Some might call Ugoma Adegoke a one woman army. She brings a tireless and energetic presence in her work as a creative entrepreneur and foremost cultural curator, community builder, adventurer, creative force and a dynamic taste-maker. She trained as an economist and corporate finance professional. Now, she directs the workings of the award-winning design brand, Zebra Living, producing experiential events and programs inspired by Nigeria’s rich cultural and multi-arts heritage, previously under the auspices of The Life House which she co-founded. She is also the founding director and chief curator of BLOOM Art; the festival director of Lights Camera Africa Film Festival and the producer of the annual WOMAN RISING Music Concert & Arts Weekender.
Ugoma completed a course in Curating Contemporary Art and Exhibition Design in Barcelona facilitated by Tina Zeigler, co-founder of the Moniker Art Fair. In 2016 she embarked on a course in Art and Finance at the Sotheby’s Institute in London and attended an art writing seminar under the tutelage of Ossie Ward of the Lisson Gallery. She was a speaker at the Africa-focused conference of Comite Colbert, France’s premier cultural & luxury association. She was invited to participate as an ambassador in The African Art in Venice Forum, during the opening of the 57th Venice Biennale. In the same month, she was selected by the German Consulate General and Goethe Institut as Nigeria’s representative to attend a special segment and one -week curated immersion of documenta no. 14 in Kassel, Germany, one of the world’s most important modern and contemporary art festivals since 1955.
She has successfully closed several private secondary market transactions, placing invaluable modern and contemporary art works in the collections of some of the continent’s greatest collectors – works by Ben Enwonwu, Ben Osawe, Obiora Udechukwu, Yusuf Grillo, Gani Odutokun, El Anatsui, Uzo Egonu, and more. In 2014, she originated an important art repatriation transaction which saw significant pieces of 1980s modernist Nigerian art worth over N70million ($400,000) returned to Nigeria.
She runs an art salon in Lagos from whence she deals art and hosts private exhibitions and artist talks attended by the country’s most important art collectors, patrons, diplomats and scholars. She has consulted on numerous art and culture projects for corporate clients as well as individual collectors. She has curated and produced art exhibitions with exciting and accomplished visual artists and will curate a much anticipated exhibition of Professor Obiora Udechukwu works in 2017 in Lagos, Nigeria.
Within the local live music scene, the WOMAN RISING Music Concert and Arts Weekender, is an annual commemoration of International Women’s Day and a glorious celebration of women in the arts and women that enable the arts. The 2015 edition was graced by Oby Ezekwesili who gave the keyeynote message at the annual champagne brunch. The annual weekender features an array of film, literature and visual arts showcases, engagements and talks and ends with a signature sold-out music concert where music loving guests are treated to musical experiments. WOMAN RISING Music Concert and Arts Weekender has become a staple on the Lagos calendar and has enjoyed repeat sponsorship from organizations like FCMB, FBN Quest, The Wheatbaker et al.
She is co-founder of the Lights, Camera, Africa!!! Film Festival which has emerged as the most prominent public film festival celebrating the best of African independent cinema. The festival began in 2011, and is a not for profit initiative with the sole purpose bringing film-makers and their audiences together and giving Lagos residents and visitors an unforgettable and elevating cinematic, cultural and communal experience. The festival has been likened to the New York Film Festival, a testament to the festival’s social relevance, impact and formidable unique energy. Hundreds of brilliant and rare films, dozens of workshops and talks and a vibrant networking platform have been executed through the Lights, Camera, Africa!!! Film Festival which has been sponsored by Union Bank for 3 years and supported by organisations like Ford Foundation, Institut Francais and Goethe Institut in the past. The festival continues to raise the bar for Nigerian cinema, culture and social education.
Ugoma is passionate about education and young people and has an active internship programme in all her projects and businesses. Since 2010, she has provided working opportunities and mentorship to over 50 young people. Ugoma is also an avid volunteer lending her voice, network and support to organisations like Enough is Enough Nigeria, United for Kids Foundation, Run For A Cure Africa and Living Fountain Orphanage.
Ugoma’s personality inspires trend-setting and taste-making directions in design, art, culture and lifestyle. She is pushing the envelope on African design and the Nigerian socio-cultural experi – ence, infusing energy, purpose and creativity all the way and having a great ttime as she impacts her world through culture and its facets. She has recently been appointed to the board of a new business which fuses art & tech in which she will play a significant steering role.
Ugoma is currently developing her most ambitious and most personal project yet, an exclusive multi-arts club & gallery space.