Saturday, 28 November 2015

Alakija's Stories of Art With A Social Conscience

By Tajudeen Sowole

Sidiquat from Polly Alakija’s Art With A Social Conscience
The exhibiting space that displays Polly Alakija's social responsibility art project at Foreshore Harbours, Osborne Estate, Phase 2, Jetty Club, is as quiet as the artist's work across Nigeria. Apart from the ray of mild morning light radiating from the sea, piercing through the glass door and providing illumination inside the lounge, the wall paintings in original canvas and prints by Alakija have no other visitor during this quiet morning visit,  few days after the formal opening of Art With A Social Conscience.

For over a year, Alakija who shares her studio base between Lagos and Gloucestershire, U.K. has been using art to engage communities in select Nigerian urban and rural spots. Some of the works, produced from her Artist-in-Residence form the bulk of the display.

Mounted at the reception of the lounge are portraits of Nafisa and Tilatu painted during Alakija's residence at Fifth Chukker Polo Club, Kaduna as well as drawings from her Lagos Jazz Series such as Africa 80 in Rehearsal: Kalakuta, Keyboard Player, Tony Allen, among others.    

 Stepping inside the lounge proper, the canvas begins to open up, displaying elaborate works of an artist whose realism style of painting perches on outline of figures to emboss images off the canvas.

One of the revelations from Alakija's Art With A Social Conscience exhibition is the hidden fact that Lagos has been an alternative or temporary homes to quite a number of IDPs from the northeast of Nigeria. Three paintings Two Boys Series I and II as well as Gambo and Family explain quiet rehabilitation of Boko Haram-related victims and IDPs in Lagos. The two paintings of an adult and a young - roughly under seven years old - stress the diverse textures of the IDPs in Lagos. As at the period of the painting, the only help, which the senior of the boys could offer his younger brother was a rest to take sleep on his laps. The IDPs found their ways to Ikoyi with the hope that "there would be a better opportunity in Lagos," Alakija says.

 For Gambo, a family man who strayed into the canvas of Alakija - as Keke NAPEP driver - during the artist’s community art project, Lagos is not his kind of place. Gambo, Alakija discloses, is from Chibok, and got married in Lagos after his partner was sent to him from another part of the north. "He is not happy in Lagos, wants to go back to Chibok as soon as possible," the artist narrates her experience working with Gambo who, in addition to using his keke for the project, also "assists in some painting works with the participant children during workshop."

Alakija's canvas is populated with stories that could inspire a bestseller. Sidiquat, painting of a mother and child, according to the artist is a narrative of another home-sick parent who, though had her baby in Lagos, "now wants to go back to the north east."

Between the depth of the artist's skills on canvas and her choice of subject, the attention appears to be more on the latter. And not exactly a commendable one for the artist, so some observers feel. She recalls being asked: 'Polly, these are sad paintings. Can't you tell other stories?' But she argues that these are the realities she "encounters."

A section of display at Art With A Social Conscience
However, Alakija's canvas is not all about 'sad' stories, so suggest other works such as She Didn't Come To Lagos To Count Bridge, Ayoba and murals on a ferry, among others that either focus on the colourful side of the aquatic city or narrative from legendary world of Susanne Wenger’s Osogbo.

More importantly, the Art With A Social Conscience exhibition, which was organised in partnership with The Children’s Developmental Centre (CDC) as a community project, also helps to support NGOs that are involved in rehabilitation of IDPs and other related victims of socio-economic imbalance. Proceeds from the sales of the paintings, Alakija assures go to volunteer groups. Among such is ETN Church, Ikeja.

Commending the effort of Alakija, one Africa's top art collectors Prince Yemisi Shyllon who was a guest speaker at the opening stated: "The kind of exemplary contributions to society by Alakija are what makes life meaningful.”

Adeyemi's Between The Lines Of Public Transport On Canvas

By Tajudeen Sowole
 Efficient management of public transport system and vehicular traffic is no doubt recurring challenge for successive governments of Lagos State. But in recent times, it has been generating widespread interests and inputs from citizens, so artist, Festus Adeyemi's new body of work confirms.

