By Prisca Sam-Duru

AS Nigeria and the entire Africa count down to what has been designed as the biggest, most enterprising and interactive as well as collaborative art fair known as Art X Lagos, conversations are ongoing as to the huge benefits the continent stands to gain from the fair.

L-R Segun Ogunleye; Bisi Silva (Artistic Director); Tokini Peterside (Founder & Director, ART X Lagos); Olubusola Osilaja; and Atowari Peterside at the Wheatbaker Hotel, Lagos.
L-R Segun Ogunleye; Bisi Silva (Artistic Director); Tokini Peterside (Founder & Director, ART X Lagos); Olubusola Osilaja; and Atowari Peterside at the Wheatbaker Hotel, Lagos.

For the Curator of the art event, Tokoni Peterside, the fair to a large extent, will promote patronage of African artists across the globe. Peterside also believes that as “Nigeria and its neighbouring countries seek to diversify and expand their economies, investment in the creative industry through Art X Lagos, offers vital platform for growth and increased visibility to artists and galleries”.

This edition of the annual art fair organised by TP Collective, opens on Friday 4th November and runs till Sunday 6th at the Civic Centre, Lagos.

For the duration of the fair, participants will showcase a dynamic and varied programme of exhibitions, specially curated projects and vibrant live art performances across a diversity of media covering areas of photography, sculpture, video art, performance art, mixed media, graffiti and sound art.

From every indication, the  art fair is designed to expand Nigeria’s connection to the contemporary art across the globe owing to the fact that it was created to project the huge role visual arts play in the creative industry as well as in boosting the economy of the country. The fair will not only increase visibility of contemporary artists from Africa, it will to a large extent, position Lagos as Africa’s cultural hub.

“The aim is to provide the best insight into what the visual arts sector in Africa has to offer to a wider local and international audience, and encourage African and international patrons to visit Lagos. We intend to bring in all types of arts that have not yet been displayed in Lagos, artists whose works have never been seen in Lagos from countries that have not engaged with Lagos so far.” Peterside buttressed further.

The first edition features grand masters in Nigeria’s art industry such as Professors Bruce Onobrakpeya, Richard El Anatsui and Director of the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa, Mark Coetzee. South Africa’s William Kentridge, Zimbabwe’s Kudzanai Chiurai, Ghana’s Jeremiah Quarshie, Cameroon’s Barthelemy Togou, Mali’s Amadou Sanogo, all make up some of the participating artists from outside the country. Featured artists across Nigeria comprise Sokari Douglas Camp, Rubi Amanze, Alimi Adewale, George Osodi, Victor Ehikamenor and Lakin Ogunbanwo etc.

Notable galleries numbering 14, have also been scheduled to exhibit during the fair. They include, SMO Contemporary, Arthouse- The Space, Art Clip Africa etc, and over five  galleries from across Africa.

Aside core visual art, the fair will also feature live art, sound and performance installations which features some of the country’s brightest emerging art stars as well as a special collaboration project with the music industry. In this regard, Vector, Simi, Ikon and Poe are on the line up.

Patronage of African art

Highlight of the Art X Lagos which enjoys partnership of Access Bank, 7UP Bottling Company, ANAP Jets and the Wheatbaker Hotel among others, is the grand finale of the #ArtXPrize which was launched on Monday September 26, 2016, to encourage up and coming artists in the country. The winner of the competition enjoys the opportunity to be mentored by professionals in the art industry.

The Artistic Director of Art X Lagos, Bisi Sylva also described the fair as a trade fair where art would be sold to boost the country’s economy, promote artists and their works and also increase patronage of African art all over the world.

“I am extremely excited to be part of this pioneering initiative. I believe this art fair can become one of the key ways in which we begin to develop and internationalise the art sector in Africa as well as add value to the incredible work that is being created across the continent”, she added.

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