The maiden edition of ART X Lagos took place between the 4th and 6th of November at the Civic Centre in Victoria Island, Lagos. The three day art fair was designed by TP-Collective to widen Nigeria’s connection to the contemporary art scene across Africa and internationally. ART X Lagos was created to provide the best insight into what the visual art sector in Africa has to offer to a wider local and international audience, and encourage African and international patrons to visit Lagos.
ART X Lagos had a record breaking 5,000 visitors spread over the three days, who got to see the best art works by over 65 African artists such as South Africa's William Kentridge, Zimbabwe's Kudzanai Chiurai, Ghana's Jeremiah Quarshie, Cameroon's Barthelemy Togou, Mali's AmadouSanogo and Nigeria's Sokari Douglas Camp, Rubi Onyiye ChiAmanze, Ade Adekola, Rom Isichiei, Alimi Adewale, George Osodi, Victor Ehikamenor and Lakin Ogunbanwo to name a few.
ART X Lagos was a unique fusion of art, lifestyle and culture. The VIP Opening Preview on the first day witnessed a large turnout of art collectors, artists, gallery owners, film and music celebrities, members of the diplomatic corps, captains of industry, media gurus and A-listers on the social scene. They got to experience first-hand the various works on display. The winner of the ART X Prize was also announced at the Opening Preview, after a rigorous and diligent process that began in September 2016.
Day two and three of the art fair also witnessed a large turnout of guests who, besides viewing the works on display, were part of ART X Talks- an integral component of the fair’s special programmes. The talks provided a dynamic and vibrant discursive platform to highlight some of the topical issues concerning contemporary art and its evolving infrastructures across the continent. Composed of panel discussions, presentations and conversations, the distinguished list of guest speakers included artists, collectors, curators, gallerists, writers and entrepreneurs, who all engaged in the possibilities of art as a vehicle through which our contemporary experience can be articulated and understood.
Speakers included Nigerian collector, Omooba Yemisi Shyllon, who owns over 6,000 art works, Chief Curator and Director of the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa, Cape Town, Mark Coetzee, and Curator at the Tate Modern, London, and Zoe Whitley. Other speakers on the various panels were the renowned artists Professors El Anatsui and Bruce Onabrakpeya, the art patrons Ngozi Edozien and Femi Lijadu, and the cultural entrepreneurs Mo Abudu, Reni Folawiyo and Bolanle Austin-Peters, who brought a wealth of knowledge and experience to the panel discussions.
One program that had guests at the exhibition really excited was ART X Live! which had two components. ART X Live: The Studio curated by A Whitespace Creative Agency, where a collective of emerging artists drew and painted live at the venue! These artists included: Uthman Wahaab, Wura-Natasha Ogunji, Yadichinma Ukoha-Kalu, Osi Itegboje, Stacey Okparavero, Olatunde Alara, Kadara Enyeasi and Karo Akpokiere.
There was also ART X Live: Intersections, a live art and sound performance installation that fused emerging visual artists and four of the fastest rising music artistes, produced by Ikon. Intersections was co-curated by Fatherland Media and A Whitespace Creative Agency, and featured stars such as Vector, Simi, Falana and Poe performing alongside visual artists Yadichinma, Stacey Ravvero, Tunde Alara and Dricky.
Speaking at the closing, Tokini Peterside, ART X Lagos Founder, and Managing Director of TP-Collective, said: ‘The response to ART X Lagos has been simply phenomenal. Over three days we have watched visitors from various parts of Nigeria, Africa and the international community, engage with the best contemporary art from around our continent. These visitors were excited by the talent on display, and their reactions to the work and our interactive projects, have solidified our commitment to the mission and ambition of ART X Lagos. We are so motivated by the turn out that we have already begun the journey towards ART X Lagos 2017. We thank our sponsors and our Media Partners and Lifestyle Partners, as well as the galleries and artists, without whom this would have been impossible. We look forward to seeing you next year, as we set out to further reinforce the city of Lagos’ position as a cultural capital in Africa!