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Get Ready for West Africa’s leading International Art Fair
Who will gather under the baobab tree?
Art Stuff 02 Nov 2022

…is the theme that ART X Lagos returns with this year. The Baobab is indigenous to most parts of Africa, Madagascar and Australia. They are about 200mio years old ( aka were around when the dinosaurs roamed) there is one in Zimbabwe dated at 2450 years old, the largest of its kind is nearly 20m high with a width of 60 square meters trunk ( think spacious NY apartment) and they contain vitamins, antioxidants, minerals and there are 300 known uses for their produce. So to gather under such a tree is linking past with present, and allowing the transfer of generational wisdom. For an art fair, this is an enchanting theme as with the age these trees reach, we also span the entire history of the city Lagos pronounced /ˈleɪɡɒs/, largest city in Nigeria, the second most populated city on the whole African continent (15.4 Mio inhabitants in the city proper), and the place where aforementioned ART X Lagos takes place.

Lagos is a major economic hub and cultural melting point, it has a longstanding tradition of art, music, literature and culture. We sat down with Saze Ibraheem, Head of Marketing of the Fair, now in its 7th edition, and she shared some highlights as well as insights into this amazing moment and platform the team has created.

Focusing on modern and contemporary artwork, ART X Lagos was founded in 2016 by Tokini Peterside-Schwebig, a Nigerian entrepreneur and by the way a total girl boss you should follow on Insta yesterday, herself a collector and patron of the arts.

In recent years the dynamic ART X Lagos fair, with a music festival ART X Live! happening at the same time, has proven that they are here to stay. West Africa’s premier art fair and the only one that happened on the African continent in 2021 is back for it’s seventh edition with even more exciting projects.

Learning from the Covid year 2020 when the fair had to take place online only, they have now created an incredible experience in person, while simultaneously showcasing African and Diaspora talent from all over the world, in a virtual fair on artsy.

The 2022 edition of ART X Lagos includes:

31 global galleries participating with 120 artists from 40 countries

Virtual and in-person talks with the likes of Victor Ehikhamenor, James Barnor (in Partnership with MoMA), as well as Once Upon a Garden: A virtual discourse on climate emergency with Linda Douina and Ranti Bam. More details for those that wish to dial in here.

Speaking of Linda Dounia, she is also one of Saze’s highlights of the fair. A participant in last year’s ART X Lagos’ NFT Project with SuperRare, she will present an entirely new work, Once Upon A Garden: A digital garden and Artificial Intelligence (AI) fusion creating a dystopian projection of a likely outcome of global warming.

Other special projects include Sowing Seeds In Hearthland by Ranti Bam: A performance in response to the fair’s theme Who Will Gather Under The Baobab Tree? And Ulin-nóifo, The Lineage That Never Ends by Victor Ehikhamenor: A large-scale installation incorporating rosary beads, bronzes and sound works.

Damilola Onosowobo Marcus Image by insta @onosowobo, All the girlies, Oil on Canvas

Young Artists to watch:
Damilola Onosowobo Marcus 
Nigerian, b. 1993
At Affinity Art Gallery

Austin Uzor
Nigerian, b. 1991
At Kanbi Projects


In line with its commitment to support early-career artists, it’s annual award for emerging artists the Access ART X Prize, has expanded globally and welcomes applications for artists from Nigeria, Africa and Diaspora until 6th November 2022, the final day of the ART X Lagos fair.

For the first time, two winners will be selected; one from Nigeria and one from Africa/the Diaspora who will receive funding, tailored mentorship and opportunities for cultural exchange.

The Nigerian winner will receive:
Three-month residency at Gasworks, in London UK
Exhibition at ART X Lagos
Supported by a $10,000 Grant

AND

The African / Diasporan winner will receive:
Three-month residency at Yinka Shonibare’s GAS Foundation in Lagos, Nigeria
Exhibition at ART X Lagos
Supported by a $10,000 Grant

To apply, emerging artists should please visit ARTXLAGOS.COM/PRIZE.

Austin Uzor, What’s a sunscreen to an unbeliever, 2022, oil on panel

Generally Saze said our theme, “Who will Gather Under the Baobab Tree?” encourages us to consider how organising, structuring, and governing societies had previously taken shape in Africa. What belief systems, ways of existing, thinking, being, and doing were there, and how have these evolved and mutated through time, into new spaces, and even in the same spaces? We are inviting a return to the source, as we navigate a planetary future. It is beyond time to look within.

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