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Auctions, fair, galleries, are a small slice of the Nigerian art market

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Arthouse Contemporary’s twice-a-year auctions have become a way to gauge the prices of Nigerian artworks, but they contribute quite a small part of the volume of works traded in the country in the year, in the opinion of a keen art collector.

“I don’t think that auctions and even the (large fair) ArtX contribute more than 10% of the entire volume of art works that are being sold in this country”, says Hakeem Adedeji.

He admits that the events confer enormous respectability and prestige on the idea of artmaking, but that there’s a significant thriving art market in Nigeria outside of these nameplate activities. “Toyin, probably this year I think I’ve bought over 200 drawings.

They’re from young artists so it’s not as if I’m putting out much there. I’ve bought about 200 drawings from young and old artists alike. It’s a trade between me and them.

The point is who’s recording that? It’s not you, Jess (Castelotte) or Kavita (Chelarams). Do you know how many people will go to Olaku and queue on the line and collect their own work after a while? Nobody’s recording that.

How many works were sold at the last Art Ex auction? I don’t know if the sold half of what they put out”. Adedeji’s views on Art and Finance are included in a forthcoming report on the Nigerian art market, published by Jess Castellotte.


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