ART X Lagos will return to The Federal Palace in Victoria Island, Lagos this November with a physical/digital hybrid event celebrating artistic excellence from Africa and its Diaspora across a range of media including painting, photography, sculpture, and more.
For its sixth edition – and its largest fair to-date – ART X Lagos will bring together 30 leading international galleries from 15 countries around the world to present work both online and in-person: Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, France, Germany, Ghana, Kenya, Martinique, Morocco, Nigeria, Sénégal, South Africa, Spain, Uganda, United Kingdom, and USA. Together, they will showcase 110 artists from over 30 countries, from Angola to Zimbabwe, Morocco to Martinique, and Egypt to South Africa. Of the 30 exhibitors, 15 join ART X Lagos for the first time.
Those visiting Lagos in person will be able to attend the fair from 4-7 November at The Federal Palace while international audiences will be able to view works online from 4-21 November on ARTXLAGOS.COM and Artsy.
Donald Wasswa from Circle Art Gallery
Donald Wasswa, Okolimongi II, 2020. Albizia, ebony and copper, 53 x 31 x 46cm. Courtesy of the artist and Circle Art Gallery.
Ugandan artist Donald Wasswa lives and works in Kampala. His work encourages conversations about the future of mankind looking at the influence of science and technology in modern societies. He studies the process of transformation with his primary focus on humans versus a given environment, social interactions and the nature of communication involved. Wasswa uses actual events to influence his research which relies on spontaneous encounters with natural or found objects. These objects are carriers of memories of places that he claims as art materials. The objects later suffer various forms of interference by carving, assembling and arranging, which result in Sculptures, 3D paintings, at times installations. Wasswa imagines the secret lives of man-made objects and how they determine the future of humans.
Hussein Salim from Eclectica Contemporary
Hussein Salim, Phoenix People 3, 2019. Acrylic on Fabriano, 100 x 69.5cm. Courtesy of the artist & Eclectica Contemporary.
Hussein Salim was born in Sudan. He has spent a number of years as a refugee in various countries including Egypt and South Africa. Returning to Sudan with his family he was inspired by its diversity and diasporic, multicultural communal structure. His work celebrates this through extensive layering of symbols, rich colours and vivid forms.
Following the example of graciousness, humility and resilience of the Sudanese people, Salim has worked closely with NGO’s such as African Angels and Buccaneers Outreach program, whom focus on the sustenance and uplifting of children and schools in marginalised communities with proceeds of his artwork sales being donated to various outreach schemes.
Marie-Claire Messouma Manlanbien from Galerie Cécile Fakhoury
Marie-Claire Messouma Manlanbien, MAP #91, 2021. Scrapers, aluminum, earth, plaster, raffia fiber, flax fiber, hair, copper, kita cotton, silicone, 150 x 90 cm. Courtesy of the artist and Galerie Cécile Fakhoury.
Marie-Claire Messouma Manlanbien was born in France and spent her childhood in Côte de Ivoire. In her work, she explores the links between traditional African practices, universalist thought and her own hybrid culture, as a French woman from the Ivory Coast, and more specifically from the Akan ethnic group in the south-east of the country. Marie-Claire Messouma is a creator of links, between cultures, countries, generations, and materials, mixing in her works the natural and the industrial, the precious and the common, thus sublimating the ordinary. The status of the artist’s works is plural, sometimes cartographies or protective totems, they also seem to take on the trappings of sacred relics, sheltering organic matter, horsehair or strands of hair, some of which are arranged in such a way as to evoke eyelashes, and therefore a look, a presence.
Manlabien’s maps are symbols, in the true sense of the word, of the representation of what cannot be seen. If the object they embody is fluid, the presence of the body inhabits these works, beyond any figuration. The materiality of the raffia, the presence of the hair, the matt surface of the clay heads, the shine of the aluminium, all appeal to the senses, to the desire to touch, to decipher the work, to discover its hidden meaning.
Soly Cissé from Galerie Mam
© Soly Cissé. Courtesy of the artist and Galerie Mam.
Senegalese artist Cissé’s is profoundly inspired by and contextualized through his upbringing. He grew up during an epoch of transition, following Senegal’s period of social and political unrest, where art served as mode of social activism and self-expression for the disenfranchised persons. His work, like a portal where the imagined and physical realms convene, intuitively explores notions of duality and repetition; tradition and modernity, the spiritual and the secular.
“I think and reflect a lot about humans and their relationships. Relationships between humans, the confrontation between humans and nature, humans and religion and then I challenge myself and experiment.”
Cissé’s spontaneous painterly movements, textured accents and neo-expressionistic techniques form depictions reflective of the dissolution of society’s moral thresholds, shifts attributable to globalization and modernization. Shapeless human characters distort into anthropomorphic shadows of the other-self; identities lost in translation from the past to the contemporary and abstract lines and bold strokes of contrasting hues intersect, creating a layered configuration of Cissé’s mythical visions.
Justin Ebanda from Galerie Carole Kvasnevski
Justin Ebanda, Stairing@memory.cm, 2021. Acrylic on canvas, 144 x 120cm. Courtesy of the artist and Galerie Carole Kvasnevski.
Cameroonian artist, Justin Ebanda lives and works between Yaoundé, Douala and Paris. His artistic approach draws inspiration through the questioning of collective memory. Ebanda makes memory the matrix of his artistic work, of history in general and that of Africa in particular. He portrays the African collective memory through the depiction of faceless actors and events and gives the viewer the opportunity to witnesses and talk about their lived experience. By inviting people to take a trip down memory lane, in search of lost time, he offers young people the opportunity to dream.
