“Good evening ladies and gentlemen. It’s a delight to speak before such an esteemed group of artists, curators, and art lovers from around the world. Thank you, Lagos Photo Festival, for graciously making me the host of tonight’s event.

My family’s idea of a good time has always been engaging in cultural activities–and indeed, from a young age, those experiences forged in us a bond of closeness. Supporting the arts and culture has been my family’s way of giving back to a sector that has filled our lives with much joy over the decades.

The Mike Adenuga Centre, which was set up in partnership with Alliance Française Lagos, allows us to expand the scope of this support. This year’s Festival means a lot to the Centre, to my family, and to me. Sponsoring it is one of the first steps taken in the commitment we have made to supporting Arts and Culture in Lagos, in partnership with Alliance Française Lagos.

When I was told the theme for tonight’s event, ‘We were here’, the phrase struck me as an affirmation of the essence of the Mike Adenuga Centre.

The Arts, and culture in general, have always been some of our key strengths as a nation. Perhaps, one might say, even before Nigeria became a nation—centuries-old art works abound in museums around the world testifying to this.

Today, there is a growing global audience for Nigerian visual art, music, film, and other cultural endeavours. Our goal at the Mike Adenuga Centre is to foster an environment that allows these cultural and artistic expressions and talents to thrive, and to showcase and promote activities that lead to a greater appreciation in our own environment.

 There is no better way to say, someday, that we were here. To say, today, that we are here.

The Lagos Photo Festival is doing phenomenal work in the area of photography, which we believe already contributes significantly to, and has the potential to do even more in shaping the cultural narrative of Africa.

Often, in the moment, it is hard to quantify the impact that a work of art or a platform like Lagos Photo Festival has or will have on the world; however, what is undeniable is that they enrich our lives. They add beauty and, beyond aesthetics, they mirror, probe and critique society—in many ways contributing to growth and development.

 At the Mike Adenuga Centre, this recognition fuels us with a belief that there is an imperative to act now. So that the future will be better, and richer. So that the present, which will someday constitute our history, is too. For artists, that action translates into creating art. For us, that action has translated into a commitment to providing world class standard access and support to culture and arts.

I look forward to a people and nation who are richer in the future because of the cultural experiences they have in the present. Right now, I look forward to the 2018 Lagos Photo Festival, and I welcome you all. I am confident that it will be an enriching festival for all.”



Thank you for listening.


Bella Disu