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Buju, Lady Donli, WurlD To Rock ART X Live! 2019

Visual artists Joy (left), producer TMXO and and singer Buju

As fun loving Lagosians gear up for this year’s Art X Lagos, organisers have unveiled artistes on the bill for the Art X Live, the musical part of the creative project.

Billed to open on November 1, the event will celebrate some of Lagos’ most exciting emerging and underground mavericks. These include artistes, who do what they like, with influences from all over, who don’t care to fit into boxes or classifications.

Top on the bill for the gig are WurlD, Lady Donli and Buju, who will treat guests to the best of their live performances. Meanwhile, all music will be produced by TMXO.

For this year, ART X Live! Will be centered on the sudden rush to Lagos, the interest in our music, fashion, art and culture in general. Already, the artistes are giving their thoughts on the recent trend.

“We took our music seriously, went back to the roots and refined it. We figured out key elements that make our music unique and refined them for exports. We have done a good job exporting and the results of this is the increased international attention,” talented music producer TMXO said.

On the theme for this year’s event, Making The Maverick, TMXO observed that the music production for ART X Live! champions this notion, adding, “it taps into the key elements that makes everyone special in their own right, bringing them out of their comfort zone without changing their essence. In terms of my production, I’ve been able to deliver quality work and stay consistent over time without compromising my own essence and what I set out to do. My role as a music executive has also allowed me to explore paths less taken. By extension, it has resulted in me being a Maverick,” he enthused.

Asked how he gets inspiration when curating the sound for ART X Live!, the music maker said, “I pulled inspiration from the sounds of ‘Right Now’, which are not independent of the roots of our sounds as a people.”

This year’s ART X Fair sees the fusion of visual art with sound and TMXO believes art played a role in the sound he creates, adding, “Being a visual artist/architect myself, my general approach is heavily influenced by my background and every piece of music created is rightfully art in itself. And is usually unique to the time, experiences and culture shift happening. In regards to changing the creative scene, we see a change in videos, fashion and we are more in tune with the global audience because of this improvement. The world has become a small space because of the Internet and this has led to us having musicians, artists and producers rather than ‘Nigerian’ musicians, artistes and producers without losing our essence.”

For Buju, who will be treating the audience to best of his recordings, “The consistency and originality maintained by African artists and the representation of the diverse cultures in music is what has made us stand out and become a force that can be reckoned with globally.”

When it comes to making music, nothing is complex for Buju.

“In fact the best place to write music for me is in my bathroom. When I’m in the studio, I voice out melodies to the instrumental and give meaning to it and it just comes naturally; freestyling is what we artists call it. I just want to have a nice time with the music that I create,” he said.

Meanwhile, Joy, one of the visual artists on the bill, believes that Art X Lagos has created a platform where individuals are able to express their talents that are often overlooked and undiscovered.

“It is a good initiative for young artistes to have an opportunity to exhibit talents on a global stage,” she noted.

As an artiste, Joy said she’s a big fan of Lady Donli’s works, adding, “She is a Northern Native like myself. Each individual’s perspective is quite unique and is expressed in their craft. I’ve heard a lot about last year’s show, placing visual artists on the same platform as performers, to encourage cohesion.”

Lady Donli’s sound is reminiscent of ‘80s era fuji pop – a time when Nigerian music was driven into popular culture by mavericks such as Fela. As expected, the singer is heavily inspired by the simplicity of music from that era.

“I chose to name my album Enjoy Your Life because a lot of the music I had heard from the 70s/80s etc were heavily influenced by the mantra of enjoyment; everyone was celebrating something. So, I think the sound I’m fusing now is a bit of an ode to simpler times,” she said.

When it comes to expressing her creativity, Donli goes beyond music.

“I enjoy creative direction and marketing. I love planning music and product rollouts and just trying to curate experiences. I also do some poetry writing, although not as much as before, and I paint,” she said.

As a Nigerian – American artiste, WurlD feels so blessed to have experienced both worlds growing up.

“Being born in Nigeria and learning how to create music in America makes it easier for me to fuse different Genres in these regions without falling short on communicating,” he said.

To him, Nigerian art is culture, history, and spirituality.

“I tap into these values daily in my creative visual approach. All the knowledge we’ve gained from studying the western culture for many generations has allowed us to create our own narrative for African culture and heritage. The future is so much brighter,” he noted.

Launched in 2016, ART X Lagos was designed to showcase the best and most innovative contemporary and modern art from the African
continent and its diaspora. It is the West Africa’s premier international art fair, designed to showcase the best and most innovative contemporary and modern art from the African continent and its Diaspora.

Since the maiden edition, the art fair has since become a cornerstone of the Lagos art calendar, drawing local patrons and a host of international collectors, curators, and critics yearly.

ART X Lagos 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. These attendees and the satellite exhibitions that have emerged in response to the fair are undoubtedly indicators of Lagos’ position as a fast-emerging and exciting cultural hub.

In 2016, the fair launched the ART X Prize, to support emerging talent and to contribute to the burgeoning contemporary art sector in Nigeria, renamed in 2019 as the Access Bank ART X Prize. The Prize provides funding and mentoring support for compelling projects by emerging artists with the potential to propel them beyond the threshold of the local art sector and onto the international stage, as well as an international residency. Documentary photographer Etinosa Yvonne emerged as the winner of the 2019 Edition of the Prize.

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Art XBujuLady DonliWurld
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