and unique style. He holds great potential for the international market – all pieces presented in international exhibitions have been sold.

Duke Asidere
Duke Asidere was born in Apapa, Lagos in 1961. He studied Art in Warri and attended the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria.  Having graduated in 1988, he continued to an MFA (Masters in Fine Arts) and after teaching art for 5 years at Auchi Polytechnic (1990-1995), he left to focus on his own work.

Duke works mostly in oil, and on a large canvas. Having exhibited widely in Nigeria, Europe and the Americas, he has been gaining international recognition recently through Transcending Boundaries 2013 and the Africa Now auction at Bonhams.

Edosa Ogiugo
Born in Ibadan in 1961, Edosa Ogiugo studied art at Yaba College of Technology, graduating in 1985. Following a stint in advertising he started focusing solely on art in 1992. He now lives and works in Nigeria and has exhibited extensively throughout the world. He is featured in both public and private collections in Africa, Europe and America.

Ogiugo’s works are unrestrained, bold in colour and often feature animals and people in full motion. He pioneered the Nigerian Guild of Fine Art that brings together full time studio artists from all over Nigeria, giving them a collective voice.

Fidelis Odogwu
Fidelis Odogwu was born in Agbor, Delta State in 1970 and graduated as a sculptor from Auchi Polytechnic in 1991. During his studies Fidelis trained with renowned sculptor Ben Osawe. Working as a full-time studio artist, he has had several exhibitions in Nigeria and overseas.

Working with metal, Odogwu deals with a variety of themes and creates inspired works that demonstrate not only his understanding of the materials, but also his innate ability to subjugate them in conformance with his desired objective.

Kolade Oshinowo
Born in Nigeria in 1948, Kolande Oshinowo is a member of the Society of Nigerian Artists, Visual Arts Society of Nigeria and the Arts Council of the African Studies Association. He holds a BA (Hons) in Fine Art and was appointed Deputy Rector of the Yaba College of Technology in 1996

Oshinowo is probably Nigeria’s most prolific artist. His experiments in painting lean towards figurative analysis which is expressed with naturalistic tendencies embedded within deft brushstrokes of muted colours. His paintings engage with the world around him, communicating that, indeed, “art is life”.

Reuben Ugbine
Born in Ghana in 1956, Reuben Ugbine studied art at Auchi Polytechnic and sculpture at Yaba College of Technology. He worked as a lecturer at Auchi Polytechnic between 1980 and1987, but left to pursue a full-time career as an artist. He is a prolific sculptor who has exhibited in Nigeria, South Africa and the Middle East.

A tireless experimentalist, he popularised figurative terracotta based on traditional Nigerian costumes. His favourite medium is wood, which he uses to create three-dimensional pieces including symbolic tribal masks. Reuben playfully manipulates the convex and the concave in his works.

Rom Isichei
Rom Isichei was born in Asaba, Nigeria, 1966. From 1984 to 1989 he studied at Yaba College of Technology, Lagos, where he graduated with both an ordinary and higher National Diploma in Fine Art, during which he specialized in painting. For seven years he worked in advertising before finally deciding to channel his energy into full time studio work in 1997.

He has exhibited both within and outside Nigeria. He lives and works in Lagos, Nigeria but came to London to study for a masters degree at the Chelsea College of Art and Design.

Sam Ovrati
Sam Ovrati was born in Zaria in 1961. Having graduated from Auchi Polytechnic in 1981 with an HND in painting and an MFA (Masters in Fine Arts) from the University of Benin he lectured at Auchi for 8 years, leaving in 2002 to work as a full-time artist in Lagos. He has exhibited extensively across Africa, Europe and the Americas.

Ovraiti uses a range of mediums, but is best known for his watercolour works depicting Fulani women and local folklore themes. Sam is a gifted artist whose spirituality comes through in his work.

Tayo Quaye
Tayo Quaye was born in 1954, starting his career as an artist in 1974 when he was given an apprenticeship with master-printer Bruce Onobrakpeya for two years. After this training he went on to study at the Yaba College of Technology, Lagos, where he continued to study printing. Exhibitions of his work have appeared in Africa, USA, Trinidad and Tobago and France.

Specialising in line-printing, Quaye’s work is highly symbolic and vividly bright. Some of his pieces can be found in the V&A and Smithsonian.