Where Are The Passengers? by Festus Adeyemi
For Adeyemi, the debate is covertly taken into the academic sphere via his solo art exhibition titled Between the Lines, which is currently showing at Yusuf Grillo Gallery, Yaba College of Technology, Lagos. Though a social science and technology-related issue, Adeyemi, a teacher in the art education field, brings artistic perspective into the debate, perhaps asserting the role of the academia in contributing to the environment.

Adeyemi depicts different modes of transportation in the evolving Lagos megacity, highlighting challenges of sustaining mini buses as well as the effect of Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) and the complexity of motor cycles as taxi outlets. Before one goes into the exhibition with an expectation of artistic solving of the challenges, Adeyemi warns that his thought is to "inspire" solution: "The expectation of this exhibition is not only to draw the world's attention to the heavy tolls of traffic challenges facing Lagos residents, but importantly, to inspire a proffering of solutions to galvanise positive change in this state believed to be a commercial nerve centre of Nigeria's economy."

As an artist, line means so much to Adeyemi in the process of creating art. And within the context of the technical application of the word to the theme at hand, he arrived at Between the Lines, "as a medium of passing information through art."

 Some of the works on display include Civilian brand bus Federal Government Assisted Mass Transit, which revisits a more chaotic state of commuting during the 1980s through 1990s. To drive the message faster, the artist brings in a rough surface of mixed media. Other unwanted but necessary mode of transit, which Adeyemi's palette capture include tricycles Marwa in a "fascinating” queue, at park; and the mini passenger buses or danfo he titled Yellow Yellow.

With the coming of the LAMATA and LAGbus BRT buses during the tenure of the then Governor, Bola Ahmed Tinubu and strengthened by the last administration of Babatunde Fashola, some kind of relief started appearing in the horizon as regards decent and efficient management of public transport. However, the challenge of sustenance attracts Adeyemi's attention as expressed in line up of empty red BRT buses. The artist is worried that sometimes, "the BRT buses operate without passengers."

Not exactly attempting to make cubism out of the theme, but the lines on the surface of the canvas exude slight texture of the 20th century art movement incubated in Europe.

Adeyemi's Between The Lines is not targeted at providing scientific and technological solution to the challenge of effective management of public transport in Lagos. But his colleague Dotun Alabi, who is Chairman, Society of Nigerian Artists (SNA), Lagos State Chapter sees the works on display in a broader perspective.

"Festus’ paintings unravel a welcome relief to a society that has suffered immensely from the return of long fuel queues and lack of mobility created by the overdependence on road transport over the years," Alabi writes as his contribution to the catalogue of the exhibition.

 "His works will further unpicked fresh rethinking regards solution to the much needed and necessary changes. Really, this is needed in our country’s transportation and navigation clues that is expected to usher us into a needed promise land of effectiveness."

Sunday, 22 November 2015

Searching For The Smile With LABAF Artists

By Tajudeen Sowole
IN a world increasingly exacerbated by violence, agitation and counter forces of government, the other side of negativity, which is hardly explored, attracts the attention of seven artists at the exhibition wing of Lagos Books and Arts Festival (LABAF) 2015. The artists, through installation, performance, paintings, poetry, 'spoken words'  and photography, take inspiration from the liberal side of a troubled world and articulate respite in  They Have Asked Us To Smile, title of the exhibition.
Jelili Atiku in a performamce recorded from a gathering in U.S.
 Curated by Nkechi Nwosu-Igbo, who is also among the exhibiting artists, the gathering brings into a single space mental escape from man's self-inflicted colossal damages in environmental and conflict of political and religious crisis.
Organised by Committee for Relevant Art (CORA), the exhibition featured works of Jelili Atiku, Aderemi Adegbite, Jumoke Verissimo, Diseye Tantua, Bob-nosa Uwagboe and Efe Paul Azino.
Like other gathering of artists who had dissipated so much energy, getting worried about the collapse of values in social and political spheres, the LABAF exhibition also has a fair share of deeply artistic and activism narratives. But for 2015, the texture shifts.
  "We are having loosely arranged conversations around art as a powerful tool to visualize a beautiful future," Nwosu-Igbo states in the curatorial notes.

