The Society of Nigerian Artists (SNA) is the professional body for all practicing visual artists in Nigeria. In 1963, artists emerging from various schools and colleges of art, as well as members of the Zaria Art Society held a first meeting, where the Society’s present name was adopted. Chief Aina Onabolu, Prof. Ben Enwonwu, Prof. Charles P. Argent who is largely credited with the development of Zaria’s Fine Arts department, were elected as the first patrons.
In January 1964, the Society was established with its headquarters in Lagos and an exhibition was held that featured 84 works by 12 of the founding members. Subsequent exhibitions featured more artists and work drawn from broad categories including sculpture, painting, graphics, photography, print, drawing, ceramics and textile design. At inception, the Society allowed membership to only formally trained artists. Presently, membership has expanded to include art students in tertiary institutions, self-taught and Nigerian artists in Diaspora.
Mission, Vision, and Values Statements
The Society of Nigeria Artists (SNA) encourages the development of the visual arts in Nigeria and fosters their understanding through dedicated practice and scholarly engagement.
The Society of Nigerian Artists (SNA) engenders the highest standards of scholarship, creativity, criticism and teaching in the visual arts in Nigeria to encourage intellectual advancement and the development of skills that enrich visual arts professionals and their contribution to national development.
To achieve this vision, the Society will:
1. Represent the diverse community of visual artists in Nigeria and advocate for the visual arts in Nigeria
2. Encourage dialogue among members and sustain permanent contacts between them;
3. Facilitate communication by keeping abreast of advances in technology through innovative and improved technology;
4. Improve the socio- economic welfare of Nigerian artists, while protecting their material and moral rights.
5. Assist professional growth by addressing career development and workforce issues
6. Strengthen organizational leadership and structures, increase membership and financial support.
The SNA represents the diverse community of visual arts professionals in Nigeria by:
- Promoting originality and excellence in scholarship, creativity, interpretation, and teaching in the practice of visual arts in Nigeria.
- Encouraging contributions to national development by visual arts professionals in Nigeria.
- Fostering the exchange and dissemination of diverse artistic and scholarly viewpoints, both nationally and internationally.
- Supporting, collaborating, and advocating for professionals in the fields of art, art history, design, and visual studies.
- Engendering ethical standards and practices in the visual arts.
This existing constitution of the Society of Nigerian Artists is presently being reviewed
The objectives for which the Society is established are to:
- Promote excellence in scholarship and teaching in the history and criticism of the visual arts as well as creativity and technical skill in the teaching and practices of art.
- Facilitate the exchange of ideas and information among those interested in art and history of art.
- Advocate comprehensive and inclusive education in the visual arts in Nigeria.
- Speak for the membership on issues affecting the visual arts in Nigeria.
- Produce publications of scholarship, criticism, and artists’ writings.
- Foster career development and professional advancement.
- Identify and develop sources of funding for the practice of art and for scholarship in the visual arts.
- Honour accomplishments of artists, art historians, and critics.
- Articulate and affirm the highest ethical standards in the conduct of the profession.
- Membership is open to all individuals regardless of religion, gender and physical disability.
Over 4,000 artists, art historians, scholars, curators, critics, collectors, educators, publishers, and other professionals in the visual arts account for SNA’s individual membership while an additional 500 departments of art and art history in tertiary institutions across the country, museums, libraries, and professional and commercial organisations are institutional members.
The SNA is governed by a 12-person Executive Council, elected by the membership and representing the geographic regions of Nigeria.
Past Presidents and Secretaries of SNA
- Professor Yusuf Grillo /Chief T.A Fasuyi
- Professor Wangboje Irein /Mr Ifeta
- Professor Dele Jegede / Bernard Aina
- Mrs Funke Ifeta /Mr. Anthony Unuoreokpa
- Chief Okpu Eze /CSA Akran
- Professor Egonwa Osa / Dr. Shola Kukoyi
- Kolade Oshinowo /Sidney Akaphiare
- Uwa Usen / Prof Best Ochigbo
- Oliver Enwonwu /Sir Chuka Nnabuife
SNA Zones and chapters
There are four zones namely West, East, Middle Belt and North, into which the Chapters are grouped:
West: Delta, Edo, Lagos, Ogun, Ondo and Oyo state chapters
East: Abia, Akwa Ibom, Anambra, Cross-River, Bayelsa, Ebonyi, Enugu, Imo and Rivers state chapters
Middle Belt: Adamawa, Benue, FCT, Kogi, Kwara, Nassarawa, Niger, Plateau, Taraba and Abuja state chapters
North: Bauchi, Borno, Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Gombe, Katsina, Kebbi, Sokoto, Yobe and Zamfara state chapters
The Society of Nigerian Artists is a member of the International Association of Artists (IAA) – an affiliate of UNESCO. The Society also works in concert with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).