By Tajudeen Sowole
The richness of African art's rising profile in the international market, which cuts across modern and contemporary periods keeps strengthening the secondary art scene in Nigeria, so stress contents of the fifteenth edition of Arthouse Contemporary Limited auction.
Ahead of the auction preview, which opened yesterday and continues today at Wheatbaker Hotel, Ikoyi, Lagos, works of modernists and fresh contemporary artists, among others, were announced. And as the sales opens tomorrow, at Wheatbaker, masters such as Ben Enwonwu and Ablade Glover as well as first timers are going under the hammer.
According to one of the experts at Arthouse, Nana Sonoiki, new comers into the auction include Timothy Adequate Fussy, Angela Issue, Oboes Anidi, Chipping Udoma, Jimmy Nwanne, Johnson Uwadinma, Cheri Samba, Georgia Beier and Toyin Loye. Expectedly, most of the new entrants are artists whose practice and texture of works fall within the contemporary definition.
"As contemporary African art moves to become one of the fastest growing global art markets, this edition of Arthouse auction will feature works of master from the modern period and cutting-edge contemporary art from the region’s most celebrated artists," said Sonoiki, few days before the preview opened. "This edition of the auction will feature 103 lots, with new artists being featured for the first time "
With sales worth over one and half billion naira for more than one thousand pieces in the past 14 editions, the Lagos-based auction house is again relying on its pedigree to make a success out of the November 2015 sales. Under the hammer of U.K-based auctioneer, John Dabney, who has been conducting the past sales - and the current one too - Arthouse auctions have been holding twice a year since 2007.
And not just about commercial, but giving back to the society as well, so suggest quite a number of the auctions that have included charity sales. For the November 2015 sales, Sonoiki disclosed "the auction will include charity lots from note able artists such as Rom Isichei, Isaac Amkpa, Sade Thompson, Olu Ajayi and Gbenga Offo." The charity sales, she added is in support of Arthouse Foundation, a not-for-profit residency-based platform for artists set up by the parent company to assist artists expand their practice. She also disclosed that "the proceeds of these charity lots will go directly to support Arthouse Foundation’s acquisition of a permanent venue for its studio residences."
Recall that the Arthouse Foundation started its first year with artist in residence, Victor Ekpuk, who gave his Artist Talk in Lagos few weeks ago. Ekpuk is completing his residency early next year.
A note from the auction house states: Founded in 2007, Arthouse Contemporary is an international auction house that focuses on modern and contemporary art from West Africa. With auctions held twice a year in Lagos, Nigeria, Arthouse Contemporary aims to create awareness of the scope of contemporary art in the region, encourage international recognition towards its talented artists, and strengthen the economy of its art market. As West Africa’s premier auction house, Arthouse Contemporary has sold over 1,100 pieces of art worth nearly eight million dollars over the past seven years.