ART X Lagos

ART X Lagos is an art fair in Lagos, Nigeria. It is the first international art fair in West Africa,[1][2][3][4] founded and launched in 2016,[5][6] and four editions have been held so far.[7][8] The fifth edition was held from 2nd – 9th December 2020 and saw a transition to an online only art fair on ARTXLAGOS.COM that hosted a vast local and international audience from 101 countries. It had been postponed from its usual first weekend of November schedule in solidarity with the #EndSARS protests that rocked Nigeria in October 2020.[9]

Founding and character

ART X Lagos was created in 2016 by Tokini Peterside, a Nigerian entrepreneur, to showcase and support the breadth of contemporary art from Africa and its diaspora. [10][6][11] It draws local patrons and a host of international collectors, curators, and critics annually.

ART X Lagos is usually a three-day affair, featuring art galleries in Africa and the Diaspora showcasing established as well as emerging artists. The fair also includes a Talks Program, ART X Talks, featuring local and international speakers, as well as interactive projects to engage its varied audiences, and live art and music performances.[12][13][14][15]

In 2020, ART X Lagos was an online only art fair necessitated by the global pandemic and political climate in Nigeria in 2020.[16]

First edition

The first edition of ART X Lagos was held from 4 to 6 November 2016. It showcased contemporary art by over 60 established and emerging artists from 10 countries in Africa, including Nigeria, South Africa, Ghana and Mali[17] and was artistically directed by Bisi Silva. The debut fair welcomed 5,000 visitors from around Nigeria and the world.[18]

Notable artists who exhibited at the first edition include William Kentridge, Barthelemy Togou, Sokari Douglas-Camp, Ghana Amer, Victor Ehikhamenor, Gerald Chukwuma, Amadou Sanogo, Owusu Ankomah, Jeremiah Quarshie, and Obiageli Okigbo.[14] Speakers at ART X Talks included El Anatsui, Bruce Onobrakpeya, Mark Coetzee, and Zoe Whitley.

Second edition

The second edition was held from 3 to 5 November 2017 and welcomed over 9,000 visitors to see the works of artists from over 15 countries across Africa.[13]

The fair featured galleries from Nigeria, South Africa, Ghana, Senegal, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Mali and the United Kingdom. Notable artists included Yinka Shonibare (MBE), Zanele Muholi, Modupeola Fadugba, Nandipha Mntambo, Virginia Chihota, Boris Nzebo, Babatunde Olatunji, Pamela Phatsimo Sunstrum, Portia Zvavahera and Lakin Ogunbanwo.[18]

The fair also included special project exhibitions by solo artists, curated by Missla Libsekal, notable among which was an exhibition of seven life-sized wooden sculptures by Nigeria’s pioneer modernist Ben Enwonwu, to commemorate his centenary. Speakers at Art X Talks included Njideka Akunyili Crosby, Lemi Ghariokwu, Peju Alatise, Stacy Hardy and Wura-Natasha Ogunji.

Third Edition

The third edition was held from 2 to 4 November 2018, once again welcoming visitors from across the globe, with works showcased from 18 countries. For the first time, the fair featured East African artists and exhibitors, from countries such as Kenya, Uganda, and Ethiopia.

A key highlight of the 2018 fair was a special exhibition by Yinka Shonibare CBE, exploring his career highlights, curated by Missla Libeskal. Ben Enwonwu’s masterpiece ‘Tutu’ (1974),[19] the highest selling African artwork at auction, was also exhibited at the fair, its first public showcase in Lagos in over 40 years.

Other notable artists included Cyrus Kabiru, Sokari Douglas Camp CBE, Zanele Muholi, Paul Onditi, Victor Butler, Nike Davies-Okundaye, Tadesse Mesfin, and Aboudia.

Speakers at ART X Talks, included Yinka Shonibare CBE, Chika Okeke-Agulu, Aboubakar Fofana, Peju Layiwola, HRM Igwe Nnaemeka Alfred Achebe, and Meskerem Assegued.

