West Africa’s largest premier art fair, Art X Lagos is breaking its tradition in more ways than one this year. First, the fair for this season is set to be an all-virtual experience for its large audience instead of the usual art pilgrimage at its physical venue, Federal Palace Hotel, Lagos. Secondly, it would run from December 2 to 9 with a huge parade of galleries, artists and other creatives to relive the spirit of shared humanity.
Originally scheduled for November 6 to 15, the fair has been stalled by the EndSARS protests and the state of unrest that ensued afterwards. Organised by ART X Collective, with Access Bank has its lead sponsor, the fair excludes the Art X Prize with Access segment as the raging pandemic had interfered with the art calendar in general this year. Still, the fair promises to be lively as it features interactive pieces that make navigating online a delight.
The Founder and CEO, ART X Collective, Ms.Tokini Peterside spoke on why the fair is important even at this crucial time in global history.
“Although we have taken the decision to postpone this year’s fair for a few weeks, our dedication to championing the excellence, creativity and resilience of artists from Africa and the Diaspora remains unchanged,” she explained. “2020 has been a year of awakening – from the turmoil of the #EndSARS protests sweeping across Nigeria, the ongoing pandemic being experienced around the world, and the global reckoning with centuries of inequality and violence against black bodies.”
ART X Collective is an organisation run by young people hence it is no surprise that many participating artists would be sourced from the photographers and filmmakers who had documented the socio-political climate of this period.
“We will work to amplify their voices in the coming weeks, and champion the art and creativity that can contribute tangibly to the movement for a New Nigeria,” she continued. “We share a vision for Nigeria’s future in which everyone can realise their fullest potential, and remain committed to providing platforms for expression, upliftment and inspiration. We look forward to staging our fifth edition fair and creating a space where we can come together to contemplate society’s shared demands and expectations for tomorrow, and to meditate on new ideas for how our global community might move forward as one.”
On what motivated her to tap into her inner resilience to ensure that the Art X 2020 takes place despite all odds, Peterside revealed that it is a combination of many factors.
“This year has tested the very essence of our humanity, and has brought upheaval to us all, with unique challenges to artists and entrepreneurs in the culture sector. The 5th Edition of ART X Lagos will be the culmination of creativity, grit and purpose, in spite of adversity. Our previous editions have shown ourselves, and the world, what is possible within the African imagination, when we come together, united by our passion and enthusiasm for our continent’s creators. Our belief remains, that the future is bright for Africa and its creative talent, and we are thankful to our community for joining us to make this a reality.”
ART X Collective’s flagship platform, ART X Lagos, has become a firm cornerstone of the African art calendar. Since its debut in 2016, the art fair (which is the first of its kind in West Africa) has welcomed more than 30,000 visitors, including international and regional art collectors, patrons of the arts, scholars, critics and more. The fair has also hosted delegations from leading global art institutions who have experienced the cutting edge of African contemporary and modern art at ART X Lagos – these attendees and the satellite exhibitions that have emerged in response to the fair, are undoubtedly indicators of Lagos’ position as a fast-emerging and exciting cultural hub. ART X Collective also includes an advisory arm which since its founding in 2012 has developed businesses and projects in the culture and luxury sector.