TSA’s Collectors Series deepens art documentation in Africa
TSA Contemporary Art magazine, recently, unveiled the first edition of its Collector’s Series at The Wheatbaker Hotel in Lagos. The unveiling ceremony was a gathering of over 60 art patrons, aficionado, artists and and culture workers in the Lagos art scene.
It began with a speech by Founder and Artistic Director of SMO Contemporary Art and the curator of art at The Wheatbaker, since 2011, Mrs. Sandra Mbanefo-Obiago.
In her speech, Mbanefo-Obiago said, “over the years, The Wheatbaker has supported documentation of the arts as an important foundation to our contribution to the arts. We have hosted many book launches, including The Art of Nigerian Women by Chukwuemeka Bosah and Making History: African Collectors and the Canon of African Art written by Prof. Sylvester Ogbechie, celebrating the amazing Femi Akinsanya Art Collection (FAAC).”
She also gave reasons the hotel partnered SMO Contemporary Art and TSA for this publication, saying it is as a result of the first set of shows titled The Collector’s Series, which held in the facility.
The first edition of the TSA’s Collector’s Series is titled Artists & Cities. It is visually attractive and combines elements of a catalogue and magazine and even different writing styles.
Its 208 pages feature 60 artists and collectives from Lagos, Accra and Kumasi, Cape Town, Kinshasa, Addis Ababa and Marrakech. The selected artists represent a current and diverse range of contemporary art practices from Africa and globally. The publication also features a special section dedicated to the work of five women leaders in the African art world, creating opportunities for artists to show their work locally and internationally. One of the women is Mbanefo-Obiago, representing the women-led Lagos art scene. The other women are Odile Tevie, Elana Brundyn, Victoria Mann and Armelle Dakouo.
The critical focus of the publication is examining the relationship between art, artists and cities, and showing how these relationships play a role in the character of the city and its landscape and future. Cape Town, Accra and Kumasi, and Kinshasa are grouped into one section while Lagos, Addis Ababa, and Marrakech are in another. The women’s focus is in the middle of the publication.
Though the idea of collecting inspired the title of the series, the editorial quest was primarily to examine and expand what is being collected and presented as contemporary African art now.
According to the Editor-in-Chief of TSA, Bukola Oyebode, “we realised that though African art is celebrated globally today, only a few art styles and representations are visible and trendy, especially online. And these few works dictate what makes it to the art market or what is considered African art now. Most artists featured in Artists & Cities work with conceptual, performative and experimental processes. Some artists explore new digital media and focus on ideas and materiality in their work, while others use conventional media in new contexts and reinvent crafts inherited from their parents and community in innovative ways. The works’ narratives are also critical reflections of and on their locality, and sometimes, reimagine the future of that space and Africa in general.”
Some of the 60 artists featured are Zayaan Khan, Bolatito Aderemi-Ibitola, Léonard Pongo, Zohra Opoku, Amine El Gotaibi, Haroon Gunn Salie, Jumoke Sanwo, Wendimagegn Belete, Afroscope/Isaac Nana Opoku, Nengi Omuku, hFACTOR, Sethembile Msezane, Va-Bene Elikem K. Fiatsi, Mmakhotso Lamola, David Alabo, Robel Temesgen, Sarah Abu Bushra, Mukenge/Schellhammer, Yadichinma Ukoha-Kalu, Lois Arde-Acquah, Latifah Idriss, Kimathi Mafafo and Farata Collectif.