Sandra Mbanefo Obiago

Founder and Artistic Director,
SMO Contemporary Art

Ms. Sandra Mbanefo Obiago is an art curator, photographer, poet and award-winning filmmaker who is passionate about strengthening the creative industry to develop the African continent. She is the founder and artistic director of SMO Contemporary Art, curating art exhibitions in non-traditional gallery spaces to promote the best of African art.

Obiago started her career in 1988 as a technical director and video editor at the European Business Channel in Zurich, Switzerland. Two years later she joined environmental group, WWF International, and covered environment and development projects in sub-Saharan Africa as a photo-journalist for eight years. In 1998 she founded Communicating for Change (CFC), a media for development social enterprise based in Lagos, which became an important content provider for local and international television stations. Her award-winning films and radio programs focused on human rights, women’s empowerment, HIV and AIDS, environment, democracy and good governance, as well as art for development.

Obiago is a Fellow of the Aspen Institute’s African Leadership Initiative for West Africa (ALIWA). She received a bachelor’s degree in education from the University of Manitoba and a master’s degree in telecommunications from Michigan State University. Obiago focuses on using creativity as an avenue for wealth creation and inspiring a positive narrative about Africa for local and international audiences.