By Tajudeen Sowole
A 16th edition of Arthouse Contemporary auction, coming in less than three months after introducing Affordable sales, is set to prove the resilience of Lagos art market, even in a troubled economic environment.
With Affordable, held in March, the auctioneers added a third sale, making its auctions tri-annual. From May 7-8, 2016 the 16th edition takes off with viewing, which runs into the third day as the sale holds on Monday, 9 at The Wheatbaker Hotel, Ikoyi, Lagos.
Having separated the Affordable - works that sell below 500,000 - from the premiums, there is an indication that the volume of lots has dropped slightly in number for the coming event. However, the texture or class of lots on sale keeps going higher, so suggests the caliber of artists featured in the 16th edition.
In a preview statement, Arthouse notes that as contemporary African art moves to become one of the fastest growing global art markets, the 16th edition "will feature both master works from the modern period and cutting- edge contemporary art from the region’s most celebrated artists." The auction house lists works as including "100 lots featuring modern masters such as Ben Enwonwu, Yusuf Grillo, Demas Nwoko, Bruce Onobrakpeya, Ato Delaquis, Kolade Oshinowo, Abayomi Barber, Gani Odutokun, Ablade Glover, Ben Osawe, and Akinola Lasekan." Also on display for the auction are what has been described as leading contemporary artists, including Rom Isichei, Peju Alatise, Sokari Douglas Camp, Ndidi Dike and Modupe Fadugba.
As Lagos is fast becoming a hub for African art market, non-Nigerian artists whose works are featuring in the auction include Dominique Zimkpe, Paul Onditi, Kofi Agorsor, Mohammed Abba Gana, Paa Joe and Leonce Raphael Agbodjelou.
Sponsored by Standard Chartered Bank, Wheatbaker Hotel and Veuve Clicquot, the auction retains its auctioneer, U.K-based John Dabney.
Among the works for sale viewed via soft copies are The Advent, oil on canvas classic of Abiodun Olaku; Isioma, oil on canvas portrait from Isichei; oil on board portraiture, Threatened Innocence by Grilo; Obitun Dancers, a 1990 painting by Enwonwu; and mixed media Purple Period by Alatise.
The auction, according to Arthouse, will also include three charity lots by artists Uchay Joel Chima, Obinna Makata, and Lekan Onabanjo, in support of Standard Chartered Bank’s 'Seeing is Believing', a NG0 that works to prevent avoidable blindness.
In recent years, Arthouse Contemporary has expanded beyond its bi-annual auctions to include the Arthouse Foundation, a non-profit organisation that aims to encourage the creative development of contemporary art in Nigeria, and Arthouse-The Space, which organises exhibitions of contemporary art. Arthouse-The Space recently opened a solo exhibition of Nigerian artist Victor Ekpuk, entitled Coming Home, in April 2016, the first solo exhibition of Ekpuk in Nigeria in over a decade. Arthouse Foundation opens its artist residency programme in a dedicated building in Ikoyi in April 2016, which will host artists with live/work studios throughout the year.
Founded in 2007, Arthouse Contemporary is an international auction house that specialises in modern and contemporary art from West Africa. With auctions held twice a year in Lagos, Arthouse Contemporary aims to create awareness of the scope of contemporary art in the region, encourage international recognition towards its talented artists, and strengthen the economy of its art market.