Our History

The idea for creating the Bruce Onobrakpeya Foundation (BOF) was born after the initiator Bruce Onobrakpeya attended three of the art workshop programmes organized by Ulli Beier, an extra moral lecturer of the University of Ibadan at Ibadan, Oshogbo and Ife in 1961, 1964 and 1973.  The second inspiration came from his participation in some of the 1975 workshop sessions at the Haystack Mountain School of Art and Craft in the State of Maine, U.S.A. Through these workshops, Bruce discovered that informal art schools (workshops) were alternative way for art-oriented people at different levels of development to practice and grow.

As a class room art teacher, Bruce had an art studio where he practiced after the normal school day.  What he produced there then attracted not only collectors but also students, some of whom he admitted as his assistants and interns.  And when he finally became a full-time artist in 1980, the studio space in Papa Ajao, Lagos where he practiced then became definitely too small to accommodate all those who were applying to do IT (Industrial Training) or research on his works for dissertations.

This was the point when he decided to build workshop space (studios) outside the busy Lagos metropolis on the pattern of Haystack where artists could concentrate and achieve a lot within the short terms usually allocated to sessions during workshops. Following this decision, he acquired 7-acre property at the out skirt of Agbarha-otor, his home town and in 1990 began to develop the space gradually.  By 1998 when the main building was still wrapped within scaffoldings, 15 artists had a one session (i.e. two weeks) practicing different disciplines of the visual art which were again based on the pattern of “Haystack.”  This became the beginning of the informal school which named the Harmattan Workshop. The name Harmattan Workshop came about because its sessions took place then, only during the dry months of January, February and August which are the two Harmattan sessions of the year.  Now it is different, the flooding been addressed and sessions are held throughout the year. By 2002, the Bruce Onobrakpeya Foundation was initiated and registered as an NGO to give legal backing to artistic and educational activities already taking place in the property and the structures of the founder.

It was mandatory that an NGO in due course of practice must or should own her own property and structures, the founder Bruce Onobrakpeya in 2018 therefore acquired and presented a piece of land and a building to the foundation.  The plan is to gradually develop the space to take over the Harmattan Workshop activities.

Our Story

The Bruce Onobrakpeya Foundation (BOF) is an artist led non-governmental organization formed in 1989. The Bruce Onobrakpeya Foundation has been an enduring player in the visual arts scene since its inception in Nigeria. It has organized the Amos Tutuola Show, Lagos (2000), the Annual Harmattan Workshop since 1998, and participated at the Commonwealth Heads of State and Government Meeting (CHOGM) Exhibition, Abuja (2003), Art & Democracy Exhibition, Asaba, Delta State (2004), and the Harvest of the Harmattan Retreat Exhibition organized in collaboration with the Pan African University, Lagos (2004) amongst other programmes.In May 2012, BOF featured the works of 20 artists at the Exhibition Bruce Onobrakpeya and Harmattan Workshop Experiment at Kajinol Station in Dakar, Senegal during the 2012 Dakar Biennale.

M. V & V

BOF’s mission is to engender the growth of art and culture through the provision of opportunities for artists to improve themselves through skills acquisition and empowerment, also it seeks to promote and develop public interest in the visual arts by creating awareness for the intrinsic values of African art and its benefits to society.

Mission Statement

Artistic growth through Interaction, Experiment, and Search.

Vision Statement

To promote the growth of art and culture through the provision of artists to improve themselves through sharing of ideas, skills acquisition and experiment.

Values Statement

Nigerian art is dynamic because it is the product of cross fertilization and influences from at home and outside. This inherent hybrid quality means that it can never be stagnant.


For one to call himself an artist, one has to take a leadership role. Not just merely producing art works, but producing art works which are backed by ideas and philosophies which are calculated to help upgrade and uplift the life of the people.


Contact Us

41, Oloje Street, Papa-Ajao Lagos, Nigeria.
15, Oloje Street, Papa-Ajao Lagos, Nigeria.

Email: [email protected]
Tel: (+234) 806 079-5466

(+234) 812 887-0112
(+234) 705 634-6458
(+234) 703 343-3065

Opening Hours: Monday-Friday 8am – 7pm. Saturday-Sunday 10am – 7pm