By Omiko Awa
From the entrance of Convention Centre, Federal Palace Hotels and Suites, Lagos, venue of the sixth Art X Lagos, to the VIP section, different art works, especially paintings and installations, announce the ingenuity of Nigerian and African artists.
Although some of the works may seem concealed, majority of them are so appealing that they attract viewers to themselves, rekindling emotions of the good and the bad days of yore.
Apart from passing varied and diverse messages, these creative works and their creators come from different parts of the world to tell their stories.
The event, which celebrates artistic excellence across a range of media including, painting, photography, sculpture, among others, served as avenue for art collectors, connoisseur and devotees to network and talk on the various aspect of arts.
With over 30 leading international galleries from 15 countries across the world presenting different works both on one-on-one and online, this year’s Art X Lagos, is really huge. It features 110 artists from these international galleries that crisscross 30 countries in Africa and others from France, Germany, Japan, United Kingdom, U.S. and Martinique.
The event further opened the arts space for creatives, who have long been starved of such large gathering, no thanks to COVID-19, to mingle and meet both old and new clients.
Of the 30 exhibitors from the galleries, 15 are making their first appearance this year. Opening the fair, Art X Founder and CEO, Tokini Peterside, said: “It’s with great excitement that the event is happening at The Federal Palace for the first in-person edition of Art X Lagos since the pandemic struck and we are delighted to present a full programme that encompasses 30 of the leading galleries who share our commitment to showcase the best in African art, along with a powerful and provocative series of solo exhibitions, talks and vibrant group projects that speak about the issues on the African continent and our projected hopes for its future.”
According to her, Art X Lagos is a reflection of the spirit of Lagos; its energy, dynamism, aspirations and resilience, adding that Lagos is the music, fashion and art capital of Africa. She disclosed that the show is becoming bigger with sponsors increasing every year and also highbrow businesses wanting to be identified with the brand.
With the theme, “The restful ones are not yet born,” Peterside noted that this year’s event aims to tell Lagosians that life is coming back after the COVID-19.
She said while the one-on-one aspect of the event will rounded off on November 7, the online viewing will continue till November 21, adding that international audiences can log into Artxlagos.Com to view the works.
According to the fair founder, this year’s curated projects include, some of the works of Adeola Olagunju, David Alabo and Kelani Abass, which centre on the (re)imagination of the future of the African continent. Each project, she said, reflects the current challenges in Africa, including the aftermath of colonisation and slavery, consequences of political regimes that contributed to the inequality and sociopolitical exclusion.
She disclosed that the projects take inspiration from archives in the past and experiences in the present to imagine diverse possibilities for the future of Africa, adding that the projects will feature two artist collectives from Kaduna and Lagos, who will work alongside Art X Lagos team to produce a short film.
Commending the show, Head of Service, Lagos State Government, Mr. Hakeem Muri-Okunola, representing the state governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, said the state government would continue to provide the right leadership support for the creative industry, adding that Nigerian artists are across the globe spreading the African story and bringing laurels to the country.
Access Bank CEO, Herbert Wigwe, whose organisation has remained one of the majors sponsors of the event since its inception observed that Art X Lagos event has evolved with time to become a prime art event that putts Lagos, Nigeria, in the global art map, as the capital of art in Africa. He stressed that his bank will continue to work with the brand to take the event to its next level on the world map of entertainment.
Access Bank CEO, Herbert Wigwe, whose organisation has remained one of the majors sponsors of the event since its inception observed that Art X Lagos event has evolved with time to become a prime art event that putts Lagos, Nigeria, in the global art map, as the capital of art in Africa. He stressed that his bank will continue to work with the brand to take the event to its next level on the world map of entertainment. Among the collective of artists that will feature this year are, Etinosa Yvonne and Chigozie Obi, the 2019 and 2020 winners of the Access Bank Art X Prize. They are expected to present their solo shows. The 2021 winner will be announced later.
Commenting on the N1.8million prize money won, Obi said it is to enable her come up with more creative works during her three-month residence.