It’s art season here in Lagos and the finest artists, curators, gallerists, collectors and art enthusiasts have congregated in Lagos to witness Nigerian and African art in all its glory. With the wrap up of Lagos Fashion Week only a few days earlier, an annual showcase of Nigerian fashion from select fashion houses, the city’s guests deserve to experience more of what the African art industry has to offer.
ART X Lagos opened its fair doors in 2016 with an aim of deepening Nigeria’s connection to the contemporary African art scene by showcasing over 30 artists from 11 galleries. Today the fair not only consists of exhibitions by both established and undiscovered artists, it also hosts talks, ART X TALKS, anchored by industry giants and key players in the African art scene. Alongside the beautiful art pieces put up for exhibition each year and the featured talks, it plays a role in showcasing the Nigerian music scene through ART X LIVE.
The sixth edition of ART X Lagos wrapped its physical fair on Sunday, 7th October at the Federal Palace hotel. This years edition housed art pieces from over 100 artists from Ghana Egyptian, Kenya, Nigeria, Jamaica, South Africa, Haiti, Benin, Côte d’Ivoire and many other countries. Art pieces ranging from sculptures, digital art, interactive art, paintings and short films were showcased onsite at the fair. The fair had a number of partners including Access Bank, Tangerine, Trace, The Guardian, ArtAfrica, Flutterwave, ART.SY, Adidas, Stanbic IBTC, Ebonylife Palace and several other brands. This year’s edition of ART X LIVE featured performances by Aylø, Dami Oniru, Lojay and visual art showcase of AMKMQ & Fez.
In its six years, ART X Lagos has been at the forefront in showing contemporary African art and creating a platform for artists to showcase their work to a larger audience. With arts and entertainment being one of Africa’s largest exports, the industry is fast rising in uniting voices and forces from each corner of the continent. In barely six years the fair has been able to grow its artist lineup by including more African artists in the continent and the diaspora by partnering with more African art galleries. The inclusivity in the fair gives hundreds of talented African artists a chance at international exposure, it gives that young girl trying to break into the art space a platform to showcase the work she’s been hoarding for months. It gives the infant gallery a chance to prove itself in the industry by pushing their artists to give their best.
Apart from the needed exposure it gives artists and galleries, it also gives these artists the much needed experience in a controlled environment. ART X serves as many artists first exhibition and stepping stone into the international art industry. Hundreds of African artists congregating in a space created to promote their work also gives these artists a liberating experience on working with a diverse yet kindred set of like-minded colleagues.
ART X Lagos being first of its kind in West-Africa is the Pan-African event the art industry needs and deserves. It’s impressive watching the fair grow annually and partner with more African brands. In the years to come, it’s easy to see it remain the leading Pan-African art fair not only in West-Africa but the entire continent.
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