Launched in 2016, ART X Lagos is West Africa’s first international art fair, which was designed to showcase the best and most innovative contemporary art from the African continent and diaspora, and to widen Nigeria’s connection to the art scene across Africa and internationally.
Through its contribution to the increased visibility of African artists, ART X Lagos aims to reinforce the visual arts as an important component of the creative industry in Nigeria and Africa and to position Lagos as an emergent cultural capital on the continent.
The debut edition of ART X Lagos welcomed 5,000 visitors to The Civic Centre, to see the works of over 65 artists drawn from 10 countries around Africa. The fair featured specially curated projects, as well as a series of interactive audience engagement projects, and a vibrant live performance platform for artists and musicians. The 2016 fair also included a robust and lively talks program with over 30 local and international speakers.
The 2017 edition of ART X Lagos will deliver a broader, dynamic program of exhibitions, talks and interactive projects. It will hold from Friday 3rd November until Sunday 5th November 2017 at The Civic Centre in Victoria Island, Lagos.
ART X LAGOS 2017
What happens when 13 galleries, 14 countries and 60 artists from Africa and in Diaspora converge to exhibit in one venue?
Answer to this will be available when the second ART X Lagos opens next month.
Performance art, installation, photography and video art are some of the activities that will mark the 2017 ART X opening at the Civic Centre, Victoria Island, Lagos, from Saturday, November 4 to 5.
The art fair, being organised by TP-Collective, will feature seven wooden sculptures by the iconic master (visual artist), Ben Enwonwu, in honour of his 100th natal anniversary. The pieces, which are of the Access Bank collections, were originally commissioned by the Daily Mirror in 1960.
A programme of talks, curated by Missla Libsekal, will include artist talks with Njideka Akunyili Crosby, the Nigerian-born Los Angeles (LA)-based artist shortlisted for the Future Generation Art Prize 2017, and Lemi Ghariokwu, the mastermind behind Afrobeat legend, Fela Kuti’s album artwork. The talks will also include a panel discussion about collecting contemporary art in Nigeria.
Founder and Director ART X Lagos, Tokini Peterside, said she created ART X to contribute to the positioning of modern and contemporary African art at the forefront, as Africa emerges in the wider contemporary art market.
“The world is waking up to the potential of Africa’s art market and we have witnessed very exciting developments in recent years, of which ART X Lagos is one.”
The art expo, Peterside explained, is an African platform for African artists, on the African continent. “We celebrate artists, art students, scholars, collectors, art professionals and art lovers, who are playing a fair role in the growth of African economies, which are now among the fastest growing in the world. This invaluable contribution of the art sector to our continent’s development is what ART X Lagos seeks to highlight and to reinforce, through projects such as our annual art fair.”
The maiden edition, according to the organisers, drew an audience of over 5,000 people. “This year’s edition promises to be even more dynamic, as much of the 2016 program structure returns, with new, vibrant content aimed at reaching a wider audience.”
Thirteen exhibiting galleries, such as the Art House – The Space (Nigeria), Bloom Art (Nigeria), Foundation Donwahi (Ivory Coast), Gallery 1957 (Ghana), GalerieAtiss (Senegal), Gallery MAM (Cameroon), Nubuke Foundation (Ghana), Retro Africa (Nigeria), Signature Beyond (Nigeria), SMO Contemporary (Nigeria), Stevenson Gallery (South Africa), TAFETA (United Kingdom), and Tiwani Contemporary (United Kingdom). These prestigious galleries were chosen by a Selection Committee, led by N’Goné Fall, the renowned Senegalese curator, art critic and cultural consultant, and Femi Lijadu, one of Nigeria’s most respected art collectors.
Some of the artists, who will be participating in the art expo, are international acclaimed Nigerian-born/British-based artist, Yinka Shonibare, Zanele Muholi (South Africa), Jeremiah Quarshie (Ghana), Modupeola Fadugba (Nigeria), Nandipha Mntambo (Swaziland), Virginia Chihota (Zimbabwe), Boris Nzebo (Cameroon), Babajide Olatunji (Nigeria), Pamela Phatsimo Sunstrum (Botswana), Amadou Sanogo (Mali) and Portia Zvavahera (Zimbabwe).
Selected artists Polly Alakija, Rom Isichei, LakinOgunbanwo and Oluseye are invited to curate their own works in the ART X Lagos.
The curators are Missla Libsekal, and Founder of art journal Another Africa, Nástio Mosquito (Angola) and Pere Ortin, Lemi Ghariokwu (Lagos, Nigeria), Yaw Owusu (Accra, Ghana), Rahima Gambo (Abuja, Nigeria), Johnson Uwadinma (Port Harcourt, Nigeria), OluAmoda (Lagos, Nigeria) and Wura Natasha Ogunji (Nigeria / US).
Whitespace Creative Agency will curate the Interactive Projects of the fair to appeal to its varied audience. The emerging and young artists to be featured this year include Olalekan Jeyifous, Dipo Doherty, Queen Nwaneri, SojiAdesina, Sejiro Avoseh and Lubee Abubakar.
The art fair will also see the return of ‘ART X Live! with Absolut’, a live art and music performance featuring Africa’s most talented rising musicians and artists. This year’s show will see collaborations between musicians DJ Aye, Poe and Tomi Thomas, alongside talented young visual artists.
Absolut and ART X Lagos will introduce the ‘ART X Absolut Commission’, an installation at the art fair that responds to present-day societal urgencies, supporting freedom of expression.
The inaugural commission invites Olatunde Alara, a young artist living and working in Lagos, to respond to the theme ‘Artist as Citizen’.
The winner of the ART X Prize, sponsored by Access Bank, will be announced on November 5 at the closing ceremony.
The ART X Prize with Access is a prize for the best young artists in the country, run via social media, which opened for entries on September 18. The 2016 winner was Patrick Akpojotor, who will be exhibiting at this year’s fair.
ART X Lagos is supported by the Access Bank (Gold Sponsor); Absolut (Silver Sponsor); Stanbic IBTC Pensions, Seven Up and Anap Jets (Bronze Sponsors); Chapel Hill Denham, Lufthansa, Metro Capital and Leadway Assurance (Sponsors) and other partners.
The executive team is also supported by an Advisory Board comprised of – Labi Ogunbiyi, Dudun Peterside, Evelyn Oputu, Fatima Wali Abdurrahman, Femi Lijadu, Jess Castellote, JunaidDikko, N’Goné Fall, Papa Omotayo and Reni Folawiyo.