The Society of Nigerian Artists (SNA) is the professional body for all practicing visual artists in Nigeria. It exists to encourage and promote Nigerian artists and serves as a platform for them to air their views and contribute positively to national development. It was founded in 1963 by artists emerging from various schools and colleges of art, and members of the Zaria Art Society. The first meeting of the Society was held in 1963, and its present name was adopted. Chief Aina Onabolu, Prof. Ben Enwonwu and Prof. Charles P. Argent who was responsible for the development of Zaria's Fine Art department were elected as patrons.

In January 1964, the Society was inaugurated with its headquarters in Lagos and an exhibition was held that featured 84 works by 12 of the founding members. Subsequent exhibitions featured more artists and works drawn from broad categories of entry including sculpture, painting, graphics, photography, print, drawing, ceramics and textile design. At inception, the Society allowed membership to only formally trained artists. Presently, membership has expanded to include art students in tertiary institutions, self-taught and Nigerian artists in Diaspora.


  • To create a forum in Nigeria for professional artists in Nigeria while sustaining permanent contacts between them
  • To encourage and promote the works of artists in Nigeria
  • To improve the economic and social welfare of artists in Nigeria and to defend their material and moral rights
  • To protect and promote Nigerian artistic heritage by fostering understanding and appreciation of visual art in Nigeria by ensuring the highest professional standards
  • To serve as a clearinghouse of recent art information, publicizing developments and discoveries by artists in aesthetic, technical and sociological aspects of their work and findings of important international meetings affecting their lives
  • To present to the Government in Nigeria the views of the Society on any legislative enactment or proposed legislation on any subject of concern or interest to artists in Nigeria
  • To seek representation in organizations connected with art in Nigeria such as the National Gallery of Art, National Council for Art and Culture, National Commission for Museums and Monuments and academic institutions of art
  • To provide a body to which the Government or other official/unofficial authorities or organizations in Nigeria can have recourse for advise, assistance or expression of views on any subject of concern of interest to artists in Nigeria
  • To provide for, or facilitate training and examination of art students, give facilities for the reading of artistic papers and delivery of lectures and for acquisition, dissemination of useful information connected with the profession by publication of books, journals and periodicals on all matters directly or indirectly affecting the Society.