By Japhet Alakam
ART X Lagos, West Africa’s foremost international art fair, curated a special exhibition of artwork during President Emmanuel Macron’s visit to the iconic New Afrika Shrine. The exhibition featured works by three of Nigeria’s leading contemporary artists Victor Ehikhamenor, Abraham Oghobase and Ndidi Emefiele.
A lover of the arts, President Macron, is currently working towards making France more attractive to artists from all over the world with a particular interest in African contemporary art and talent.
ART X Lagos Founder, Tokini Peterside, introduced the artists to the French President and the Lagos State Governor, Akinwumi Ambode. The artwork on display covered a wide range of forms including photography and mixed media.
On the rare occasion of presenting his work to the French President, photographer Abraham Oghobase said: “Meeting President Emmanuel Macron and Governor Ambode, among other distinguished guests, was a fantastic and surreal experience. I was honoured to exhibit my work alongside Ndidi Emefiele and Victor Ehikhamenor as part of the ART X Lagos special presentation. “Ecstatic” is a series that means a lot to me for its place in my early artistic journey as well as for how it connects me to the city of Lagos, where I was born, brought up and have lived for most of my life. I truly appreciate the hard work by all of the event’s organisers, especially the ART X Lagos team.”
Award winning visual artist and writer Victor Ehikhamenor, remarked: “What makes or mars a nation state is the range of its critical cultural output. In the past, Nigerian rulers and cultural promoters have neglected the visual arts and relegated their importance. The addition of curated visuals by ART X Lagos to the cultural event during President Macron’s visit to the New Afrika Shrine in Lagos strengthens this belief in the value and importance of our artistic production. Thank you to ART X Lagos and the show’s organisers for this important moment in our contemporary history.”
The culture showcase was one of President Macron’s stops during a two-day visit to Nigeria focused on fostering bilateral relationships based on socio-cultural interaction and cooperation. He also announced the launch of the African Cultural Season, scheduled to hold in France in 2020.