Dominique Zinkpè from LouiSimone Guirandou Gallery
Dominique Zinkpè , Petit bonheur 7, 2021. Mixed media on canvas, 35 × 30cm. Courtesy of the artist and LouiSimone Guirandou Gallery.
Dominique Zinkpè lives and works in Cotonou, Benin. His paintings have a very distinctive and instantly recognisable style, with bright colours, bold lines, human forms, and a whirl of action on the canvas. His work is influenced by Benin’s rich history and his immediate African surroundings. He uses a mixture of oil, acrylics and found objects on his canvas and leaves large areas of empty space. Zinkpè is a man possessed. Possessed by his art, ideas, and beliefs. His art is a fluent mix of stylistic influences from just about every area, a product of Benin’s history. His ideas are expressed through motifs that neatly trace the various powers that fought for control of the continent – both religious and political. His beliefs are the solid footing for his art, which is a pragmatic medium for the transmission of his message.
Eddy Kamuanga Ilunga from October Gallery
Eddy Kamuanga Ilunga, Contrecarrer 1897, 2021. Oil and acrylic on canvas, 200 x 200cm. Courtesy of the artist and October Gallery.
Eddy Kamuanga Ilunga hails from the Democratic Republic of Congo. His large-scale figurative compositions possess a depth of historical understanding, with a striking and sophisticated interplay of the intensity of space juxtaposed with emptiness. The listless figures seem to mourn the loss of their traditional cultures, their bright fabrics hanging limply from their bodies, their hands clutching ritual objects whose functions seem less and less apparent. Kamuanga uses the history of the Kongo Kingdom to reveal the legacy of its leaders and examines the impact this has had on contemporary Congolese society. His works feature objects such as porcelain used by early Portuguese traders as well as pottery, such as Toby jugs, which later entered the trade routes in the Kongo Kingdom for the trade of slaves. His work pays tribute to the slaves and ancestors who resisted this human trafficking by presenting a vision of the socio-political landscape of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Evans Mbugua from OOA Gallery
Evans Mbugua, series Flower Power, Coeur des Fleurs Généreux, 2021. Handmade oil painting on plexiglass, 110 x 90cm. Courtesy of the artist and OOA Gallery.
Born in Nairobi, Kenya Evans Mbugua now lives and works in Paris. In the series “Flower Power” Mbugua paints portraits on plexiglass carrying cut flowers in a crown or bouquet.
“Flower Power” is the latest series by Evans Mbugua. His hand-painted portraits on plexiglass carry cut flowers in a crown or bouquet. These works seem to present themselves as offerings. The flower is a message, flowers are offered at key moments in life. It symbolises a union, a link between two people, by extension peace. By choosing the title “Flower Power”, the artist refers to a specific period of the 60’s. During the protests in the US against the war in Vietnam, the flower was used by pacifist demonstrators as a symbol of a non-violent ideology. The flower also symbolises fragility, the ephemeral side of life. It blooms then fades to a seasonal rhythm. By observing this perpetual cycle, he questions the life cycle of plants and by extension that of the human. “I integrated the flowers in my work in order to question our relationship with time.” The artist continues his quest for hope and poses a parallel to this perpetual floral rebirth and human resilience: “We get up, we continue”.
Johnson Eziefula from SMO Contemporary Art
Johnson Eziefula, BANKE & THE PORTAL, 2021. Mixed media on canvas, 40 x 34 inches. Courtesy of the artist and SMO Contemporary Art.
Nigerian artist Eziefula Johnson Jnr is a self-taught mixed media artist practicing art under the movement known as Contemporealism. Johnson specialises in drawing and painting; exploring the medium of charcoal, acrylic, pastel and fabric on paper and canvas. He focuses on Cultural Hybridity, Blackness, pop-culture, Identity, Personality and Human Psychology (although his scope of discussions are not limited to these subject matters) and aims to depict his observations, personal encounters, curiosities and his person, through the combination of colour, shapes, portraiture & symbolism.
Norman O’Flynn from WORLDART
Norman O’Flynn, Timekeeper 154 beyond fear, 2021. Acrylic paint on plexiglass, 150 x 100cm. Courtesy of the artist and WORLDART.
Norman O’Flynn lives and works in Cape Town, South Africa. His work questions the state of humanity, poking fun at himself and others that catch his gaze. And herein lies the key to O’Flynn’s work: a series of stimulus is presented as harmless, almost childlike stories, but hidden beneath this are much bigger questions regarding the state of humanity. Do we have the ability to change? Can the power struggles within our relationships change, and to what extent are we willing to initiate these changes. Over the years his unique visual language has become easily recognised, comic book heroes, demi-gods, triumphant ballet dancers, space age fertility figures and polka dot oxen are some of the symbols that O’Flynn employs to reflect his satirical gaze on the contemporary.
The sixth edition of ART X Lagos in 2021 will be a hybrid offering, with a physical fair from 4–7 November and a parallel online fair extending from 4-21 November 2021. The fair will deliver an expanded program that will include the presentation of 30 of Africa and the diaspora’s leading galleries, a talks program, and specially curated projects both in person and at the online fair. Visit ARTXLAGOS.COM for more.