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Art Fair returns with high content, new programmes

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Flying Girls, an installation by Peju Alatise, which showed at the Venice biennale…. Alatise is one of the contemporary artists to show at the fair

The 2019 ART X Lagos will hold at the Federal Palace, Victoria Island, after three successful editions at the Civic Centre. Holding from Friday, November 1 to Sunday, November 3, 2019, the fourth edition of the international art fair promises to showcase the very best of contemporary and modern art from Africa and the Diaspora.

The move to a new venue marks a significant step in the fair’s evolution, offering it a vastly increased venue capacity, with the number of participants growing from 14 to 23 gallery booths, with several exhibitors expected to occupy much larger booths this year. It also allows for greater curated sections and an enhanced visitor experience including the introduction of a Performance Art section for 2019.

Curated by the artist Wura-Natasha Ogunji, the Performance Art Pavilion will feature a series of performances exploring the connection between art and ethics. Titled, Small Acts, it comprises three live performances by Nigerian artists Ngozi Schommers, Eca Eps, and Taiwo Aiyedogbon developed specifically for the fair.

Tokini Peterside, the fair founder, said, “our move to Federal Palace enables us to deliver, at our fourth edition, a markedly enhanced experience from prior years, with the addition of new sections as well as the growth in the fair’s size and scope. We continue to redefine the boundaries of what an art fair can hope to achieve, through our curated and interactive projects, our prize for emerging artists, as well as ART X Live! – all of which combine to showcase the very best of contemporary and modern, established and emerging, art and culture from Africa and the Diaspora. We are excited to see how our audience responds to these innovations, and look forward to welcoming visitors from all over the world to this year’s expo.”

A strong host of Nigerian galleries return this November, with exhibitors including Art House – The Space, Bloom Art, Nike Art Gallery, Retro Africa, SMO Contemporary, as well as the addition of Mydrim Gallery, amongst others. Ed Cross Fine Art (United Kingdom), Everard Read (South Africa), Galerie Voss (Germany), Galerie Cécile Fakhoury (Côte d’Ivoire), Goodman Gallery (South Africa) and LouiSimone Guirandou Gallery (Côte d’Ivoire) make up some of the new international exhibitors who will showcase at the event.

A number of artists from across the continent and beyond will showcase this year. They include Abe Odedina (Nigeria / UK / Brazil), Soly Cissé (Senegal), Sam Nhlengethwa (South Africa), Tizta Berhanu (Ethiopia), Peju Alatise (Nigeria), and Lady Skollie (South Africa) who make up some of the 70 plus exhibiting artists.

The fourth edition of the fair also sees the introduction of a modern section, a new section dedicated to celebrating pioneers of African modern art from the 20th century, presented by Stanbic IBTC Pensions. This section will comprise of three galleries: Bloom Art (Nigeria), Mydrim Gallery (Nigeria) and Gallery 1957 (Ghana), featuring artists such as Professor Ablade Glover (Ghana), Uche Okeke (Nigeria), and Obiora Udechukwu (Nigeria), amongst other well-reputed names.

Following a rigorous screening process by the jury, earlier in September, five finalists were invited to present their final presentations to the Jury. After further deliberation, eventually, Etinosa Yvonne, a self-taught documentary photographer, based in Abuja, originally from Benin City, was revealed as the winner of the 2019 ART X Prize. Her unveiling held at the official launch event on Thursday, September 12. Yvonne will claim the winnings of a cash grant of N 1,500,000, a three-month residency at Gasworks, London, in 2020, and a solo presentation at 2020 fair.

Amaechi Okobi, Group Head, Corporate Communications, Access Bank, while expressing his delight at the impact the 2019 Prize has made, reiterated his company’s commitment to the art sector. “Following the success of last year’s Prize, it is wonderful to see over double the number of applications in 2019. We remain committed to the patronage of the art sector in Nigeria, and it is our goal to support and impact emerging artists in Nigeria, through the Prize. The quality of Etinosa Yvonne’s work is a testament to the potential of emerging artists in Nigeria.”

This year the show will celebrate some of Lagos’ most exciting emerging and underground mavericks. Artists who do what they like, with influences from all over, who don’t care to fit into boxes or classifications. The 2019 line-up will feature visual art by Dafe Oboro and Joy Matashi; live performances from WurlD, Lady Donli, and Buju; with TMXO brought in as the show’s producer, curated by Lanre Masha (Music) and Faridah Folawiyo (Art).

Launched in 2016, it is West Africa’s first international art fair, designed to showcase the best and most innovative contemporary art from the African continent and diaspora and to widen Nigeria’s connection to the art scene across Africa and internationally.

Through its contribution to the increased visibility of African artists, it aims to reinforce the visual arts as an important component of the creative industry in Nigeria and Africa and to position Lagos as an emergent cultural capital on the continent.


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