Yinka Olatunbosun

It is no longer news that the 2018 edition of the ART X Prize with Access has ended with a winner emerging. Bolatito Aderemi-Ibitola won this year’s prize with her experimental work on June 27, edging out two other finalists, Ayo Akinwande and Williams Chechet. Akinwande is a trained architect, a multi-disciplinary artist and the co-curator of the Lagos Biennial. Chechet is a visual artist from the Zaria school, with a portfolio of international exhibitions in Brooklyn, Brussels and Marrakesh. The coveted prize, an initiative of Access Bank and ART X Lagos, was created to recognise and support the best of Nigeria’s emerging talents in visual arts. The selection process was keenly executed by the formidable five-man jury made up of Professor Bruce Onobrakpeya, Yinka Shonibare MBE, Wura Natasha Ogunji, Oliver Enwonwu and Sokari Douglas-Camp.

ART X has been West Africa’s foremost art fair with over ten thousand visitors reported at the three-day international art fair held annually at Civic Centre, Lagos. The winner of the Art X prize develops the winning creative art idea – a video art with some fabric display – which will be given a prominent solo exhibition stand at ART X Lagos later this year, November 2 to 4.

Bolatito, who holds a Masters’ degree in performance studies at Tisch School of Performing Arts, NYU, was presented with the dummy cheque of N1m at the recent announcement of the winner of the year’s Art X Prize with journalists swarming around her to share the joyful moment. From drawing to painting and sculptures, Bolatito had always been a creative person. When she was introduced to video work, she fell in love with the colour and the movement. She was very elated at winning the prize especially with a newly found technique that she has become very good at.

“I’m excited, happy and I am so thankful. The prize is so amazing for us emerging artists because it enables us to do what we ordinarily wont do. I work with performance medium and the work I proposed for ART X Lagos is an interactive display that can be projected on screen while people move around and interact with it. The screen will respond to them. It’s a beautiful dance. It is quite an undertaking and the screen I propose to use is large. As at now, it is about 15 feet, depending on how the project develops.

“I was inspired by my mother’s clothes and the clothes she would make for me. It made me want to be a creative. It would shape the way I look at the world. I never would have thought that I would win this. This is going to be a great stepping stone,” said Bolatito
The Founder and Director of ART X, Tokini Peterside, also spoke glowingly of the prize, its objective and the winner, describing the winning work as an “ambitious project’’.

“The project will introduce Bolatito to our international audience of critics, collectors and curators from renowned institutions around the world,” she said. In the same vein, Herbert Wigwe, the CEO and Group Managing Director, Access Bank PLC, remarked that the project is part of the bank’s CSR initiatives to celebrate the ingenuity of Nigeria’s emerging art talent.

“I can see the recipient of the ART X Prize with Access being the next great artist of our time, endowing us with the potential and the privilege to shape the most relevant art that will come out of the African continent,’’ he said.

Through its contribution to the increased visibility of African Artists, ART X Lagos, aims to reinforce the visual arts as an important component of the creative industry in Nigeria and Africa, making Lagos a cultural destination on the global map.