  With its energy of conceptual content, a performance work Earth with Trees and Water I Am (VIII Alaragbo) by prolific and globetrotter artist, Atiku, welcomes one at the lobby space of Kongi's Harvest Gallery where the exhibition was mounted. Viewed on a screen, Atiku's work, which was performed in June this year at Rapid Pulse Performance Art Festival, in Chicago, U.S., as well as in Norway, dwells on the issue of violated environment, and draws attention to African mythology about eco-reality. As much as the work appears to project a world of green haven, it also provides food for thought for the political and economic deceits of policymakers around the world as regards the increasingly fragile eco-system. As a narrative, Atiku's touring work looks like a solo performance in form, but it is interactive and audience participatory in texture.

  With a possible extinction of mini yellow commercial buses on Lagos roads, photographer, Adegbite's oeuvre could be a vital source of information in the future when it comes to the ubiquity of yellow mini (danfo) buses on Lagos roads. At the 2014 edition of LABAF art exhibition, the bigger bus molue was the photographer's tool in communicating his concept. 

  Occupying a section of the spacious headroom of the gallery in the 2015 edition are two doors - one of yellow and black stripes, the other in blue. And to the left of the space is another yellow door - as wall hanging - just as each, perhaps in Adegbite's search for 'smile' and the future is matted with faces or Roadmate, the theme of the installation-photography. The photographer must have aligned his thoughts on road usage with the former governor of Lagos State, Babatunde Raji Fashola who constantly urged the people to treat the road as a partner that also communicates. For Adegbite, his argument is that the road as a "metaphor for human movement through the surface of the earth is central to change." 
A limited space in relation to contents at the ground floor of gallery could be challenging in curatorial responsibility, particularly when paintings on canvas are mounted with installations that are so very expressive. But in large wall canvases, Tantua's drawings and paintings as well as Uwagboe's easel-mounted mixed media, the diversity of the gathering's contents is confirmed.

For Tantua, his palette in pop art widens with a body of work he calls Gentlemen's Club series, a peep into the future.  With human representational figures that speak so much of volume amidst humourous rendition, in which Tantua communicates in subtle thoughtfulness.  Collective effort, he argues, is an assurance for Nigeria's "better tomorrow." 

In his style of simplified painting, Uwagboe encounters Art Therapy after a journey of distress. In fact, his personal experience re-enacted on canvas, though a coincidence with the theme of the group exhibition, generates the ‘smiles'. Being bereaved, the artist discloses, brought out a fresh look of his canvas, recalling how he was immersed in protest art.  "I was advised to focus on joyful thoughts for some months," he discloses what led to his current period of creating "art filled with positive energy and virtue that will bring smile and light into my face.” 

Curator, Nkechi Nwosu-Igbo
As much as Nwosu-Igbo’s Leaving The Past Behind series attempts to get out of the protest and activism space, perception appears to be haunting the respite direction of the concept. In sincerity, bagging of the troubled past, as seen in Series 3, left of the gallery's wall, with some of the bags tagged 'Siddon They Look, is no doubt the antidote to a dagraded environment. But in Series 2, mounted at the extreme end, doubt hovers over the mind's ability to actually let the dark past give way to respite and generate the much-needed smile. Unable to comprehend how Nigeria got to the state of bloodletting as terrorists have taken over a chunk of northern Nigeria against the weak state of economic and social conditions, Nwosu-Igbo, however, hopes that "one day, someday we will have cause to smile again."  

Contemporaneity, in the last two or three editions of the LABAF art exhibition, has been expanded to include poetry and what the curator describes as ‘spoken words.' The academic 'headache' of such broadening is, for now of less important as long as the content align perfectly with the context. 

 Poet, Jumoke Verissimo is again on a familiar terrain, having contributed to the last gathering titled Merging Stories. In two works, The Orange Land and Those Who Died Smiling, Verissimo expands the search for the brightening of the face. From the chromatic vein of our sprain of faith/We will keep the smile/In a future where peace is pampered, she assures in ‘The Orange Land.’
  For Azino, Hope Is A Nigerian, in which he is confident that I know because I've met her... His second work in the exhibition is titled Dream Country, stressing the brightness of the future. 

