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ART X LAGOS unveils galleries, artists for 2017 annual fair

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By Prisca Sam-Duru & Vera Samuel Anyagafu

ART X Lagos has unveiled the list of 13 leading international art galleries selected for its 2017 edition. The art fair will feature over 60 artists from 14 countries across Africa and the Diaspora.

The organisers of the fair, TP-Collective, disclosed that the art fair will take place at the Civic Centre in Victoria Island from the 3rd to 5th of November 2017. The November 3rd event it was noted, will include an invitation-only VIP Preview, after which the art fair will open to the public from Saturday 4th to Sunday 5th November 2017.

Tokini Peterside (2nd left) and the Art X Lagos team, during the Press Conference in Lagos

Now in its 2nd year, ART X Lagos is the premier international art fair in West Africa, which is committed to increasing the visibility of Africa’s most innovative artists, and widening Nigeria’s connection to the contemporary art scene across Africa internationally.

After the success of its 2016 maiden edition, which 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. The 2017 edition of ART X Lagos will include exhibiting galleries and artists, special curated projects, a programme of talks, the ART X Prize, and a music show – ART X Live!

The 13 Exhibiting Galleries at the 2017 edition include: Art House – The Space (Nigeria), Bloom Art (Nigeria), Fondation Donwahi (Ivory Coast), Gallery 1957 (Ghana), Galerie Atiss (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.

Notable artists among the 2017 line-up include the Nigerian-born, British-based, globally renowned artist and sculptor Yinka Shonibare MBE, as well as 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).

In addition, ART X Lagos has invited four independent artists to present a curated selection of their own works: Polly Alakija, Rom Isichei, Lakin Ogunbanwo and Oluseye.

This year’s art fair will also include curated projects across performance art, installation, photography and video art, to create a conversational show piece for ART X Lagos at The Civic Centre.

The artists selected by Curator, Missla Libsekal, and Founder of art journal Another Africa are: Nástio Mosquito (Angola) and Pere Ortin, Lemi Ghariokwu (Lagos, Nigeria), Yaw Owusu (Accra, Ghana), Rahima Gambo (Abuja, Nigeria), Johnson Uwadinma (Port Harcourt, Nigeria), Olu Amoda (Lagos, Nigeria) and Wura Natasha Ogunji (Nigeria / USA).

In addition, the Access Bank Collection will present to the general public for the first ever in Nigeria, seven wooden sculptures by Ben Enwonwu MBE, originally commissioned by the Daily Mirror in 1960, to mark the artist’s 100th natal anniversary.

A programme of talks, also curated by Missla Libsekal, will include artist talks with Njideka Akunyili

Crosby, the Nigerian-born LA-based artist recently 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, sponsored by Stanbic IBTC Pension Managers, amongst others.

Meanwhile A Whitespace Creative Agency will curate the Interactive Projects of the fair, to appeal to its vast and varied audience. The emerging and young artists to be featured this year include: Olalekan Jeyifous, Dipo Doherty, Queen Nwaneri, Soji Adesina, 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 this year 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’.

To mark the conclusion of what is set to be a thrilling weekend, the winner of the ART X Prize, sponsored by Access Bank, will be announced on 5th November 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 18th 2017. The 2016 winner was Patrick Akpojotor who will be exhibiting at this year’s fair.

Speaking, ART X Lagos Founder & Director, Tokini Peterside said, I created Art X Lagos 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.

ART X Lagos 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.

None of this potential would be realised without the support of the many sponsors, galleries and artists who champion our cause, and to whom we owe the world of gratitude. In collaboration with them, we look forward to welcoming the art world to Lagos, one of the most vibrant art scenes in Africa, at the second edition of ART X Lagos in November.

The 2017 edition of ART X Lagos is made possible by the generous, committed support of its sponsors, which includes – 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 valued partners.

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