Wednesday 14 October 2015

Independent report on Nigerian art market highlights 2014 sales

Described by the authors as the first Nigeria art market report, an analysis of the secondary art outlet has been released. Tagged Nigeria Art Market Report 2014, the analysis focused auction sales in Nigeria and the U.K of the year under review. 
Stilt Dancers (oil on canvas, 160 x 90cm, 1981) by Oshinowo b.1948 sold for N6m

Sponsored by the Foundation for Contemporary and Modern Visual Arts (FCMVA), the report, which is authored by Tayo Fagbule and Jess Castellote highlights sales of the auctions.  "This maiden report examines the activities that make up the relatively small but growing market for modern and contemporary artworks from Nigeria using data compiled from auctions by Arthouse, TKMG (Terra Kulture-Mydrim Gallery) and Sogal in Lagos, and Bonhams in London."

  About sales from 2013-2014, the report, though shows no figures for primary market, it however focuses on what the authors described as "changes in the different sectors of the market such as the professionalization of the primary market, new entrants into the gallery space in Lagos, changes in the exhibition culture and the performance of the Nigerian art at auctions"

It notes that auction sales of modern and contemporary artworks from Africa dropped by 10% in 2014 to $3.27 million from $3.65 million in 2013. Specifically, sales at auctions held in Lagos "declined by 3% (from $1.73 million to $1.67 million) while auction sales at Bonhams in London dropped by 17% (from $1.92 million to $1.60 million).

"In Lagos and London, the sales volume of artworks by Nigerian and non-Nigerian artists grew by 3% to 315, partly due to an additional auction in Lagos. The debut auction by Sogal in October 2014 increased sales volume in Lagos by 10% to 246. Of the 69 lots sold in London, 39 were by Nigerian artists. Despite the drop in volume and value, average prices and sell-through rates recorded at the auctions indicate a strong market, buoyed by Nigerian artworks.

"In 2014, the auctions were dominated by artists from Nigeria. The top 10 selling artworks at the auctions in Lagos and London were by Nigerians: 70 artworks (25 of them by Ben Enwonwu) accounted for 18% of the sales volume and generated 58% ($1.91 million) of the sales value.

"From Yusuf Grillo (b.1934) to Peju Alatise (b.1975), artworks by old and young Nigerian artists dominate the high-end of the market. Ben Enwonwu (1917-1994) maintains the lead, both in value and volume while the works by El Anatsui (b.1944), Bruce Onabrakpeya (b.1932), Kolade Oshinowo (b.1945) continued to generate five-digit figures in turnover. Paintings and sculptures by Bunmi Babatunde (b.1957), Sokari Douglas Camp (b.1958) and Abiodun Olaku (b.1958) also reported impressive turnovers.

"The authors note that, “The growing interest for modern and contemporary artwork from Nigeria and the swelling number of newly rich individuals, from Nigeria and elsewhere, who are keen on buying iconic pieces, has led to a bifurcated market with London serving as the centre for top-selling artworks while Lagos caters to the middle-market. We reckon this trend will continue.

"The typical middle income Nigerian has a passion for high-end luxury brands. And it’s expected that more rich Nigerians will want buy art for a combination of different reasons: passion, prestige and profit. According to a 2014 survey by Standard Chartered Bank, Nigerians in the middle-income category are optimistic about their economic well-being and are stand-out among others surveyed (Indians, Indonesians, Kenyans, Ghanaians) for their aspiration for pleasure among other desires.

Highlights from the Nigeria Art Market Report

In 2014 the value of artworks sold at auctions in Lagos, by both Nigerian and non-Nigerian artists, was $1.67 million, a 3% decline from the previous year despite the debut auction of Sogal in 2014.

 In Lagos sales at the bi-annual Arthouse auction dropped by 20% to $1.1 million in 2014 from $1.40 million in 2013. Similarly, sales at TKMG declined by 20% to $260,000 in 2014 from $326,000 in 2013. The debut auction of Sogal brought in $301,319.

Although Bonhams Africa Now auction sales declined by 17%, more than half of the lots sold were by artists from Nigeria: artworks by 39 Nigerian artists generated $1.3 million.

Artworks by 130 Nigerian artists accounted for 91% ($2.98 million) of auction sales and 79% (249) of auction volume in both Lagos and London.

  Most of the artworks sold in Lagos were within the $10,000 range while in artworks sold in London within the $50,000 to $100,000 bracket slightly increased.

Modern and contemporary artists from Nigeria dominate the top-end of auction sales – the highest selling artworks at Arthouse, Bonhams, TKMG and Sogal respectively were: El Anatsui, Mask, 1978 ($78,375); Ben Enwonwu, Princes of Mali, 1976 ($138,870); Bruce Onabrakpeya, Dance in the Bush, 1998 ($24,784) and Okwoju El-Dragg, Untitled, 1992 ($28,681).  

Sell-through rates i.e., the number of artworks bought as a percentage of lots offered, indicate a strong market particularly works made by established artists.

With the advantage of London's expertise, infrastructure and network of clientele, Bonhams is likely to remain the centre for top-selling Nigerian artworks.

In Nigeria, the limited number of galleries and physical spaces is affecting how, where and when exhibitions are held. Most galleries in Nigeria are based in Lagos, 55% are located in Victoria Island.

The market, despite challenges, is vibrant; a number of galleries are getting professional with plans to attend more international fairs. Rele, a new gallery, opened on Lagos Island.

Demand from a growing number of multimillionaire Nigerians and non-Nigerians based in Nigeria is partly responsible for the growth of the secondary market.

A copy of the report comes with this press release

: The Foundation for Contemporary and Modern Visual Arts is a non-profit organisation set up to promote contemporary and modern visual arts from Nigeria through multimedia: documenting artworks, publishing books and videos which serve as a credible and reliable repository of Nigerian artists and their artworks and provide dependable information for art enthusiasts, artists, collectors etc. 

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