Hector Acebes.  Unidentified Girl, Cameroon  1953 (72x62cm) Hector Acebes. Unidentified Girl, Cameroon 1953 (72x62cm) Valerius Art Gallery

African contemporary art finds a window at Valerius Gallery Featured

Style / Sunday, 01 April 2018 04:33

Art Gallery Valerius,
2a, rue Wiltheim, Luxembourg-Ville

The call of Africa came to him rather early when at about 15, Gerard Valerius bought the first artwork for his collection — a piece of African tribal art.  After that, he went through his youth as a regular city guy, teaching for seven years and then owning and running a discothèque for 25 years. Midlife, however, his early love for the arts surged above other calls. And he set up the Valerius Gallery.

In doing this, Valerius wouldn’t allow himself to be constrained by academic strictures in the classifications for his gallery. He stocks and exhibits just what appeals to him.
“I just do what I want. I exhibit mostly the works I like. I don’t have to explain nothing to nobody why I’m doing this," he said to Afrika247 at his gallery.

His taste is wide and broad. Most of the works, however, tend to be modern and contemporary. And in this, Valerius has a large window open for African contemporary arts.
“Right now, we have the Afrika First vernissage on, which shouldn’t come as a surprise. It’s exclusively African, an exhibition of African artists, a first in these parts. I find Africa fascinating…its culture, art, geography, you name it.  I started with tribal African works far back when I was 15/16. The first thing I bought was the Sinufo Kaloua, a bird. Through that, I approached African painting, very contemporary ones. Now the people that I’m showing are mostly people that I know," he said. But there remains ample room for artists he doesn’t yet know.

Valerius Gallery is still in its first year, but it is quietly carving a niche for itself and getting into the groove. For one, Gerard Valerius wouldn’t be starchy, dressing the formal way. It is his jean, tee-shirt and sneakers — which had always got art show professionals turning their noses up at him when he attends art shows. You may indeed call his, a Gallery of the Free Spirit.

“We are very relaxed in our approach. When I attend art shows, I am dressed this way — tee shirt, sneakers. And gallery owners tend not to treat you in a very good way. There is this arrogance and the attitude is, Who is this guy? Our own approach is relaxed.”


Okwudili Ojukwu-Enendu
Interview by Marshall Nwauwa

Afrika247

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