  "Over the past years, LABAF art exhibitions have opened up discourses on the different aspects of The Power of Art," the curator recalls a journey through activism via the art space. "In 2012, our project was on the power of art to incite political change; 2013, we had dialogues around Art as social examiner and in 2014 it was the power of art to heal past pain."
  But the 2015 edition starts a new period in the search for "beautiful future."

  Excerpts from her curatorial notes: "They Have Asked Us To Smile has brought together a rich force of artists to help interpret a better tomorrow in their own words, using hope and positive attitude as creative perimeters. We live in times where extremist groups have reigned supreme and grown very quickly as they terrorise the whole world to support what they believe in. This project looks at the strength of belief but from a positive side. What if I innocently believe that tomorrow can be better?”

Boosting Ofala Festival With Art Content

By Tajudeen Sowole

Among very few yearly cultural gatherings in Nigeria that have space for creative and intellectual content is Ofala Festival in Onitsha, Anambra State, so suggests the 2015 edition, which had sculptures unveiled and a group art exhibition on display. The 20 busts in honour of departed kings of Onitsha and a group exhibition titled Oreze III were not just flavours to Ofala Festival 2015, but what appeared like the main attractions and creative content of the event. More often, every edition of festivals in Nigeria and other parts of Africa bores you with the same features and rituals that have been repeated without innovation over the decades or centuries.
Prof. Ola Oloidi (left); His Majesty, Obi of Onitsha, Igwe Alfred Nnaemeka Achebe and curator, Mr. George Edozie at the opening of Oreze III art exhibition at Ofala Festival 2015… in Onitsha
 For Ofala, however, one is not surprised viewing the festival activities on screen at a post-event gathering in Lagos: the current custodian of the people's culture, His Majesty, Obi of Onitsha, Igwe Alfred Nnaemeka Achebe, is a passionate art enthusiast and collector.

  The screen unfolds, showing the Obi leading some titled chiefs to the spot where the busts were mounted just as the red gele of the odu women in the background add colours to the unveiling by complementing the red caps of the titled chiefs. Said to have been donated by a Dallas, U.S-based native, Dinyeludo Doris Okey Akpon Omezele, the busts, according to sources, "are made of cement" and by "palace artists." 

  The art exhibition part of the festival, curated by George Edozie and sponsored by Globacom, featured diverse artists from Nigeria and the Diaspora. "About 150 works of artists from across the world were exhibited at Ofala," so stated Edozie during the post event review. He attributed the large gathering of artists to the fact that "the Obi has been supporting many artists for decades."

  In fact, Edozie noted that such artists who have benefited from the patronage of the Obi cut across countries such as "Germany, Belgium, U.K., France, Ghana, Benin Republic, Togo and the U.S. who sent in their works because of the support the Obi has given to Nigerian artists and others from all over the world."
Some of the artists included Abdulrasaq Ahmed, Abraham Uyovbisere, Chinwe Uwatse, Ato Arinze, Bimbo Adenugba, Dr. Peju Layiwola, Emeka Nwagbara, Godfrey Williams Okorodu, Joe Amenechi among others.  

In the catalogue of the exhibition, the Obi confirmed the widening scope of the exhibition, stating that "a growing number of non-Nigerian artists are participating in the exhibition, including several first time entrants and a Cuban."

  Strengthening the visual arts contents of the Ofala Festival as well as the Onitsha people at large appeared to be the king’s priority. He disclosed of a plan, currently ongoing "to establish a museum and art gallery in the kingdom." The planning, he explained, affected what could have been expansive activities for the exhibition, which was originally scheduled to include "a lecture, symposium and workshop."