Fourth Edition

The fourth edition was held from 1 to 3 November 2019, and welcomed visitors from across the world, with over 90 artists exhibited from 25 countries.[20] The 2019 edition saw the introduction of ART X Modern, a section of the fair dedicated to pioneers of African modern art from the mid-20th century, as well as a Performance Pavilion, featuring three performance works over the weekend.

A key highlight of the 2019 fair was ART X Talks which featured a keynote talk from Wangechi Mutu. Other notable speakers included Emeka Ogboh, N’Goné Fall, Kathyrn Weir, Joel Benson, Reni Folawiyo, and Tayo Ogunbiyi.

Additional exhibiting artists included Yusuf Grillo, Ablade Glover, Joy Labinjo, Sam Nhlengethwa, Nelson Makamo, Titza Berhanu, Jems Koko Bi, Demas Nwoko, Lady Skollie, and Uche Okeke were among the notable artists exhibited in this edition.

The fair featured a range of curated projects featuring the work of Emeka Ogboh, curated by Tayo Ogunbiyi, as well as three performance art works. The latter was curated by Wura-Natasha Ogungi.

Fifth Edition

The fifth edition held from 2 to 9 December 2020, welcoming guests from 101 countries to a showcase of over 200 artworks from 44 artists represented by 10 of the leading galleries in Africa and the Diaspora. It was an online only art fair on the relaunched ARTXLAGOS.COM and was bolstered by an extensive virtual program of 13 events.

The 2020 edition saw the presentation of New Nigeria Studios[21], an online exhibition that showcased the stories of select photographers, filmmakers and protesters who took to the streets of Nigeria in October 2020, as well as ART X Review - The Wrap Up with Njideka Akunyili Crosby, a masterclass for emerging artists discussing the growth, place and potential of the artist in today’s world, which was the cumulation of the first year of the ART X Review program.

A key highlight of the 2020 fair was ART X Talks which featured critically acclaimed artist Hank Willis Thomas and Opal Tometi, co-founder of Black Lives Matter. Other notable speakers included  Folarin ‘Falz’ Falana, Lola Ogunnaike, Freda Isingoma, Lemi Ghariokwu, Yagazie Emezi and Kelechi Amadi-Obi.[22]

The exhibiting artists included Ouattara Watts, Ben Osawe, François-Xavier Gbré, Ablade Glover, Nike Okundaye Davies, Boris Nzebo, Aboudia, Abe Odedina, Angele Etoundi Essamba, Olu Ajayi, Wole Lagunju and Tiffanie Delune.

The fair’s program also featured ART X Live! Presents ‘Like Someone’s Watching”, the special project Graveyard of Ideas, as well as “40 Minutes with…”.

The Access Bank ART X Prize

The ART X Prize was launched by ART X Lagos, in partnership with Access Bank, to contribute to the continued growth of the visual art sector in Nigeria.

The 2016 and 2017 editions of the prize centered on young artists, and were won by Patrick Akpojotor and Habeeb Andu.[23][24]

In 2018 the prize evolved to bolster the efforts of emerging artists who have demonstrated a commitment to careers as professional visual artists. Bolatito Aderemi-Ibitola, a multi-disciplinary artist, emerged as the winner, receiving a cash grant towards the execution of a compelling project and a solo presentation at the 2018 edition of ART X Lagos, as well as a three month residency at Gas Works in London in 2019.

In 2019, the Prize was renamed as the Access Bank ART X Prize. It was won by self-taught documentary photographer Etinosa Yvonne.[25]

ART X Live!

ART X Live! is an immersive, one-of-a-kind showcase that holds during the ART X Lagos art fair each year, featuring exciting collaborations between some of the fastest-rising talents on the African continent. ART X Live! alumni include Falana, WurlD, Lady Donli, Amaarae, TMXO, Odunsi the Engine, Wavy the Creator, and Teni the Entertainer and visual artists Dafe Oboro, Joy Matashi, Williams Chechet, Dricky, Tunde Alara, Osaze Amadasun, Tomisin Akins, and Fadekemi Ogunsanya.

