Sunday 12 May 2013

New entrants set to shine in art auction

By Tajudeen Sowole
AS the secondary art market in the country continues to grow, another set of new entrants have been given opportunity to pitch their tents in the premiere art auction house, Arthouse Contemporary Limited.

The debutant artists in the next auction, drawn from established and young artist circles, join regular masters when the auction opens tomorrow with a preview, ending with the actual sale on Monday, May 13, at The Wheatbaker Hotel, Ikoyi, Lagos.
Also, for the 10th auction, the charity section, Seeing Is Believing, ‘administered’ by Standard Chartered Bank, is aimed at supporting the funding of ‘avoidable blindness’.

And in strengthening the growth of visual arts, the auction house has disclosed that it will set up a foundation to help young artists prepare for the challenges of professional career.
The established and new artists who are making their debut appearances include Mike Omoighe, Marcia Kure, Gary Stevens, Godfrey Okorodu, Ogbami Alenosi, Ato Arinze, Titus Agbara, Shola Fakeye, Babalola Lawson, Nana Nyan Acquah, Kate Badoe, Frank Asomani, Larry Otoo, Cheri Cherin and Olumide Onadipe. Others are Chris Atuba, Dan Ifon, Issac Emokpae, Moris Adoro, Mary Evans, Ndidi Emefiele, Denis Osakwe, Albert Ohams, Uche Peers and Obinna Makata.
Alex Nwokolo's mixed media on canvas titled Head as one of the works for the auction
Manager and Specialist at Arthouse Contemporary, Nana Sonoiki, said the aim of the auction house is to keep expanding the scope of African art. The 10th auction, she said, is therefore, featuring “117 lots of Nigerian and Ghanaian artists, spanning the medium of painting, sculpture, mixed media and photography.”
Over 200 entries were received from artists and consignees within and outside Nigeria, Sonoiki disclosed. “As usual, it was difficult selecting 117 lots from as many as over 200 works we got. Standard and quality were priority in selecting the final lots. At the last auction, 111 lots were on sale with about 80 per cent sale.”
She noted that with every auction, “we keep getting higher quality works, particularly from the old collection.” In fact, the ratio, she said, is “50:50 between the old and new works.”

ON the charity lots, Sonoiki argued it’s a tradition, which the auction house has kept going in the past few years “starting with a charity sale for the artist, David Dale.”  Four lots, she explained, would be sold for the Seeing Is Believing charity.
According to a statement from the bank, Seeing is Believing is a global initiative to stop avoidable blindness.
“With an ambitious target to raise $100 million by 2020, we’re committed to help eliminate avoidable blindness and visual impairment. We continue to partner with leading eye-care organisations and charities to create sustainable eye-care services in impoverished communities. Having raised over $55 million since 2003, we’re over half way to our target. Standard Chartered will continue to match every donation, dollar-for-dollar,” Sonoiki said.
The charity lots are Oyerinde Olotu’s Old Lagos, 2011 Oil On canvas; Olu Amoda’s X-Ray Pot 2012, mixed media; A. Akande’s Mask, oil on board; and Bruce Onobrakpeya’s Emedjo, metal oil relief edition.

IN its 10th edition, Arthouse will continue to add more value to art from Africa, Accounts Manager, Sumbo Biobaku, assured, stating that the auction house takes “only 10 percent premium from each sale, yet all the works are insured” so long as they are within the possession of Arthouse.
On provenance, Sonoiki assured that Arthouse would keep trying its best to maintain standard, working with whoever submits a piece of work for auction. One of such measures, she added, is to get everybody involved. “Every consignee signs an undertaken to take responsibility for provenance.”
While the auction house hopes that the new entrants will impress, star sale of the auction remains within the circle of the masters such as Ben Enwonwu, Bruce Onobrakpeya, El Anatsui and others in that cadre.

At the last auction of Arthouse, Anatsui’s Grandma’s Cloth Series VI (Oil on wooden panels, 132 x 262 cm.) was the star, as it went for N11.4 million. Also, Yusuf Grillo’s painting, Sango Worshipper (Oil on board 122 x 56 cm., 1961) estimated to fetch N7.5 -8.5 million added strength to the auction as it was sold for N7.4 million.

On helping young artists face the challenges of professional practice, the CEO of Arthouse, Kavita Chellaram, said the auction house would soon flag off a foundation. The foundation, she explained would include a scheme for young artists to work under mentorship with established artists. “We are setting up a foundation to support art students at the university level; through a competition and after graduate we put the winners into a space where they can work and under a mentor to create work and also support exhibition. We are going to get the foundation off the ground 

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