Let the memory of Bisi be with us forever.
Founder and Artistic Director of
The Center for Contemporary Arts, Lagos
www.ccalagos.org
  • 56 years old
  • Born on May 29, 1962 in Nigeria.
  • Passed away on February 12, 2019 in Lagos, Nigeria.

This memorial website was created in memory of our loved one, Bisi Silva . 

We will remember her forever.

Kindly share videos, photos etc

Posted by Afolabi Adebajo on 25th February 2019
Aunty Bisi, a mother to us all. A very close friend of my mother, who cherished you the most but you were cherished by all. Your smile brought life to the room, as well as your gentle soul. Will miss the times after church, we will come visit you and grandma on Bourdillion. You made my sister and myself at home, and you were very much respected by our family and a lot of people. Sleep well aunty, will miss you.
Posted by Ore, Kunle,Lape Silva on 20th February 2019
Our dearest Aunt Bisi, We do remember you with fond and beautiful memories. We are grateful for the rare and good times we shared with you; your wealth of knowledge, kindness and overall loveliness. We thank God for the fulfilled life you had. Rest on in the bosom of our dear Lord. Love.
Posted by Odile Tevie on 20th February 2019
Refreshingly Bisi believed in partnership and collaboration. I believe, this has created a wide network of Arts Institutions and individuals galvanised by her candidness, encouragement and knowledge on our continent. Nubuke Foundation's ecosystem of artists and creative people will continue to carry on with this spirit. We mourn, yet are thankful for your contributions to us all in the last decade. Rest, our dear friend, rest...
Posted by Oluwatoyin Adepoju on 19th February 2019
Exciting and dynamic you are. You live in our hearts forever.
Posted by Sade Doherty on 18th February 2019
Une Femme Savante I was around her quite a bit over the past 15 years, as her cousin, friend and lawyer. It is so gutting to lose her untimely but that bitter sweet tincture, which is all pervading after her death, is the legacy and emollient she left behind. Iconic, brilliant, unconventional (to the uninitiated), sanguine, generous, fun to be with and empathetic always, Bisi Silva. We did so much together from the setting up of Centre for Contemporary Art (CCA), Lagos in 2007 to Art X Lagos in 2017 and more. Bisi examined all legal documents with a fine tooth comb and had so much to contribute with her analytic and sharp mind. She would make her point in an undeniably peremptory fashion, “That is what I want o.” She would often bring along a very Parisian pear tartlet purchased on the way to my house and we would share it in half with cups of tea, kidding ourselves that by sharing, we were watching our weight! How many people have set up an independent specialist art centre of excellence and an art library? Bisi did this and did it with aplomb. CCA Lagos was a Project she loved and it is up to us all to continue that Project for the betterment of the community and art in the world at large. I visited the CCA Library many times and was often surprised to see art students utilizing its vast resources in an age when local libraries are not frequented much in Nigeria. She had great relationships with her peers and all her staff, both at work and at home. Bisi was at one with nature and was fond of watching the National Geographic television channel. She loved the African continent, promoting its beautiful rich art and culture and traversing over half its expanse, dreaming of visiting the unexplored places, which sadly she could not make. Hmmm. Legal jokes were often interspersed with art jokes. I constantly subjected her to a free curating of my street art, sometimes she would say good but a few times she would not hesitate to say “rubbish!”. Bisi was plain-speaking and a trail blazer in art curating in Nigeria, Africa and internationally. She was grand in the scheme of things. She was a truly learned lady. I could not resist the allure and excitement of the arts; I became an art ‘groupie’ schooled and nurtured by an aficionado! My lovely and true, femme savante, adieu. Rest In Peace! Sade Doherty
Posted by Peju Layiwola on 18th February 2019
In Memoriam: Bisi Silva (1962-2019) It is difficult to speak about Bisi in the past tense! Bisi Silva was born in Lagos in 1962 and died on the 12th of February, 2019. She was the founder and artistic director of the Centre for Contemporary Arts, Lagos established in 2007. In the 11 years of its existence, her Centre became ‘the’ Centre of art in Nigeria. Bisi centred the discourse on contemporary African art on the continent and brought several international scholars, artists and curators to Nigeria. Her Centre became a gateway for establishing connections between local artists and international audiences. It brought joy, laughter and professional fulfilment to many. Bisi lived a short but purposeful life. She brought to the art scene a high-level of professionalism and impacted both young and old artists through her unique exhibitions and artists talks/programmes. She was a scholar and curator extraordinaire and internationally recognised for her immense contribution to art scholarship. She