Sunday 17 February 2019

Encouraging 'new collectors' with Affordable Art Auction

A mixed media by Johnson Uwadinma is one of the artworks for The Affordable Auction 2019.

In the fledging art hub of Lagos, being strengthened by the secondary market, expanding the art appreciation space is crucial. For Arthouse Contemporary, Nigeria's premier auction house, encouraging new collectors appear to be its focus. 

As the auction house's fourth edition of Affordable Art opens with previews on Wednesday February 20 and sales on Thursday, 21, 2019, at Kia Showroom, Victoria Island, Lagos, art enthusiasts have another opportunity to enrich their views and collections. The two days preview, which come ahead of the auction on the third day, traditionally, converge followers of art to share and compare notes, based on whatever choice made on the works on display. The Affordable Art is the sister edition to the yearly May and November auctions, featuring artworks that are scaled down in pricing.

Themed 'Art Night Out', the auction preview, in the last two editions has been including music and performances, clearly aimed to attract new art collectors. Debuted in 2016, Affordable Art recorded a total of N31, 050, 000 million naira ($155,250) during the maiden auction.

"The Affordable Art auction aims to engage collectors with all works of art estimated below one million naira," Arthouse stated. The 2019 edition of the Affordable Art auction, according to Arthouse, features 97 lots by some select "leading modern and contemporary artists." Bruce Onobrakpeya, David Dale, Kolade Oshinowo, Jacob Afolabi, Jimoh Buraimoh,  Twins Seven Seven, are among such artists grouped in the modern era. Also featuring are contemporary artists such as Abiodun Olaku, Alex Shyngle, Rom Isichei, Victor Ehikhamenor, Angela Isiuewe, Lemi Ghariokwu, Diseye Tantua, Victor Ekpuk, Dele Jegede, Tola Wewe, Jerry Buhari, Nike Okundaye, Duke Asidere and Ben Osaghae.

Still on the focus of expanding art appreciation beyond regular and traditional scope, the Affordable Art auction is also featuring works of "many rising artists." Such emerging names include Tyna Adebowale, Yadichinma Ukoha-Kalu, Johnson Uwadinma, Olufemi Oyewole, Yasser Claud-Ennin, Deborah Segun, John Madu, Dare Adenuga, Habeeb Andu and Femi Morakinyo. Some of the artists, the auction house said, "are participating for the first time."

Supported by Kia Motors, Le Connaisseur, Chocolat Royal, 7UP and The Guardian, the 2019 edition looks beyond the traditional visual culture of painting and sculpture. The Affordable Art 2019 has what the organisers described as "special focus on contemporary photography."  Collectible imageries by Leonce Raphael Agbdojelou, Kadara Enyeasi, Logo Oluwamuyiwa, Jenevieve Aken, Dandelion Eghosa, and Oladapo Ogunjobi are featuring in the photography section of the auction.

Last year, the results of the third Affordable Art auction of 107 lots was N26, 668,000 representing 62% of artworks on display. The top sales of the year were Isichei’s 'Vacancy of Stares', an oil on paper sold for N1,150,000; Gerald Chukwuma’s 'Akuko Ifo', a mixed media diptych, sold for N920,000; Ebong Ekwere’s wood sculpture, 'Dancing Torso', for N805,000, as well as Reuben Ugbine’s 'Meditation II' for N805,000. Other impressive sales then were Abayomi Barber’s 'Dream Man', a pastel on paper, as well as Ato Delaquis’ 'The Lagoon', an acrylic on canvas, also sold for N805,000 each.

One of the artworks for Affordable Art by Deborah Segun.

Since inception in 2008, Arthouse has been featuring charity lots. Again, the 2019 Affordable  continues with that tradition. "The auction will also feature charity lots to support the Arthouse Foundation, a non- profit artist-in-residency programme in Lagos, with artworks by Chibuike Uzoma, Nwachukwu Ike, Akande and George Edozie." Proceeds from the charity lots, Arthouse assured "will go directly to supporting the programmes of the Arthouse Foundation, which include its residencies, workshops, talks and exhibitions."

Emerged on the Nigerian art market in in 2007, Arthouse Contemporary prides itself as an international auction house that specialises in modern and contemporary art based in West Africa. Among its focus is creating awareness of the scope of contemporary art in the region, encouraging international recognition towards Aftica's talented artists and strengthen the economy of its art market.

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