Venice Architecture Biennale: Nigerian Demas Nwoko honoured with a Golden Lion

Demas Nwoko posing for a portrait after receiving the Golden Lion for lifetime achievement during the award ceremony at the 18th International Architecture Exhibition, La Biennale di Venezia, on May 20, 2023 in Venice, Italy. Getty Images - Simone Padovani

Text by: Carmen Lunsmann

1 min

The Archittertura Biennale, an international exhibition of architecture that takes place every two years in Venice, awarded an award on May 20, 2023 to Nigerian Demas Nwoko for the body of work of this personality and this versatile artist.


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Nigerian architect Demas Nwoko is in the spotlight: the 18th Venice International Architecture Biennale has just awarded him a Golden Lion. At the age of 88, he was rewarded for his body of work.

Demas Nwoko is not only an architect. He is a sculptor, historian, designer and theater man, among others.

>> Also listen: Decolonizing architecture according to Demas Nkwoko

This son of a king, born in 1935 in southern Nigeria, finds his first inspirations in the palace designed by his grandfather himself.

With this tangible and intangible heritage, Demas Nwoko creates future-oriented works: with modern and sustainable architecture, both aesthetic and functional.

He defends the use of local resources and is also one of the first Nigerian artists to criticize his country's dependence on the West.

Founder of the group "Zaria Rebels", Demas Nwoko works all his life for a mix between African traditions and modern technologies. He continues to work – with the aim of improving his art – and as he just declared at the Venice Biennale, "lay the foundations for the future for young architects practicing today in Nigeria and elsewhere".

The Venice Architecture Biennale runs until 26 November.

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  • Culture
  • Culture Africa
  • Architecture and urban planning
  • Nigeria
  • Italy