developed the art of photography, video art and other aspects of new media which were largely underserved in Nigeria at the time. She transformed the careers of a good number of artists and curators from all over the world. She will be fondly remembered for the Asiko curatorial school. At home, Bisi made it possible for young art graduates to think of establishing careers as curators. She supported several art programmes in different parts of Nigeria and endowed prizes for the best entries in the arts at national competitions. She made donations to many art programmes and projects. Bisi curated several local and international exhibitions and `biennales too numerous to mention here. Bisi was simple, kind hearted and generous. She was beautiful, well spoken, talented, focused, bold and fearless. She spoke strongly against mediocrity and disrespect for women and expressed her views freely. She was a lover of books. She developed the most comprehensive library of art books in the country. The Centre and library located in Yaba, Lagos was at close proximity to the major art schools in Lagos which made it accessible to many college students. Indeed, the Centre benefited from this pool of students who served in different capacities in administering it. Despite her busy schedule, she found time to give lectures in schools, carry out portfolio reviews and visit exhibition and talks. Here was a scholar who gave her all to the development of art in Nigeria. What a life full of achievements! She will be missed by the global community of artists. Asiko, the name of her curatorial project means time. Her time is up, but her legacy continues! Olabisi Silva, Odigba, Sun re o. Rest in peace.
Posted by Borders Book Reviews on 18th February 2019
Bisi! You lived life fully and richly. What a mark you made as a curator, scholar, author, mentor. A life- loving, confident, single woman, you were, and continue to be, the bright example for those like me who seek to flourish doing what we love. If you could see the outpouring of love and the number of tributes on the internet from colleagues, from friends at home and friends overseas whom you touched with your life and with your work; tributes from the many young artists whose flowering you nurtured and from those like me, a single woman too, who admired you from a further distance... May your generous, gifted soul rest in eternal peace. Olatoun Gabi-Williams
Posted by Morebisola Agbesanmi on 17th February 2019
Bisi, you were a dear friend to my sisters Oludun and Kinto. And by extension, mine. We will miss you dearly. Rest on in the bosom of the Lord Jesus, the Lover of our soul.
Posted by Tokunboh Ekundayo on 17th February 2019
Where do i start.....firstly I can't believe you gone.....secondly who is going to educate me now on the arts???? Thirdly..I really believed we would grow old...into our rocking chairs talking about every thing.... My world will never be the same without you....and the world will miss you....I will celebrate you everyday.... Tokunboh Ekundayo.
Posted by Moji Apara on 17th February 2019
Bisi I thank God for the years we spent together particularly the days we spent together in New York when you introduced me to those lovely cards that I started to frame and sell.I know you really enjoyed your travels all over the world and you refused to take me with you . Well you are resting in the bosom of your maker no more pain.You made your impact in the art world .Rest in Peace till we meet to part know more.
Posted by Elisabeth Prah on 17th February 2019
Bisi, my dearest friend and sister, we had so many wonderful memories I wouldn’t know where to start. I’m loss for words. I am comforted though that your life was truly well lived. We celebrate a fulfilled life full of achievements. It inspired us all. You followed your passion for Art and built a foundation from which it would grow. You will certainly leave a legacy. You were close to my siblings and a dear “Auntie Bisi” to all my nieces and nephews. You are fondly remembered and missed by them all. God knows best. You are at rest at a better place. Thank you for being my friend and your wise counsel in all things. I will miss your humour, courage, kindness, humility, knowledge and your joie de vivre. I will miss you so much. Till we meet again, rest sweetly in the bosom of the Lord.
Posted by Adebimpe Adebajo on 17th February 2019
My dear friend Biz! From 1978 till date, we were friends and confidantes. We rocked and rolled throughout our teens to the chagrin of our parents. International Biz! Traveling the whole world. Arty, Farty, Eclectic, slightly Eccentric and very different but lovely, kind and generous. You were my friend and Sister. Memories of our road trips from Dijon to Asaba reverberate through my mind. What about our London lunches? Thankyou Jesus. One of our last outings was to London Zoo. We were gisting so much that we missed the entrance into the Zoo, walked through the park and ended up near Camden Town!!! We nearly died laughing. Walked all the way back, found the right entrance, only for them to say they were closed. But they kindly allowed us to use the loo. Oh Biz, how I will miss you. Love you forever. Bimps xxxx
