Chioma Ebinama, Chi Doll. Courtesy the artist and Boys’ Quarters Project Space
Boys’ Quarters Project Space is a contemporary art gallery that opened 2014 in downtown Port Harcourt, Nigeria. Boys’ Quarters shows work by local Niger Delta artists as well as a national and international programme of artists. The space offers a conceptual and critically-engaged intervention into Port Harcourt’s visual art scene.
The works commissioned and shown through Boys’ Quarters produce fresh imagery and more in-depth reflections on Niger Delta inner life and environments. In effect helping re-imagine the region. The relationship between self and environment is the underlying exploratory engine and to this end our intervention into the global art scene serves to deconstruct and further expand definitions of “environment”.
The Boys’ Quarters is the colloquial name given to the servants’ quarters, a post-colonial hangover and an ever-present feature of modern West African life. The place where, to this day, servants and sometimes extended family members live. “We believe that in order to transcend limitation and excel – a Nigerian pre-occupation – we must run towards and not away from The Boys’ Quarters. We must investigate ourselves, go inwards as a society then reflect and expand upon who we are from our core. Our true wealth is in the people at every level of society”, quoting the self description of the founders.
The gallery is situated in the old offices of the late writer, activist and Nobel-Nominee, Ken Saro-Wiwa, in Port Harcourt, the capital of the country’s oil industry. Boys’ Quarters Project Space is made up of two small gallery spaces, a reading room and Ken Saro-Wiwa’s actual office which is now a miniature museum site hosting projected video installation works relating to Ken’s legacy as well as videos that speak more generally to the very nature of memory.