By Tajudeen Sowole
In response to the growing appreciation of African art, a new auction outlet – earlier announced last year - is becoming a reality in the secondary art market of Lagos.
Being organized by Arthouse Contemporary, the latest addition tagged The Affordable Art Auction, which holds on February 17, 2016 at Kia Showroom, Victoria Island, Lagos, features works of artists across generations and genres. Ahead of the sales, the previews of the auction are scheduled to hold on February 25-26.
Arthouse Contemporary, regarded as a pioneer auction house in West Africa, has been organising bi-annual auctions of modern and contemporary art sales in May and November since 2008. Supported by Ecobank, Kia Motors and Luxeria, The Affordable Art Auction, according to Arthouse is being organised as a result of “an explosion of interest in contemporary African art in recent years.” The auction house added that there has been a commensurate potential for investment.
"The market is maturing," Mrs. Kavita Chellaram, CEO at Arthouse Contemporary had noted after last November sales. "Blue chip is of high value and we had multiple buyers for the premium works." Chellaram therefore disclosed that "we are going to separate the smaller works from premium and have a sale of works up to N500, 000 naira upwards."
Three months after and from a call for entries that totaled over one hundred submissions, Arthouse has selected the lots, which include many artists who are featuring in the house’s sale for the first time. The auction also includes “works of art by leading modern masters and Africa’s most prominent artists —- all scaled to a more affordable and accessible price point.”
Listed among artists whose works are making the inaugural Affordable Auction are Ben Enwonwu, Bruce Onobrakpeya, Kolade Oshinowo, Twins Seven Seven, Rom Isichei, Peju Alatise, Ben Osawe and Lemi Ghariokwu, among others. International artists include Paa Joe and Jacob Tetteh-Ashong (Ghana), Leonce Raphael Agbodjelou (Benin), Cyrus Kabiru (Kenya), Sokari Douglas Camp (UK), and Chipika Simanwe (Zambia).
Specifically, the definition of Arthouse’s ‘affordable’ is based on pricing “below NGN 500,000,” which allows what the auction house describes as showcasing a wider scope of artists.
“Through this auction, Arthouse Contemporary seeks to open more opportunities for artists in Nigeria to sell their work and create a new audience to appreciate and interact with contemporary African art,” the auction house explains its mission. “The aim of the Affordable Art Auction is to encourage first time buyers to take the leap into their first art acquisition and for more seasoned collectors to expand their repertoire.”
Included in the sale are three charity lots in support of the Society of Nigerian Artists (SNA), with all proceeds going directly to the professional body’s fundraising campaign to expand its operations.