Posted by Abiodun Khalidson on 17th February 2019
“ Our time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.” – Steve Jobs The above quote fully captures the essence of your beautiful soul, Bisi - one true to herself, undeterred in her pursuit of fulling purpose. Thank you for enlightening me on what it means to be a Curator, those many years ago, ha! you’ll be sorely missed - truly earth’s loss and heaven’s gain. Rest well in the bosom of our Father dear Bisi, till we meet to part no more. Much love Abiodun Khalidson
Posted by Iyabo Ogunmola on 16th February 2019
Dear Bisi You fought that C till the end. Your smile and our time together will forever be in my mind. You didn’t let the C you from what you liked doing most travel, I never knew what part of the world you were in so I will just send you a message. You loved your passion as a curator. No more pain, no more hospital visits. You will surely be missed. Love you dear.
Posted by Katy Deepwell on 15th February 2019
Bisi touched many lives and many people in her work. She made many friends throughout her life. She had a real gift to bring people together and create warm and close ties with people. I'm honored to have been one of her friends, and have fond memories of our time together. I will miss my long conversations with her about life, art, work, and many other subjects. I will miss her humour, her strength and her attention. I will miss her boundless advice and constant encouragement to do more.
Posted by Omotunde Silva on 15th February 2019
Though the times spent together were brief but surely memorable, inspiring and enlightening. My gentle, Ever smiling, helpful and easy going soul the memories of you will forever live on in our hearts. I'm happy you lived well and know you are resting peacefully with the lord. Love you so much Aunty.....
Posted by Olakinto Olaoye on 14th February 2019
Olabisi Obafunmike - the lord indeed gave you to me to care for , love and gently lead back to him - the source of all. I miss you girlfriend and big sis ( how many months sef ) I am sure that public acknowledgement brought a smile We did not let big C define or limit you at all. You just carried on with life for as long as you could travelling and doing your thing and even when it quickly progressed , you never once complained and carried yourself with dignity - lady Silva You sure gave C a run for its money , you fought valiantly and hoped against hope till the end I remember growing up - our primary school days , writing you in boarding school at bexhill - on-sea. Life in Chalk Farm and Dijon, France . How you turned your passion into your career and boy did it work .i am so grateful to God for the years we shared especially the extra 5 years . His Grace upon your life and all who prayed for your salvation. In order for my iron to sharpen your iron, I had to gain speed in discerning and knowing exactly how and what to tell you because you were too savvy intellectually Too much book atimes sef no good Please don’t begin to discuss African Art with the angels who welcome you into glory. You had enough practice worshipping with me and you have a fairly good voice so just worship the king of kings and enjoy it. You are amazed that all the pain has gone - told you so, you are ecstatically happy - told you so too . See you on the other side when we will meet to part no more . I remember you with joy and thanksgiving
Posted by Ramotalai Sanusi on 14th February 2019
Sister Bisi you will be missed. Your gentle smile, grace and unassuming nature that gave no hint of the talent within. It was a privilege to know you.
Posted by Funmi Adesida on 14th February 2019
Sister Bisi Forever smiling, never frowning Always had a laugh ready Never seen her upset or seen her get angry She loved Art, life and was always traveling It was through her that sowed the seed of adventure in me My first trip was to Senegal and it was heavenly Will never forget her kind heart and her eyes that were always twinkling. You are loved you are missed, we know you are resting with the angels I mean...where else could you be! RIP
Posted by Blessing Douglas on 14th February 2019
Although our time together was short, I will hold on to the memories. Memories of our interesting conversations on art, politics, life and Religion...So much life, versatility and passion in one body.The numerous hearts you have touched and the lives you’ve impacted with your work is a great “LEGACY” worthy of admiration. You fought hard Aunty Bisi and God has welcomed you to eternal rest...the pain is over!
Posted by Jos Dawodu on 14th February 2019
Sis - to me you are The Oyinbo of the family, The Frenchie of the family. The Curator, The Art Lover. The Traveler, The Food Lover Omo Baba Brewery :-) You quietly did your thing with passion. Be it family, be it Art, be it your Mentees around the globe, be it your friends. You handled all with love and passion. Thank you for staying true to yourself. With your words, your dress sense, your mentorship, your strength. You stayed true to yourself and fought a good fight. You are in a better place I know.

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