Wednesday 18 October 2023

8th ART X Lagos returns with 'The Dialogue’

'Christian Van Moolhop (oil on canvas, dated 2022) by Joy Labinjo. 

ART X Lagos, the leading international art fair in West Africa, returns for its eighth edition, from 2-5 November 2023 at The Federal Palace, Victoria Island, Lagos, with a compelling multi-disciplinary programme themed 'The Dialogue’.

A wide-ranging fair programme themed ‘The Dialogue’ features special exhibitions, the return of ART X Live! and ART X Talks, and the debut of a new section, ART X Cinema.  

The VIP Preview will be held on Friday, November 3rd. The fair will be open to the public on Saturday, November 4th and Sunday, November 5th, 2023, while virtual audiences can also engage with the fair on Artsy.  

The fair’s theme will propel audiences to take the time and find the space for dialogue, to share and inspire one another through art, against a backdrop of challenges being experienced in Nigeria, with political and socio-economic difficulties across Africa and further afield. 

The Dialogue will explore the ways storytelling can help us to see ourselves in renewed ways, while welcoming us to think presently in, and about the world and our place in it. Joining the conversation will be a tightly curated selection of ten invited gallery exhibitors, each of whom is contributing to the visual arts ecosystem across Africa and the Diaspora in a unique way. This special experience will forge deep connections between gallerists, artists collectors and fairgoers, enabling exhibiting gallerists and artists to live out their role as important voices in the ongoing writing of narratives.

The special exhibitions at ART X Lagos include 'Writing With...' curated by Missla Libsekal, featuring the work of renowned sculptor and printmaker Bruce Onobrakpeya, a founding figure of modern art in Nigeria. 'Graphic Stories', a retrospective of illustrations in Nigerian mass media from the 1940s to 80s. Exhibitions by guest curators will feature a special installation by MOWAA (the Museum of West African Art, Edo), inviting the audience to interact with themes ahead of the Nigeria Pavilion at the Venice Biennale 2024. Other exhibitions include 'Passing / Building / Victory' by Dennis Osadebe, and 'The Hands That Remain' by Papa Omotayo and Max Kalaiwo.

ART X Cinema, a new programme for 2023, will premiere with a screening program of artists' films and documentaries, inspired by African filmmaker Ousmane Sembène. The program will feature artists like Binelde Hyrcan, Onyeka Igwe, Ibrahim Mahama, Betelhem Makonnen, Zen Marie, Fatimah Tuggar and more.

Further enriching the conversation at ART X Lagos, the fair’s lively discussion series ART X Talks will feature a roster of speakers anchored by Bruce Onobrakpeya and Ibrahim Mahama, the artist and founder of The Savannah Centre for Contemporary Art (Tamale, Ghana), who will speak to the ideas and ethics that ground his work. 

ART X Live!, the fair’s one-of-a-kind live music and art experience, returns in 2023, featuring the multi-hyphenate musicians Tay Iwar and Azekel in a night of exceptional musical storytelling, curated by Lanre Masha and Ayo Lawson.

"2023 has brought with it an exacerbation of the challenges experienced in recent years across Nigeria and Africa, and in this pivotal year, we recognise that ART X Lagos’ evolving role as a gathering place for our community, is all the more crucial" Tokini Peterside-Schwebig, Founder & CEO of ART X Collective said. "Our vision for the fair this year, presented through ‘The Dialogue’, will feature artists, both past and present, whose story forms based on folklore and tales by moonlight, graphic stories, film shorts and essays, produce nuanced portrayals of real and imagined places and people, and respond to, and subsequently navigate through, socio-political circumstances in Nigerian, pan-African and Diasporan histories." 

Excerpt from Peterside-Schwebig;  "It will see us placing an emphasis on conversations, and providing a space in which we can learn together, question together, and be inspired to contribute to shaping the society we desire for ourselves and for future generations. As we probe deeper this year, and as we have done in recent years, we are pushing further the boundaries of the ‘art fair’, challenging and testing the notion of what an art fair can be, and orchestrating its evolution and adaptation to the uniqueness of a city like Lagos and its contexts.” 

Galleries for ART X Lagos include Afriart Gallery (Uganda), Alexis Galleries (Nigeria), Galerie MAM (Cameroon), Gallery 1957 (Ghana), kó art space (Nigeria), Nike Art Gallery (Nigeria), O'DA Art Gallery (Nigeria), SMO Contemporary Art (Nigeria), Tiwani Contemporary (UK/ Nigeria) and Wunika Mukan Gallery (Nigeria).

The 2023 fair will also see the return of ART X Lagos’ developmental platforms, designed to foster connection, encourage exchange, and celebrate the vibrancy of African artistry. Art Across Borders, a collaboration with Afreximbank, will present its third volume, bringing together six artists from diverse corners of Africa and the Caribbean, representing the innovative spirit that defines contemporary art by individuals of African descent. The Development Forum, which bridges the gap between emerging art practitioners and the art industry through informal conversations, will delve into the various paths open to emerging artists and curators to build and advance their careers within the industry. 

The largest of these platforms, The Access ART X Prize,  a prestigious award for early-career artists in Africa and its Diaspora, will present a duo exhibition curated by Jumoke Sanwo featuring 2022 winners Dafe Oboro and Belinda Kazeem-Kamiński. The 2023 edition is still open for entries until October 18th, with a jury including Babajide Adeniyi-Jones, Barthélémy Toguo, Daudi Karungi, Gabi Ngcobo, Emeka Ogboh, and Yesomi Umolu. The winners will undergo a residency at Gasworks London (for the Nigerian Prizewinner) or GAS Foundation Lagos (for the Africa/Diaspora Prizewinner) and be awarded exhibitions at the ART X Lagos fair in 2024, supported by grants of $10,000 each for their exhibitions.

Translucent S.I. Media management agency for artists and art galleries

Also read: Preserving heritage of unwilling Lagos

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