  Outside Onitsha, the Obi’s support for artists, even in Lagos, is well known. For example, three years ago, a group of artists, known in Nigerian art circle as Onitsha Artists, got the support of the monarch for the exhibition of paintings and sculptures under the title Orakwue (Let the Whole World Talk), held at Alexis Galleries, Victoria Island, Lagos. The artists included Afam Okwudili, George Nwadiogbu, Arinze, Uwatse, Osaji Dubem, Gaby Emengo, Frank Anamah, Onyeoma Mbanefo and Edozie. They were joined by guest artists from Nigeria, Republic of Benin and Ghana such as Abiodun Olaku, Alex Nwokolo, Tola Wewe, Gbenga Ofor, Duke Asidere, Agorsor Kofi, Fidelis Odogwu and Domonique Zinkpe.
  Special guest at Oreze III, Prof. Ola Oloidi of University of Nigeria, Nsukka, who declared the exhibition open, argued that "Onitsha has been internationalised because of the king's effort."

  Oloidi, a professor of Art History, noted that quite a number of other efforts of the Obi that have boosted the popularity of Onitsha and the festival, adding, "Igwe has brought innovation to Onitsha,” perhaps such that no Igwe in the history of the people ever did and added, “No Igwe has traveled as much as Nnaemeka Achebe, and no art exhibition as big has happened in any kingdom in West Africa."

  Celebrated every October, Ofala Festival, according history, ‘symbolises a period of re-emergence of the Obi, after a mandatory isolation in community mourning. For the people, the festival ‘marks the beginning of a new year.’
  For the Oreze art exhibition, it’s a journey that started in 2013 and it is expected to grow stronger, Edozie assured. “More foreign artists are joining the exhibition next year”.

Friday, 20 November 2015

For 'Vibrant' Collection, Artists of Essentials Broaden Space

By Tajudeen Sowole
(Published in The Guardian Nigeria)
Relativity in great collection is being challenged by a group of nine artists who throw their hats into the ring by claiming to have the most valuable art pieces yet seen. In fact, the artists have gathered for a group exhibition strategically titled Essentials, which opened yesterday; it will show for a week at Alexis Galleries, Victoria Island, Lagos,
Akinola Ebenezer, Bimbo Adenugba, George Edozie, Gerald Chukwuma, Joshua Nmesirionye, Kunle Adegborioye, Osagie Aimufia, Segun Aiyesan and Wallace Ejoh are artists of Essentials whose individual skills in painting and mixed media spans 10 years to two decades. With such a broad gathering, the artists are also hoping to use the exhibition as a platform to form a professional group.
From Edozie's stylised figures, bathed in competing vibrant colours, to Akinola's realism that keeps the basic essence of art alive as well as motif-patterned new canvas of Adenugba and relief sculptures of Chukwuma, the Essentials artists appear to have expanded the highly competitive art landscape of Lagos. Works of Ejoh, Nmesirionye, Adegborioye, Aiyesan and Aimufia are though not strange to the connoisseurs in Lagos, the artists are using the opportunity of Essentials to show some of their "best" works.
Having exhibited most of the Essentials artists, individually, Alexis has no reason to doubt their power of attracting the right appreciation. "This is a must see show of breathtaking works at affordable prices, we at the Alexis Galleries are delighted to host this all important show of great artists," said curator, Patty Chidiac. "This group of artists is well established and none of them has had less than 20 years of practices to his credit," she states, adding that  "most of the members of this group have exhibited extensively in Nigeria and abroad." The gathering, Chidiac enthused, has been made possible by "sponsors" such as Chocolat Royale, Nigeria Info, Cool FM, Wazobia FM, Cool TV, Wazobia TV, Art Café, Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin, Arra Wines, The Homestores Limited, Litho-Chrome Limited, Avenue Suites Hotel and Cobranet Internet Service Provider.

