Art FocusART X Lagos 2021: West Africa’s Premier Art Fair Returns

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ART X Lagos will return to The Federal Palace in Victoria Island, Lagos this November with a physical/digital hybrid event celebrating artistic excellence from Africa and its diaspora across a range of media including painting, photography, sculpture, and more.

For its sixth edition – and its largest fair to-date – ART X Lagos will bring together 30 leading international galleries from 15 countries across the world to present work both online and in-person: Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, France, Germany, Ghana, Kenya, Martinique, Morocco, Nigeria, Sénégal, South Africa, Spain, Uganda, United Kingdom, and USA. Together, they will showcase 110 artists from over 30 countries, from Angola to Zimbabwe, Morocco to Martinique, and Egypt to South Africa. Of the 30 exhibitors, 15 join ART X Lagos for the first time.

Johnson Eziefula, Tola the Baldie, 2021, Mixed media on Canvas

Since its debut in 2016, ART X Lagos has become known for its ambitious program, which includes ART X Talks – a lively panel discussion series curated by Aude Mgba; ART X Live! – a one-of-a-kind showcase featuring collaborations between some of the fastest-rising artists and musicians on the African continent, curated by Lanre Masha, Faridah Folawiyo and Ayo Lawson; as well as specially curated presentations and interactive projects. These programs have featured an array of emerging and established artists from the continent and diaspora, including Wangechi Mutu, Njideka Akunyili-Crosby, Yinka Shonibare CBE, El Anatsui, and Hank Willis Thomas.

This year’s Curated Projects take the theme “The restful ones are not yet born” and include work by Adéọlá Ọlágúnjú, David Alabo and Kelani Abass, centred on the (re)imagination of the future of the African continent. Each project reflects on the current challenges experienced in Africa, including the aftermaths of colonisation and slavery, along with the consequences of political regimes that contribute to inequality and sociopolitical exclusion. The projects take inspiration from archives in the past and experiences in the present to imagine diverse possibilities for the future of Africa.

Nike Okundaye, Beauty Everywhere, Pen, ink and Acrylic on Canvas

We Are Here is this year’s Interactive Project. Curated by A Whitespace Creative Agency, We Are Here brings together two artist collectives in film and music – the Kaduna-based film collective The Critics and the Lagos-based sound collective The Village Sound System – and teams them up with ART X Lagos’s daily visitors to produce a dynamic short film.

The Access Bank ART X Prize – Nigeria’s leading award for emerging visual artists – also returns after a hiatus due to Covid-19. The 2019 winner, documentary photographer Etinosa Yvonne will present a solo exhibition at the fair in November, curated by Wura-Natasha Ogunji with the 2021 winner to be announced shortly.

ART X Collective Founder & CEO, Tokini Peterside, said: “It is with great excitement that we look forward to returning to The Federal Palace in November for the first in-person edition of ART X Lagos since the pandemic struck.

“We are delighted to present a full programme encompassing 30 of the leading galleries who share our commitment to showcasing the best in African art, along with a powerful and provocative series of solo exhibitions, talks and vibrant group projects that speak to the state of affairs on the African continent and our projected hopes for its future. My heartfelt gratitude goes to our galleries and sponsors for their resilience and their unwavering support of our vision.”

Soly Cissé, Nature 2, 2020, Oil on canvas

Those visiting Lagos in person will be able to attend the fair from 4th – 7th November at The Federal Palace while international audiences will be able to view works online from 4-21 November on ARTXLAGOS.COM and Artsy.

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