West Africa's premier international art fair re-asserts itself as the choice destination in Nigeria

The First Art Newspaper on the Net    Established in 1996 Friday, June 14, 2024

West Africa's premier international art fair re-asserts itself as the choice destination in Nigeria
Tokini Peterside and Yemi Osinbajo, the Vice President of Nigeria, in front of works by Professor Ablade Glover at the Gallery 1957 booth at ART X Lagos.

LAGOS.- For its 4th edition, ART X Lagos had exceptionally strong attendance from both established and new collectors, institutions and art enthusiasts, affirming its position as one of the leading destinations for collecting African art. ART X Lagos’ move to The Federal Palace allowed for strong growth for the internationally facing fair, adding more curated sections and an enhanced visitor experience, including the introduction of a successful performance art section. Asserting their profile as a cultural hub, the fair continues to redefine conventional models, delivering an exciting programme of special projects, talks and live music events, to a broad audience of over 9,000 visitors.

ART X Lagos reports strong sales across the board. Newcomers such as Everard Read Gallery (South Africa) and Galerie MAM Douala (Cameroun) enjoyed good sales, alongside returning galleries, Out of Africa Gallery (Spain), SMO Contemporary (Nigeria), TAFETA (UK), and Bloom Art (Nigeria).

The fair’s new Modern art section - presented by Stanbic IBTC Pensions and dedicated to showcasing pioneers of African Modern Art from the 20th century - proved a success, with all three galleries (Bloom Art (Nigeria), Mydrim Gallery (Nigeria) and Gallery 1957 (Ghana)), reporting strong sales, most notably the sale of Abayomi Barber’s Bronze Sculpture, Ola Edu, from Mydrim Gallery, which sold for N 15,000,000 to a Nigerian collector. Nelson Makamo’s Purple Prose (2018), exhibiting with Everard Read Gallery, was also sold to a collector for $38,000.

The fair continues to attract notable guests with key attendees at this year’s fair including the Vice President of Nigeria, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, Nigerian businessman Aliko Dangote, and renowned artist Yinka Shonibare CBE. Representatives from distinguished public institutions and private foundations included: Tate Modern (London), Centre Pompidou (Paris), Yemisi Shyllon Museum of Art (Lagos), and the National Museum of African Art - Smithsonian Institution (Washington D.C.).

The fair’s Talks Programme captivated the minds of all attendees, most notably with a compelling keynote talk in conversation with Wangechi Mutu. During this conversation, with Tayo Ogunbiyi, the fair’s 2019 Artistic Director, Mutu shared intimate reflections on her practice and life, spanning her early sculptures featured in the 2nd Johannesburg Biennale (1997) through to her recent commission, which is currently on view at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. Other notable speakers at the fair included Emeka Ogboh, Kathryn Weir, Ngoné Fall, and Antawan Byrd.

For 2019, ART X Lagos undertook major changes in order to fulfil its commitment to providing a truly unique cultural experience for a wide variety of audiences, locally and internationally, going beyond the traditional scope of an art fair. For the first time the fair introduced a curatorial theme, Art in Life | Life through Art, which applied to the fair’s non-gallery programming: Curated Projects, the Performance Pavilion and the Interactive Projects. The theme investigated how art and creativity influences and enriches our daily lives - whether socially, aesthetically, economically or intellectually.

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