 "Essentials is informed by a gathering aimed at taking Nigerian art to a higher level as our works are indeed  essentials for collection," Edozie boasted. Nmesirionye who is among the non-regulars at Alexis expresses confidence that the group exhibition has "artists with unique individual quality." And it's not just about art for art's sake, says Adenugba. "We are putting our ideology together, using art, in contributing to national development," Adenugba explains.
Chukwuma discloses that beyond exhibiting of their works, the group, when fully on ground is also hoping to go into publication as means of expanding the art scene. On a specific name for the proposed-group, a full identity, he said "will unfold after two or three exhibitions together."
Recall that early last year, Edozie and another group of artists came together with similar focus and had a show titled Serendipity. The group also had international art market in focus, but yet to make any other public appearance. But at the Essentials gathering, few days ago, Edozie assured that Serendipity is still alive and "we are working quietly".  He argued that "it takes some times for a strong group to be formed," but assured "we are regrouping to come out bigger." The Serendipity artists who showed at Alexis include Chukwuma, Jefferson Jonathan, Dominique Zinkpe, Tolu Aliki, Nyemike Onwuka and Edozie.
 In its consistence of promoting artists across generations, particularly new up-and-coming ones, Alexis showed a solo of Raji Mohammed’s Inspired this year.  “There are many older artists who wanted to have solo exhibitions, but we would not give them; Raji is hard working, and has a promising career,” Chidiac argued shortly before the exhibition.
Also. Chika Idu's theme on environmental degredation of Lagos coastal areas titled The Other World was shown by Alexis this year.

Monday, 16 November 2015

Rain of awards for African music stars at AFRIMA 2015

At Eko Hotel and Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos, All Africa Music Awards (AFRIMA) 2015 rolled out honours to music stars from across the continent.
List of Winners:
ARTISTE OF THE YEAR - Diamond Platnumz
 SONG OF THE YEAR - Diamond Platnumz – “Nasema Nawe”, featuring Khadijo Kopa
 ALBUM OF THE YEAR-Charlotte Dipanda – “Elle n’a pas vu”
 BEST ARTISTE IN AFRICA (RnB & Soul)-Praiz Adejo – Nigeria.

AFRIMA 2015 ARTISTE OF THE YEAR - Diamond Platnumz
 VIDEO OF THE YEAR - Wiyaala – Ghana
 BEST ARTISTE IN AFRICAN POP- Vanessa Mdee – Tanzania
 BEST ARTISTE IN AFRICAN HIP HOP - Casper Nyovest – South Africa.
PRODUCER OF THE YEAR - Sauti Sol and Cedric Kadenyi – Kenya.
SONGWRITER OF THE YEAR IN AFRICA - Joseph Chameleone – Uganda

BEST AFRICAN GROUP - Sauti Sol- Kenya.
AKA - (South Africa) and Burna Boy (Nigeria).
BEST FEMALE ARTISTE IN EASTERN AFRICA - Tsedenia Gebremarkos- Ethiopia.

Sunday, 15 November 2015

How Results Of Arthouse Auction May Generate Tri-annual Sales

By Tajudeen Sowole

CEO, Arthouse Contemporary, Kavita Chellaram

Art connoisseurs, brokers as well as their 'cousins', the dealers shouldn’t scratch heads in search of explanation for the results of the last auction in Lagos. At N130 million naira recorded for just 65 per cent of lots, the results of November 2015 edition of Arthouse Contemporary sales held at Wheatbaker Hotel, Ikoyi, Lagos, suggest that a third auction would be added to separate premium-rated works from the others. 

At 65 per cent sales, what has been regarded as Nigeria's leading auction house, Arthouse Contemporary, recorded one of its lowest number of works sold since inception eight years ago. But followers of the Nigerian secondary art market should have nothing to worry about. In fact, while trying to find explanation to the new development, art market enthusiasts have something to cheer: the 65 per cent sales, ironically, recorded N130,611,250, a figure that is clearly the highest at any single auction in Nigeria.
Top sales of the evening included Ben Enwonwu’s Untitled, oil on board, dated 1976 that was sold for N22,500,000 (USD$112,500); El Anatsui’s Tabula Rasa, a new wood panel work, which sold for N12,375,000 (USD$61,876) and another Anatsui’s 2002 wood work Fragmented Thoughts II,  sold for N10,687,500 (USD$53,438). Noting that the sales confirm a rising value of African art at home and the Diaspora, the auction house boasted, "Arthouse's bi-annual auctions have cemented themselves as an integral platform for the development of the African art market."
One of the top sales Fragmented Thoughts II by El Anatsui
Joining the premium sales of big masters at the auction was Rom Isichei (b.1966) whose Re-Figuration Of The White Headband (2014 oil on canvas 190.5 x 122 cm. (75 x 48 in.), sold for N4, 950,000, giving the artist his Nigerian auction record. Isichei's new auction record confirms the artist's consistence in gradual rise on the Nigerian art market scene.
During the 14th edition of the bi-annual sales at the same venue, in May this year, figures accrued from 116 lots was put at over N124 million naira. It was the largest art sales for any art auction event in Nigeria as at May 2015.