Sponsors & Partners

Seven Energy
Seven Energy is an indigenous Nigerian oil and gas exploration, development, production and distribution company with a vision to be the leading supplier of gas to the domestic market for power generation and industrial consumption. With a business model designed to capture the full value chain, the company aims to exploit first mover advantage as a supplier to the domestic gas market in its core operating areas and to maximise shareholder value through sustainable long-term growth across the chain.

Headquartered in Lagos and London, Seven Energy has an upstream reserves and resources base of an excess of 350 MMboe, midstream processing and distribution capacity of 200 MMcfpd and long-term gas sales agreements in place to supply over 1 Tcf of gas to the domestic market. In Nigeria, Seven Energy operates through its wholly-owned and principal subsidiaries, Septa Energy Nigeria and Accugas.

Amaya Capital
Amaya Capital is a Principal Investment firm focused on creating and building businesses in West Africa. It takes a proactive, hands-on approach and invests early in the development phase using capital from its own resources and from its institutional investors. It is currently concentrating on the energy sector in Nigeria.

HardHat is the market leader in property communications, providing advice to investors, developers and individual entrepreneurs active in the London and wider UK property market. HardHat's expert team manages the political, community and media dimensions to projects in the residential, commercial, retail and energy sectors. With specialist expertise in the politics of planning, HardHat has an unrivaled reputation for securing planning consents in London and across the UK.

Prospect Property Search
Prospect Property Search is an established consultancy, which acts exclusively on behalf of property buyers and investors. We identify the best available properties, including those elusive "off-market" ones, and conduct in-depth background research. Deploying our intimate knowledge of the market and of correct values, and leveraging off our relationships in the sector, we negotiate the most favourable terms on behalf of our clients and oversee the transaction to a successful conclusion. The firm's philosophy is to invest our clients' funds as though they were our own.

Christian Ravina
Christian Ravina, trained originally as a lawyer, has developed his career in international communications as a journalist living in more than 24 countries and publishing reports for international media.

Now based in London, he develops cultural projects and works as a consultant for media and publishing. He is particularly interested in the cultural expression of individuals and groups within adopted communities.

EnergyNet produces a range of industry-led conferences on investment opportunities and development within the power, gas, engineering and renewables sectors. At the Africa Energy Forum, held in different European cities for fifteen years, over 950 delegates from the international power and gas industries and its supporting services meet annually with their African counterparts and government officials.

EnergyNet also produces a range of executive meetings designed to give government representatives and executives access to essential information through expert briefings and peer discussions. Power Africa executive meetings feature interactive debates rather than presentations that provide both an understanding of the African power sector and an environment conducive for networking amongst senior decision-makers.

Half of a Yellow Sun
Returning to a privileged city life in the newly independent 1960s Nigeria after their expensive English education, glamorous twins Olanna (Thandie Newton) and Kainene (Anika Noni Rose) find themselves preoccupied by their very different life choices, their romantic entanglements, and a betrayal between the sisters. The events of their life loom larger than politics. However, they become caught up in the events of the Nigerian civil war, in which the lgbo people fought an impassioned struggle to establish Biafra as an independent republic, ending in chilling violence, which shocked the entire country and the world.

An epic love-story weaving together the lives of four people swept up in the turbulence of war, based on the award-winning best seller by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, HALF OF A YELLOW SUN is the feature film debut from London based Nigerian playwright, novelist and screenwriter Biyi Bandele. Starring Oscar-nominee Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years A Slave), BAFTA-winner Thandie Newton (Crash), BAFTA-nominee Joseph Mawle (Birdsong), Anika Noni Rose (Dreamgirls) and John Boyega (Attack the Block). Produced by Andrea Calderwood of Slate Films (The Last King of Scotland).

UK theatrical release by Soda Pictures on 21 March 2014 TBC

Banke Kuku – The Queen of Colour and Print
Talented textiles designer Banke Kuku, known as the ‘Queen of Colour’, fuses traditional African and Western inspirations to create intricate, unique and luxurious fabrics described as exquisite pieces of art for interiors and fashion designs. The brand has created intrepid fabric designs for renowned fashion houses including Duro Olowu, Jewel by Lisa, Virgos Lounge and Lot78, which have been worn by the likes of Michelle Obama, singer Kelis and E! News TV presenter Catt Sadler. The first Banke Kuku interiors range has been found nestled in Selfridges London and is set to follow the successful footsteps of her recent fabric designs, which have graced the catwalks of London, Paris and New York.


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