By MCPHILIPS NWACHUKWU
In the bid to maintain her lead in the evolving Nigeriaâ€™s third tier art market, the ArtHouse Contemporary, will again tomorrow, at the Lagos high profile event venue, the Civic Centre hostÂ the 4thÂ ArtHouse Contemporaryâ€™s art auction.
Coming on the heels of the three successful series of the Centerâ€™s organized art auctions, which in previous editions have not only inaugurated a vibrant culture of artistic interactive session between artists and art buyers, but more importantly, has resulted in financially empowering some notable and upcoming artists, whose works have raked in good sums of money in the wellÂ organized competitive bids.
Some notable artists, whose classic visual compositions have benefited from this engaging andÂ thoughtful economic activity being pioneered by Chellaram group are; Bruce Onobrakpeya, Ben Enwonwu, Uche Okeke and anÂ up coming artists like Nnenna Okore.
Tomorrowâ€™s auction unlike the previous three editions promises to put up for sale 108 works of predominantly, Nigerian and Ghanaian artists. This number is about the highest number of art works put up for auction in recent Nigeriaâ€™s auction history.
Speaking toÂ at a press briefing in Lagos last week, representatives of Chellaram, the organizers of the show comprising: Kavita Chellaram flanked by NanaÂ Sonoike and Aditya Chelleram explained thatÂ this yearâ€™s auctionÂ unlike last year, which focused interest on the Oshogbo art, will however ,shift focus to the Zaria Art school.
According to Kavita,â€ This yearâ€™s auction is expected to generate more interest in the Zaria â€œschoolâ€ as rare works by Gani Odutokun and Jerry Buhari are included in the for the first timeâ€ adding that while there is a purposeful concentration in giving voice to the Zaria artists that the organizers must as to what has become a tradition of the auctionâ€ include works by celebrated groups associated with Nsukka, Oshogbo and the Lagos art scene during the 60â€™s and 70â€™s.â€
Some of the Nigerian and Ghanaian artists, whose work are going to be auctioned tomorrow include: Ben Enwonwu, Uche Okeke, Bruce Onobrakpeya, Ben Osawe, Sokari Douglas-Camp, Osahenye Kainebi, Ben Osaghae, Peju Alatishe and Lemi Ghariokwu. Others are:Ablade Glover, Amon Kotei, Ato Delaquis, George Hughes and Kofi Agosor.
As an innovation in the auction pattern, the ArtHouse auction show in this fourth edition apart from featuring for the first time, the work of Kenyan artist, Peter Elungat has also improved in bringing gender parity to the whole exercise by including additional works of female artists. This time around, works ofÂ sculptors, Ndidi Dike, a professional studio artist of international reputeÂ and Peju Layiwole, another famous multimedia artist and scholar of the Creative Arts Department of the University of Lagos are put up for auctioning.
Speaking about this innovation, KavitaÂ and her other spokespersons explained that the low representation of women artists in the show does not in any wayÂ convey gender bias, but would rather be seen to be resulting from the fact that art in this part of the worldâ€ is presently dominated as a male market.â€
ArtHouse Contemporary was founded in Lagos in 2007 toÂ establish a regular venue for the sale of fine Nigerian and West African art. The public nature of the event allows for greater transparency of pricing and wider exposure ofÂ art to a broader and global audience.
The 3rd edition of the auction according to the organizers made â€œ a total sale of 60,070,000 against a total estimate of 77,000,000 with 76% of the works sold.
The auction which is expected to be conducted by English auctioneer, John Dabney really promises to bring into perspective the virility of West African art market that can favorably compare with any of the other trends in Europe.