Sign of change

Art X Lagos: cultural “africapitalism”

Art Market | The contemporary art market is gaining ground in Africa. The success of the second edition of ART X confirms the growing interest in African visual arts and the presence of a burgeoning community of buyers.

Olalekan Jeyifous - Makoko Canal Lagos © 50 Golborne
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Olalekan Jeyifous - Makoko Canal Lagos
© 50 Golborne

The commercial and cultural capital of Nigeria, Lagos, is going through an economic slowdown due to oil prices. However this has not prevented its new generation of artists and cultural actors from coming together. In the middle of an effervescent atmosphere, Tokini Peterside, the Art X fair’s director, has welcomed 9000 visitors throughout the event’s three-day program. The international fair has gathered fourteen galleries, most of them based in the continent : five Nigerian galleries including Retro Africa and Signature Beyond, galleries from Ivory Cost, Ghana and Senegal. The presence of Stevenson, based in Cape Town and two London galleries, Tiwani and TAFETA should also be noted.

Having adopted a frank commercial approach, the fair offers artworks at affordable prices, between $2.000 and $100.000. This strategy encourages a young generation of international collectors to invest in their participation in order to discover the exhibiting artists. By relying on her family connections, among others, Tokini Peterside has received a number of major African artists from the modern and contemporary art scene. The unprecedented exhibition of seven sculptures by Ben Enwonwu (a pioneering figure in the recognition of Nigerian modern art) alongside Olalekan Jeyifous’ Coloring Danfo, illustrates the junction between the past’s legitimacy and today’s creation.

The Art X prize, which was awarded to Habeeb Andu and counted with the collaboration of Access Bank, reveals the replication of Western methods. The fair, which has a great potential for expansion both for artists and art lovers, reflects the aspiration of relocating cultural activities. This return to origins goes hand in hand with the emergence of an economic elite. With more than 140.000 millionaires in the African continent in 2016 (a figure that is steadily increasing), new potential buyers are coming forth. The future looks promising for these cultural events based on an “africapitalist” perspective, that focuses on local interests and solidarity, encouraging the young generations of artists to come.

Valentin Heinrich
Publié le 05/12/2017
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Version française

Olalekan Jeyifous - Makoko Canal Lagos © 50 Golborne Olalekan Jeyifous - Makoko Waterfront Lagos © 50 Golborne Le lauréat du ART X Prize 2017: Habeeb Andu entouré de Tokini Peterside et Amaechi Okobi de Access Bank (partenaire de ART X Lagos) © DR Tokini Peterside, Njideka Akinyili Crosby, Mobolaji Balogun durant ’In conversations with Njideka Akinyili Crosby’ © DR

Olalekan Jeyifous - Makoko Canal Lagos
© 50 Golborne

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