For its first virtual edition in 2020, necessitated by the global pandemic and political climate in Nigeria, ART X Live! premiered 'Like Someone's Watching', a short performance film starring musicians Oxlade and Tomi Owó, visual artist King Jesse Uranta, and DJ Camron that weaves together music video performances, interviews, digital artwork and a DJ set, probing both the burden and the privilege of creating as an artist.[26]

The soundtrack of the film includes music by Oxlade and Tomi Owo and a set created by DJ Camron of revolutionary, activist-inspired music, that spanned decades and continents.[27]

ART X Live! is a platform for expression and experimentation by Africa’s dynamic young creators, fusing live music and visual art, launched in 2016 by ART X Collective - the creators of ART X Lagos, West Africa’s premier international art fair.


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  2. ^ "This Art Fair Is Basically The Frieze of West Africa". Harper's BAZAAR Arabia. Retrieved 2019-03-08.
  3. ^ "'The Idea Here Is to Go Big': Galleries at the Art X Lagos Fair Work to Cultivate Africa's Largest Economy". artnet News. 2019-11-05. Retrieved 2020-01-09.
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  6. ^ a b "Subscribe to read". Financial Times. Retrieved 2018-03-29. Cite uses generic title
  7. ^ Mitter, Siddhartha (2019-02-08). "Lagos, City of Hustle, Builds an Art 'Ecosystem'". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-03-08.
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  9. ^ "Art X Lagos Fair Has Been Postponed in Solidarity With Protesters Fighting Against Police Brutality in Nigeria". artnet News. 2020-10-27. Retrieved 2020-12-19.
  10. ^ "CNN's African Voices meets Tokini Peterside, the founder of West Africa's first International Art Fair". My FrontPager. Retrieved 2018-01-16.
  11. ^ The powerhouse behind Art X Lagos - CNN Video, retrieved 2018-03-29
  12. ^ "Art X Lagos is a catalyst for West African art - Vanguard News". Vanguard News. 2017-10-31. Retrieved 2018-01-16.
  13. ^ a b Editor, Online (2017-11-10). "For Art X the Future of Art in Africa is Stunning". THISDAYLIVE. Retrieved 2018-01-16.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  14. ^ a b "ART X Lagos redefines African art". CNN Style. 2016-11-04. Retrieved 2018-01-16.
  15. ^ Chutel, Lynsey. "Art fairs may be nearing peak globally but in Africa they're just getting started". Quartz. Retrieved 2018-01-16.
  16. ^ "ART X Lagos Responds to #EndSARS". 2020-12-19. Retrieved 2020-12-19.
  17. ^ Editor, Online (2017-08-13). "Art X to Showcase Africa's Leading Art Masters". THISDAYLIVE. Retrieved 2018-01-16.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  18. ^ a b "ART X Lagos returns with bigger and bolder ambitions - Ventures Africa". Ventures Africa. 2017-09-27. Retrieved 2018-01-16.
  19. ^ Gbadamosi, Nosmot (2018-11-05). "$1.6 million painting first public display, and other highlights from ART X Lagos". CNN Style. Retrieved 2019-03-08.
  20. ^ "Art X Lagos returns in November 2019". Vanguard News. 2019-07-30. Retrieved 2019-10-29.
  21. ^ CNN, Adenike Olanrewaju. "In the wake of tumultuous #EndSARS demonstrations, Nigerian photographers tell a story of strength and hope". CNN. Retrieved 2021-01-18.
  22. ^ "ART X Talks 2020 - YouTube". Retrieved 2020-12-19.
  23. ^ "ART X LAGOS unveils galleries, artists for 2017 annual fair - Vanguard News". Vanguard News. 2017-10-03. Retrieved 2018-05-13.
  24. ^ "Art X Lagos returns with second edition, features 60 artists from 14 countries". Retrieved 2018-05-13.
  25. ^ "Etinosa Yvonne wins 2019 Art X prize". The Guardian Nigeria News - Nigeria and World News. 2019-09-21. Retrieved 2020-12-19.
  26. ^ "'Like Someone's Watching': A must see for 2020". Voice Online. 2020-12-11. Retrieved 2020-12-19.
  27. ^ "Like Someone's Watching by ART X Live!". Apple Music. Retrieved 2020-12-19.

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