Interview with Asele Institute
Women's House & Gender Equality in Africa

Interviewed: Ijeoma Uche-Okeke

The interview aims to share the vision of Asele Institute, through the voice of director Ijeoma Loren Uche-Okeke, on the theme of Gender Equality, Women's Empowerment and the link between art and Human Right in Africa, with particular reference to the nigerian socio-cultural context.
The interview is carried out as part of the Kaira Looro Architecture competition (2021 Edition) for the selection of a Women's House to be built in Senegal, and the consequent humanitarian project of the Non-Profit Balouo Salo, which will carry out the project in a rural village to encourage the emancipation of women, offer training and assistance and contribute to the reduction of violence and all forms of discrimination against women. Asele Institute is media partner of the Competition.

To know more about Kaira Looro Architecture Competition:
To know more about Non Profit Balouo Salo:
To know more about Asele Institute:


Asele Institute was founded in 1958 at the dawn of Nigeria’s independence by renowned Nigerian Modernist and scholar, Uche-Okeke. The Institute has played a role in the positioning, designing and implementation of important intellectual, academic, research and creative projects within and around the arts and culture sectors in Nigeria, Africa and globally. Situated in the fast-growing town of Nimo in Anambra State, Asele Institute continues to extend its reach globally through partnerships with local and international organisations. The legacy left by our founder, Uche Okeke, continues to resonate and evolve, more so after his death in January of 2016, through various projects including the re-issue of his seminal book “Art in Development-A Nigerian Perspective,” in partnership with German based publisher iwalewabooks in 2019. Works from the Asele Institute Art Collection have been loaned for key international exhibitions in Germany between 2017 to date, most notably the Post War exhibition at Haus der Kunst curated by the late Okwui Enwezor, and the Stiftung Kunst Sammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, K20: Museum Global, titled Mikrogeschichten einer ex-zentrischen Moderne (Micro-stories of an eccentric modernity) that ran from November 2018 to March 2019. From 1986 when the Institute was formally opened with a big UNESCO conference on arts and culture that welcomed local, continental and international visitors to Nimo, Asele Institute has warmly welcomed researchers from various international institutions, including the Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of African Art, British Council, Tate Modern, Goethe Institut, various universities in the USA and the UK. More recently, in April and July of 2019 we welcomed a team of archivists from Iwalewahaus in Germany, and a PhD candidate from the University of California in the USA who did a two week research residency. The Institute has over the years been involved in mentoring programs and providing bursaries to local youth, male and female, interested in studying art at the tertiary level. It has also provided important research materials to undergraduate and postgraduate students from the tertiary institutions offering art courses located in Anambra State, as well as to students from other federal and state universities across the country. Most importantly the Uli Experiment initiated by Uche Okeke generated numerous projects from the 70s up until the late 90s involving local women who were identified as Uli designers, it also encouraged younger women to take interest in this indigenous craft of mural and body decoration. These culturally-focused projects created jobs for women from various villages located in what was previously the East Central States but was later divided into Anambra State and Enugu State. Our aim is to develop more projects that are focused on educating the girl child and providing them with the professional skills they require for a successful future.
In 2021 we will be rolling out some significant projects in partnership with iwalewabooks and Iwalewahaus.

Social media Handles:

Physical address:
1 Asele Crescent
Nimo, Njikoka Local Government Area
Anambra State, Nigeria.

South Africa:
8-10 Beyers Street, Unit 27
Clachan Complex, Northcliff.
Johannesburg 2195, South Africa

Credits Video:
Interviewer: Balouo Salo
Video-making: Balouo Salo
Interviewee: Ijeoma Loren Uche-Okeke Director of Asele Institute
Collaborators: The Professor Uche Okeke Legacy Limited
Photography and Video: Perebo George & Tobias Omeyi