The three-day ART X Lagos event was everything its organizers and participants envisioned, and then some. The fair which was held at the Civic Centre, Victoria Island, Lagos featured work from artists from 18 galleries around the world.
The 2018 edition of the fair opened on Friday, November 2, 2018, with a VIP preview of this year’s array of featured works and installations. ART X Lagos 2018 was declared open by Special Guest of Honour, His Highness, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, Ooni of Ile-Ife. The King was joined by his wife, Queen Morenike Naomi Oluwaseyi; Access Bank Plc CEO, Mr. Herbert Wigwe; Lagos state Gubernatorial Aspirant, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, Media mogul Mo Abudu, among others. There was also a VIP cocktail in the evening of the first day that brought together Royal Dignitaries, collectors, and VIPs, including the ART X Lagos 2018 Keynote speaker Yinka Shonibare MBE.
The Keynote speaker, Yinka Shonibare MBE was celebrated on the second day of the art fair, Saturday 3rd November with a special project that celebrated his career highlights, with works ranging from video to public sculpture.
A Gold Sponsor of ART X Lagos, Access Bank Plc, also facilitated a loan of Ben Enwonwu’s historical ‘Tutu’, 1974, which earlier this year became the most highly valued work of Nigerian modern art ever sold at auction for £1.2 million ($1.67 million).
Works of artists from 18 galleries both in Nigeria and outside the country were also displayed at the fair including from artists like Cyrus Kabiru, Joy Labinjo, Alimi Adewale, Paul Onditi, Ranti Bam, Sokari Douglas Camp CBE, and Victor Ekpuk.
The winner of the 2018 ART X Prize with Access, Bolatito Aderemi-Ibitola, also showcased her multimedia solo exhibition that was described as “stretching the boundaries of contemporary African art.”
Saturday evening was a captivating affair as the fair’s one-night-only showcase, ART X Live! featuring some of Nigeria’s and Africa’s biggest musical arts entertained guests who had come for the fair. The collision of live music and visual art included astounding live performances from BOJ, Teni “the Entertainer”, and Ghanaian singer Amaarae, with visuals from up and coming artists like Tomisin Akins, Fadekemi Ogunsanya, and Chukwuka Nwobi.
The last and final day of the fair, Sunday 4th November, featured a discussion with the keynote speaker Yinka Shonibare MBE, who spoke about becoming an artist because he was a fan of other people’s work. “It’s very important for artists to understand that my work is a reflection of my colonial ideologies. You must understand Art History and the context of art to understand my work” he said.
The ART X Talk segment of the fair was curated by Missla Libsekal, while other artists like Chika Okeke-Agulu, HRM Igwe Nnaemeka Alfred Achebe, and Aboubakar Fofana also spoke on how art has influenced their worldview.