Art
Photo courtesy of ART X Lagos.

West Africa's premier international art fair returns this November.

ART X Lagos returns to The Civic Center in Victoria Island to showcase the best and most innovative contemporary art from the African continent and diaspora in its third year.

From Nov. 2 to Nov. 4, West Africa's premier international art fair will host 18 international galleries including Art House – The Space (Nigeria), Addis Fine Art (Ethiopia), Circle Art Agency (Kenya), Stevenson Gallery (South Africa), Gallery 1957 (Ghana), Tafeta (United Kingdom), Tiwani Contemporary (United Kingdom), Nike Art Gallery (Nigeria), and Out of Africa Gallery (Spain) and more.

READ: Here's What Went Down at ART X Lagos 2019

ART X Lagos will welcome artists hailing from East Africa for the first time, featuring Paul Onditi and Cyrus Kabiru from Kenya, in an effort to widen Nigeria's connection to the contemporary African art world. The fair is also welcoming Yinka Shonibare MBE as its 2018 keynote artist. He'll be celebrated with an exhibition that digs into his career highlights.


Tilbug Sun (2017) by Cyrus Kabiru. Photo courtesy of ART X Lagos.

Other programs to look out for this year include ART X Talks, Interactive Projects and ART X Live. Curated by Missla Libsekal, the ART X Talks series will feature engaging discussions from key stakeholders in Africa's art economy.

Curated by A Whitespace Agency, the fair will feature experimental platforms that explore ideas influenced by the exhilarating essence of Lagos—including Mad Horse City, a virtual reality installation from artists Olalekan Jeyifous and Wale Lawal.

ART X Live is a returning live art and music performance program that is curated by Lanre Masha with Odunsi the Engine as creative director. It's due to feature some of Africa's most talented rising artists, such as Teni the Entertainer, Ghanaian artist Amaare and BOJ. "The theme this year invites guests to indulge in an electric exploration of Africa's rich musical history with a celebration of our heroes past—the icons, legends and sounds that have shaped the continent's contemporary musical landscape," the fair explains.

Untitled (2018) by Joy Labinjo. Photo courtesy of ART X Lagos.

Since its launch in 2016, the fair has hosted 15,000 attendees and some of Africa's most sought-after established and emerging artists.

"We are validated in our decision to develop this vital platform for the growth and increased visibility of African artists and galleries," Tokini Peterside, founder and director of ART X Lagos, says in a press release. "We look forward to welcoming a vast and varied, local and international audience as we seek to reinforce Lagos' position as an emergent cultural capital on our continent."

ART X Lagos was created to widen Nigeria's connection to the contemporary art scene across Africa and the world. The three-day affair will run from Friday, Nov. 2 through Sunday, Nov. 4 at The Civic Centre in Victoria Island, Lagos.

Check out ART X Lagos' website for more information, and be sure to keep up with them on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

ART X Lagos Is Set to Celebrate the Best In Contemporary African Art In Its Third Year

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Installation view of Sahel: Art and Empires on the Shores of the Sahara © The Metropolitan Museum of Art 2020, photography by Anna-Marie Kellen.

The Met's New Exhibition Celebrates the Rich Artistic History of the Sahel Region

'Sahel: Art and Empires on the Shores of the Sahara' is an enxtensive look into the artistic past of the West African region.

West Africa's Sahel region has a long and rich history of artistic expression. In fact, pieces from the area, which spans present-day Senegal, Mali, Mauritania, and Niger, date all the way back to the first millennium. Sahel: Art and Empires on the Shores of the Sahara, a new exhibition showing at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, dives into this history to share an expansive introduction to those who might be unfamiliar with the Sahel's artistic traditions.

"The Western Sahel has always been a part of the history of African art that has been especially rich, and one of the things that I wanted to do with this exhibition, that hasn't done before, is show one of the works of visual art...and present them within the framework of the great states that historians have written about that developed in this region," curator Alisa LaGamma tells Okayafrica. She worked with an extensive team of researchers and curators from across the globe, including Yaëlle Biro, to bring the collection of over 200 pieces to one of New York City's most prestigious art institutions.

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Sajjad's artwork for "Pull Up" from Burna Boy's African Giant. Courtesy of the artist.

Meet Sajjad, the Artist Behind Burna Boy's 'African Giant' Album Art

We sit down with the artist to talk about the art behind African Giant and his use of currency to creates collages that tell ambitious stories.

"Currency is something that for the most part doesn't exist," Sajjad tells me over a crackling phone line. It would have been hard to hear him if he didn't speak firmly. "It's all about trust. We trust that a bill is worth a certain value. That's what makes it real. It's an interesting duality play on something that's real but at the same time isn't."

This philosophy is what informs Sajjad's art. Using currency, the artist creates collages that tell ambitious stories about unifying countries. In 2019, he created the artwork for one of the best and most important albums to come out of the modern Nigerian—and African—music scene, Burna Boy's Grammy-nominated African Giant.

Sajjad got the idea to start using currency as an artistic medium in 2016, when stopping at a New York City bodega—"these little convenience stores on every corner that sell everything!"—where he saw that they had put up dollar bills on the wall from the first few people who had bought things there. It was at that moment something in him clicked and he realized how many powerful stories physical bills could tell and represent. Inspired by this, Sajjad began a journey of using currency and other mundane everyday objects to create art that tells a bigger story.

We sat down with the artist to talk about designing the album art of Burna Boy's African Giant, the power of currency and what the future holds for him.

Sajjad. Photo: Dan Solomito

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Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images.

Former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak Passes Away

The former Egyptian president, who was ousted in 2011 during the Arab Spring Uprising, was aged 91.

Egypt's former President Hosni Mubarak passed away yesterday according to reports by the BBC.

The former statesman's death comes barely a year after his successor and Egypt's first democratically-elected president Mohamed Morsi, suffered a fatal heart attack.

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Moonchild Sanelly. Image courtesy of the artist.

Emerging Artists: Submit to Be a Part of MIDEM Talent Exporter

The new program will select a group of 22 artists from across the world through an open call for entries.

MIDEM, the music world's leading conference and trade fair that takes place in Cannes, France, has announced their new accelerator program for emerging artists across the globe.

The MIDEM Talent Exporter will select a group of 22 artists from across the world through an open call for entries.

"This live matchmaking format will shine a light on the most promising export-ready talent," a message from MIDEM explains, "and connect them with today's finest international talent buyers, including agents, promoters, festivals, media, PR, curators, music editors and A&R. They will also gain access to 10 music supervisors with the specific objective of building concrete business partnerships."

MIDEM Talent Exporter is born out of the Midem Artist Accelerator, a talent discovery and mentorship program that OkayAfrica has had the opportunity to be a part of. In the past artists like AKA, Bez, Moonchild Sanelly, Tshego, La Dame Blanche, Kyan, and other have been part of the program.

As MIDEM explains, the program gives artists the opportunity to "meet international business partners, be scouted by international festival bookers, find an international booking agent, find local promoters, find local PRs, get your music placed in film, TV, gaming, sign publishing and/or sub-publishing deal(s), sign recording deal(s), integrate music playlists, be spotted and highlighted by international media & journalist," and more.

Emerging artists can submit now for MIDEM Talent Exporter 2020.

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