Sunday 4 March 2012

Mowunmi Awomolo...A Mission To Win New Collectors

YOU may be wondering what exactly the finance cum economic analyst, Mowunmi Awomolo, is looking for in the art scene. But for the lady, “art needs to expand beyond its current state.”
This she explains to her guests in one of her shows, Salon Art Series, held recently. The show is an ongoing effort aimed at taking art out of its traditional gallery space and winning new converts for art collection.
While working as an economist in the UK, art, she discloses, was a second love. According to her, “it’s a passion, which started just over 10 years ago, when I had to decorate my flat and realised that what I put on the wall space was very important. I carefully selected my pieces ensuring that I was going to have a long term relationship with them.”  

Economist and art promoter, Mowunmi Awomolo
And that passion, she explains has extended to making connections with art and the senses, obtaining positive energy.
After 25 years abroad, Awomolo came home two years ago and started Salon Art Series. She traces her homecoming to what she described as ‘rebalancing.’ “Economically, I was oversupplying in Europe and there was an increasingly demand for my skills in Nigeria,” she says.
And just a little over one year of exploring the home market, her concept of taking art to the terrain of the art-marginalised sections of the society led to the discovery of other facts.
She discloses that the concept has been well received at outlets such as restaurants, clubs and communities to showcase artworks. More importantly, the lifestyles and free periods of these targeted outlets are ideally conducive for a flexible galleria arrangement.
Artists whose works have featured in Salon Art Series include Nobert Okpu, Nelson Okoh and Andrew Ikechukwu Emueze.
If the primary focus of her group, New Frontier Gallery, is creating international outlets or markets for African art, then the journey has effectively begun, as Awomolo engages in the sale of artworks to tourists from overseas.
She adds, “we are also in the process of sending  portfolios of art works to our international contacts for possible private viewings in China, New York and London.”
And what about promoting art in such shutout place as the Mainland — outside the elite settings of Lagos Island and Victoria Island? “We are not fussy about the location per se; the venue must have strong pulling power to attract relevant people who would eventually be art lovers.”

AWOMOLO studied Economics at the University College, London, did a Master’s in Accounting and Finance at the London School of Economics.

From London-based finance management group, New Frontiers Capital (NFC), Awomolo and her partner created New Frontiers Galleria (NFG) and brought the concept of mobile art gallery to Nigeria, few years ago.  
With her sojourn in the financial terrain, she has been able to acquired experience in research and analytical skills, which she has brought into the art business; these
skills are helping her in processing and evaluating information, establishing, building and maintaining relationships.
She argues that relationships are assets in the financial market. Such assets, perhaps, are yielding dividends as seen in the increasing number of converts she has brought to art via venues such as L’Afric on Adeola Hopewell and the Lagos Polo Club, Ikoyi.
Part of the strategy is what she tags ‘triangle formula: venue, artist and the people.’ Awomolo notes, “there are people who would like to buy art, but are not really conscious of collecting until you take it to them.”

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