 With the texture of the November auction there were indications of increasing works in the premium range. For example, in May 2012 edition, a total sale – including the buyer’s premium – of N106 million ($132,000) was recorded for 97 out of 116 lots, representing 84%. Similarly, most of the previous and subsequent auctions usually took the same pattern of the higher the percentage of lots sold, the bigger the total figures. But the November 2015 sales reversed that trend, sending a signal of change in the Nigerian art market. 
"The market is maturing," Mrs. Kavita Chellaram, CEO at Arthouse Contemporary noted during our chat, few days after the auction. "Blue chip is of high value and we had multiple buyers for the premium works."

She explained that investment and appreciation for A-class works are undoubtedly on the increase. Perhaps, in the closet editions there could be a third auction or separation of premium from lower sales works? Yes, most likely, she assured. "We are going to separate the smaller works from premium and have a sale of works up to N500, 000 naira upwards." In fact, she disclosed that the third auction will start from "next year February or March," with "Contemporary Auction, affordable Art of famous and contemporary artists."
Under the hammer of U.K-based auctioneer, John Dabney, Arthouse auctions have been holding twice a year since 2007. So far, sales worth over one and half billion naira for more than one thousand pieces in the past 14 editions have been recorded

AS much as non-catagorised pattern of auctions in Nigeria afforded new masters and up-and-coming artists opportunity to thrive under the same roof with old and established masters, very few young artists have made the best of the opportunity while it lasted.  Apart from Isichei, Peju Alatise, Abiodun Olaku, Bunmi Babatunde, Chidi Kwubiri and Soukari Douglass Camp, most others who started well, creeping into the seven digits have dropped drastically in rating over the last few auctions.
For example, since Nnenna Okore's impressive feat as the second highest sold at Arthouse’s March 2009 sales with her Egwu Ukwu, (2009), mixed media, 76.2 x 198.1cm lot 72, which was sold at N3.3 million. Similar record has not been made by any of the younger artists. Even Okore, who was then described as ‘a new master’ to watch, appears to be sliding down the graph, so suggest sales of her works at recent auctions.
However, hope of premium sales for the non-predictable masters kept rising. During the Arthouse auction of November 2014, two Nigerian record sales, each for painter, Kolade Oshinowo and sculptor, Babatunde were achieved. The sales included Stilt Dancers (oil on canvas, 160 x 90cm, 1981) by Oshinowo b.1948 sold for N6m and a sculpture, Possibilities (Bronze, 157 X 176.5 cm, 2013) from Babatunde's gymnastic series sold for N3, 740, 000 million naira. For both artists, the sales represented their Nigerian record sales. New comers who made debut with the November 2015 sales included Timothy Adequate Fussy, Angela Issue, Oboes Anidi, Chipping Udoma, Jimmy Nwanne, Johnson Uwadinma, Cheri Samba, Georgia Beier and Toyin Loye.

On the resilience of the old masters - living and departed - Enwonwu appears to have the two worlds of an artist's thematic and conceptual strengths working for him. For example, his works in African dance themes, which eulogise energy in the wavy native moves keep sprouting high sales. This much the November 2015 sales stressed with Untitled, making it the highest sold lot. 
For the charity lots, a total of N2,800,000 (USD$14,000) worth was raised from works by Isichei, Isaac Emokpae, Sade Thompson, Olu Ajayi and Gbenga Offo in "support of Arthouse Foundation, a non-profit residency-based programme that provides platform for artists to expand their practice and experiment with new art forms and ideas.
"The proceeds of the charity lots,” according to a statement "will go directly to support Arthouse Foundation’s acquisition of a permanent venue for its studio residencies."
A U.S.-based artist, Victor Ekpuk, who is currently having a four-month residency in Lagos, is Arthouse Foundation's first beneficiary of the residence programme.