Sunday 10 March 2019

Against odds, fourth Affordable Art Auction boosts market prospect

 'Strength of Purpose, oil on board, by Rom Ischei.

Despite the unfriendly economic environment of the first quarter of an election year, Affordable Art Auction 2019 recorded a slight increase in sales.

Hurriedly rescheduled to avoid being held on the new date of last general elections, Arthouse Contemporary's Affordable Art Auction, according to the results released by the organisers, recorded "a total of NGN 27,047,750 million from 97 lots" on sale. Last year's edition had 107 lots on sale and recorded N26, 668,000 million.

Stressing that The Affordable Art Auction aims to engage new collectors with all works of art estimated below one million naira, the auction house noted that as the sister edition to the May and November auctions, the Affordable Art Auction featured artworks that were scaled to accessible prices.

For the last sales held few days before the rescheduled elections, the two top sales of the evening were Rom Ischei’s 'Strength of Purpose I and II, oil on boards, sold for NGN 1,150,000 and NGN 1,116,250. Other sales of the night included Pita Ohiwerei’s No Woman No Cry, an oil on canvas dated 1999, and sold for NGN 1,057,500; Bunmi Batatunde’s bronze sculpture, Possibilities, sold for 1,034,000; and Twins Seven Seven’s The Great Fisherman, a mixed media on board from 2001, sold for NGN 998,750.

Ahead of the auction, artworks by artists such as Bruce Onobrakpeya, David Dale, Kolade Oshinowo, Jacob Afolabi, Jimoh Buraimoh, among others were announced to feature in the sales. While quite some of the artists made impressive sales within the affordable context, mid-career artists too had good outing.
Also, it was stated that the 2019 edition featured charity lots by A. Akande, George Edozie, Nwachukwu Ike and Chibuike Uzoma, in support of the Arthouse Foundation, the non-profit artist residency programme in Lagos. The  charity lots, it was disclosed, raised "a total of NGN 1,280,000." The proceeds from the charity lots, it was assured, "will go directly to supporting the programmes of the Arthouse Foundation, including its residencies, workshops, talks and public events."

 Supported by Kia Motors, Le Connaisseur, Chocolat Royal, 7UP and The Guardian, the 2019 edition opened with a preview themed 'Art Night Out'. Scheduled to include music and performances, it was aimed at atracting new art collectors.

For its third edition last year, Affordable Art auction sales represented 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.
 Debuted in 2016, Affordable Art recorded a total of N31, 050, 000 million naira ($155,250) during the maiden auction.

When Arthouse debuted on the Nigerian art market  in 2007, it was built on being an international auction house that specialises in modern and contemporary art based in West Africa.

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