Nonso Okpala
3 min readJun 28, 2023


The ICONIC Nigerian Museum

As an art enthusiast, the development of African art on the international stage is exciting and augurs well for the future. Africans have always been at the forefront of artistic expressions — visual art, music, film, dance, etc. — but we have never positioned or organised a system around these great artistic expressions in a way that safeguards the economic stability of the artist behind the works. We have also failed to sustain the narrative surrounding African arts in a manner that emphasises the compelling value of our culture and, ultimately, to develop a tourism system centred on the experience and appreciation of African artworks.

There are other ways to illustrate the aforementioned difficulty and the tragic depletion of these appealing artistic expressions, but nothing speaks louder than the alarming lack of a recognised museum in a country as large and significant as Nigeria. It is unnecessary to elaborate on the significance of a museum and how it establishes the chronology of our culture and development as a people.

When museums such as the Louvre Museum and The Metropolitan Museum of Art are mentioned, there is little mention of African art, which does not do justice to our rich artistic expressions, which are at least as ancient as the works of Western Masters. African art is reportedly on display in these museums, but it has been relegated to less prominent areas, perhaps as a ploy to emphasise the superiority of Western artistic expressions.

I believe the time has come for Nigeria and its most art-inclined investors to establish an iconic museum, one that can fundamentally compete with the MOMA.

Developing a compelling portfolio of African Masters is equally as important as the facility in which these works will be stored, despite the fact that I am not an expert in this field. How do we amass a collection of 50,000 works of art that are renowned throughout Africa? This is possible through the ARTSPLIT platform.

ARTSPLIT provides a platform for co-ownership of artworks that are typically unavailable to individuals due to the ever-increasing auction prices of these works, some have “japa” to wealthy foreign collectors at our expense. Consequently, I propose the concept of co-ownership of a substantial art portfolio that will be displayed in this ICONIC Nigerian Museum.

Individual collectors, corporations, governments, and others will be able to invest relatively small amounts that add up to a large collective pool to acquire these strategic works of art via the ARTSPLIT platform. When the museum opens to the public, the works will be provided by the co-owner investors, who will be appropriately credited.

The Kemper Museum of Art in St Louis is currently exhibiting my Demas Nwoko masterpiece, Folly. That feeling is inestimable and it has its monetary upside too. This reiterates the fact that investors whose names are listed as contributors to a museum are duly credited and appropriate provenance for their works.

As part of a CSR campaign, corporations can portray themselves as an art-friendly organisation while retaining the asset (splits) as an investment. Governments can also make such investments tax-deductible, allowing for a greater influx of funds towards the acquisition and in-country retention of these renowned objects for display in the proposed museum.

Long-term, the increase in tourists brought about by this museum will more than offset the temporary reduction in corporate tax.

Art is essential to the development of any civilization and society over time. Our cities cannot be modern, aesthetically pleasing, or functional until we embrace the arts. Without the symbols created by artists, our narrative and history would be meaningless. Unless our renowned artist leaves a legacy of goodwill and branding, our people will not be recognised globally.

When will the international community recognise Nigerian Art as it has Afrobeats? Undoubtedly, we are behind schedule, but we may embark on our journey immediately.

Picture Above: Folly (1960) by Demas Nwoko



Nonso Okpala

A visionary and serial investor. Managing Director/CEO of VFD Group Ltd and Father-In-Chief.