By Osa Amadi, Arts Editor
There was a time African art was described as “primitive” by Westerners and seen as lacking in technical ability due to its low socioeconomic status. But all that have changed.
As scholars began to study African art at the beginning of the twentieth century, discovering emotional and psychological qualities that had not been seen before in Western art, art generally became a true medium for philosophic and intellectual discourse and ceased to be mere aesthetic objects. What we know today as European architecture was strongly influenced by African art.
Today, contemporary African art has achieved international recognition, but more needs to be done. That, and more, is the aim of Impart Artists Fair – to increase the awareness of African arts and culture and also to improve its recognition globally.
This maiden edition of Impart Artists Fair themed Art Meets Tech, organized by Lasmara, is scheduled to hold from Friday 25 October to Sunday 27 October 2019 at the Eko Atlantic, Victoria Island, Lagos.
According to the organizers of the art fair, 300 African artists are expected to participate, exhibiting over 1000 recent works to more than 6000 international and local collectors and art lovers from various socio-economic backgrounds.
Addressing arts journalists last Thursday during a press conference which announced the event, Hana Omilani, founder and director of Lasmara, gave the reasons for the Impart Artists Fair:
“We felt that we needed a platform to promote African artists that would really put them on the shining light. So we thought very hard (and asked) what can we do that would help artists in Africa with their career, especially with their sales. So we decided to put a platform together. It’s more than just a fair. We are going to launch Impart with the Artists Fair.
Hana also explained why the Impart Artists Fair is different from any other fair: “We are going to connect artists directly with buyers, and we are really aiming at democratizing art. We want to be accessible to everyone – youths, seasoned art collectors, first-time buyers, and first-time visitors. We want to make it a very accessible platform.”
Other activities scheduled to take place at the fair include Digital Art show, workshops with artists and professionals, exclusive collectors’ events, etc. “We believe that technology is at the forefront of everything we do now,” said Hana, “and we don’t want to be left behind in the creative sector. We know that many industries are ahead of this but as Africans we feel that our artists in the creative industry are using the technology tool very much to their advantage and we just want to enhance it. We want people all over the place to have access to African artists through technology at least, if they can’t make it physically because it is not everyone that can travel to Africa.
“We want to also assist them to showcase their works everywhere, not just Lagos, not just in Nigeria, but everywhere. We also want to give the audience here something fresh to look at, so we’ve started sourcing and targeting African artists all over the continent, not just in Nigeria. It’s going to be a pan-African artist fair. We will have artists from various African countries.”
The key message, said Hana, is “come, see the artists, connect to them, and buy from them directly; learn more about their works, and see what Africa is doing. Let’s put our best foot forward through the creative sector using technology.”
Elaborating on the technology content of the fair, Hana said they have some amazing tech partners on board all working together as a community in the creative industry “where you will have a massive interaction experiences using technology to have creative experiences.”
“Lasmara has been around for 10 years,” she disclosed. “Actually I started it in London but we’ve been in Lagos for the past 4 years working on exhibitions, auction houses, and different projects. But this is our first platform, and beyond the fair, we are planning to focus on women in the arts and women in technology. So it’s really about giving those two programs key highlights and we will have programs, workshops, and talks specific to women in creative sector and women in technology.”
Impart Artists Fair is sponsored by Templars, US Consulate, 9Mobile, Mirinda Apple, AXA Mansard and Iron Capital.