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ART X Lagos returns for a fourth year in November

By Gregory Austin Nwakunor
11 August 2019   |   4:31 am
ART X Lagos, West Africa’s premier international art fair, is set to return for its fourth yearly showcase. Launched in 2016, the event has since become a cornerstone of the Lagos art calendar....

Guests at the SMO Contemporary Booth at the 2018 edition of ART X Lagos

ART X Lagos, West Africa’s premier international art fair, is set to return for its fourth yearly showcase. Launched in 2016, the event has since become a cornerstone of the Lagos art calendar, drawing in local patrons and a host of international collectors, curators and critics each year.

ART X Lagos, the first international art fair in West Africa, is designed to showcase the best and most innovative contemporary art from the continent and its Diaspora, as well as to widen Nigeria’s connection to the art scene internationally.

Since its debut, it has welcomed over 22,000 visitors to see the works of Africa’s leading established and emerging artists, including representatives of institutions such as the Tate Modern, Zeitz MOCAA, the National Museum of African Art at the Smithsonian, the Art Institute of Chicago and Centre Pompidou.

In order to fulfil its commitment at providing a truly unique cultural and lifestyle experience for the audience, the 2019 edition will see a lot of major changes, first of which is the the movement of event venue from the Civic Centre, to a new, larger space to be revealed in September.

Apart from its exciting programme, which includes curated projects, interactive projects, talks and live events, the edition will also see the inclusion of ART X Modern — a section of the fair dedicated to pioneers of African modern art in the 20th Century; a Performance Art section and an increase from 18 exhibiting galleries to 26 galleries.

Last edition witnessed some highlights, most notably the showcase of Ben Enwonwu’s masterpiece, ‘Tutu’ (1974), the highest valued work of Nigerian modern art at auction, which sold earlier in 2018 for £1.2 million ($1.67 million), facilitated by Access Bank.Equally, globally acclaimed artist Yinka Shonibare, the 2018 keynote artist, was celebrated with special exhibition at exploring his career highlights. The event also saw East African artists included for the first time.

Guests that graced the 2018 edition included the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, who was the guest of honour, Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu and the Obi of Onitsha, Nnaemeka Alfred Ugochukwu Achebe.

Speaking on the coming event, Founder, Tokini Peterside, says: “Our change in venue will enable us to diversify our programming, expand our audience, and offer a totally unique and fresh experience to our broad audiences. Each year we strive to make ART X Lagos better than the last, and we continue to devote ourselves to displaying a powerful overview of the creative output across Africa and as well providing a global platform for a wide cross section of galleries and artists to engage with international and local audiences. ART X Lagos, 2019, will be bigger, better, and totally different from what people have experienced in the past three years. It will provide a truly memorable experience for all of our guests.”

Starting on Friday, November 1 with a VIP preview, which will be strictly by invitation, the event will be open to the public on November 2 and 3 from 10am to 8pm. As always, there will be many exhibitors from Nigeria and outside the country.

Exhibitors already lined up include SMO Contemporary (Nigeria), Art House – The Space (Nigeria), Goodman Gallery (South Africa), SMAC Gallery (South Africa), Tiwani Contemporary (UK), Tafeta (UK), Galerie Cécile Fakhoury (Ivory Coast), Addis Fine Art (Ethiopia), Out of Africa Gallery (Spain), as well as other noteworthy international and regional galleries. Artists such as Peju Alatise (Nigeria), Abe Odedina (UK), Ruby Onyinyechi Amanze (Nigeria/USA), Sam Nhlengethwa (South Africa), and Kainebi Osahenye (Nigeria) will also display. A full list of artists and exhibitors will soon be announced on the official ART X Lagos website:

Curated by Tayo Ogunbiyi, ART X talks will also hold on Saturday, November 2 and Sunday, November 3, from 3pm to 7:15pm each day. During the talks, key stakeholders in Africa’s art economy will discuss themes pertinent to the state and evolution of contemporary art in Africa.

ART X Live, the one-night interactive art and music show which bringing together some of Africa’s most innovative and emerging talent, will hold on Saturday, November 2 at 10pm. Previous performers include, Teni ‘the entertainer’, Odunsi ‘the engine’, Simi and BOJ, as well as visual artists, Chukwuka Nwobi, Tunde Alara and Williams Chechet.

Access Bank ART X Prize
In 2016, ART X Lagos launched the ART X Prize, a platform designed to support emerging artists. Access Bank sponsored it. The Prize has since evolved significantly, undergoing different changes.

The Prize returns for the 2019 event will be renamed as the Access Bank ART X Prize and open for applications till Friday, August 16. It aims to bolster the efforts of emerging artists who have demonstrated a commitment to careers as professional visual artists, and also to contribute to the burgeoning contemporary art sector in Nigeria.

Selected winner will receive, a three-month residency at Gasworks, London; ₦1.5million towards an ongoing project; a solo presentation of said project at ART X Lagos; mentoring from industry professionals and networking support to realize, promote and contextualize the said project.The jury include artists Emeka Ogboh, Zina Saro-Wiwa, Ibrahim Mahama and Wura Natasha Ogunji, as well as Alessio Antoniolli, Director of Gasworks. For more details visit ART X Lagos official website:

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