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The Mbari Clubs and Nigerian Modernism

Into the Night tour

Into the Night: Cabarets and Clubs in Modern Art, Barbican Art Gallery. Getty Images, photo by Tristan Fewings

Join Associate Curator Lotte Johnson for a tour of the exhibition focusing on the seminal Mbari Clubs in Ibadan and Osogbo.

Emerging in the early 1960s following independence from colonial rule, the Mbari clubs became a centre of Nigerian modernism and a magnet for artists, writers, musicians and actors from across Africa and the world. ‘Mbari’ is an Igbo word for ‘creation,’ referring to traditional open-air shrines. The first Mbari Artists and Writers Club was founded in the university city of Ibadan, located in the courtyard of a Lebanese restaurant in the central market. It became an outdoor performance venue, art gallery, library and office, open to all.

In 1962, a second club was opened in Osogbo by pioneering dramatist Duro Ladipo: Mbari Mbayo (meaning ‘when we see it, we are happy’). It became home to Ladipo’s ground-breaking Yoruba opera company.

The tour starts at 7pm and is free with an exhibition ticket. 

Please book your exhibition ticket as close to 7pm as possible.

Please note that tours are limited to 25 people and will operate on a first come, first serve basis.

Barbican Art Gallery