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How affordable art auction sustained market prospects

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Rom Isichei’s Strength of Purpose, oil on board

Despite the unfriendly economic environment of the first quarter of an election year, Affordable Art Auction 2019 recorded a slight increase in sales.

Hurriedly rescheduled to avoid being held on the new date of last general elections, Arthouse Contemporary’s Affordable Art Auction, according to the results released by the organisers, recorded “a total of N27,047,750 million from 97 lots” on sale.

Last year’s edition had 107 lots and recorded N26, 668,000 million.

Stressing that The Affordable Art Auction aims to engage new collectors with all works of art estimated below N1 million, Arthouse noted that as the sister edition to the May and November auctions, the Affordable Art Auction featured artworks that were scaled to accessible prices.

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For the last sales held few days before the rescheduled elections, the two top sales of the evening were Rom Isichei’s Strength of Purpose I and II, oil on boards, sold for N1,150,000 and N1,116,250. Other sales of the night include, Pita Ohiwerei’s No Woman No Cry, an oil on canvas dated 1999, and sold for N1,057,500; Bunmi Babatunde’s bronze sculpture, Possibilities, sold for N1,034,000 and Twins Seven Seven’s The Great Fisherman, a mixed media on board from 2001, sold for N998,750.

Ahead of the auction, artworks by artists such as, Bruce Onobrakpeya, David Dale, Kolade Oshinowo, Jacob Afolabi, Jimoh Buraimoh and many others were announced to feature. While quite some of the artists made impressive sales within the affordable context, mid-career artists too had good outing.

Also, it was stated that the 2019 edition featured charity lots by A. Akande, George Edozie, Nwachukwu Ike and Chibuike Uzoma, in support of the Arthouse Foundation, the non-profit artist residency programme in Lagos.

The charity lots, it was disclosed, raised “a total of N 1,280,000.” The proceeds from the charity, it was assured, “would go directly to supporting the programmes of the Arthouse Foundation, including its residencies, workshops, talks and public events.”

Supported by Kia Motors, Le Connaisseur, Chocolate Royal, 7UP and The Guardian, the 2019 edition opened with a preview themed, Art Night Out. Scheduled to include music and performances, it was aimed at attracting new art collectors.

For its third edition last year, Affordable Art auction sales represented 62 per cent of artworks on display. The top sales of the year were Isichei’s Vacancy of Stares, an oil on paper sold for N1,150,000; Gerald Chukwuma’s Akuko Ifo, a mixed media diptych, sold for N920,000; Ebong Ekwere’s wood sculpture, Dancing Torso, for N805,000, as well as Reuben Ugbine’s Meditation II for N805,000.

Other impressive sales then were Abayomi Barber’s Dream Man, a pastel on paper, as well as Ato Delaquis’ The Lagoon, an acrylic on canvas, also sold for N805,000 each.

Affordable Art, which debuted in 2016, recorded a total of N31, 050, 000 million ($155,250) during the maiden auction.

When Arthouse debuted on the Nigerian art market in 2007, it was built on being an international auction house that specialises in modern and contemporary art based in West Africa.


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