The Ooni of Ife, Adeyeye Ogunwusi, and his new wife, Naomi Oluwaseyi, attended the opening night of Art X in Lagos on Friday.
ArtXLagos 2018, founded in 2016 by Tokini Peterside to showcase the most innovative contemporary African artworks, was declared open by monarch at the Civic Centre, Victoria Island, Lagos.
This year’s fair opened with a private VIP Preview during the day, where guests were invited to experience the cutting edge of contemporary African art.
A VIP Opening Cocktail followed the daytime preview in the evening. It brought together dignitaries, leading collectors, Hubert Wigwe, Atedo Peterside, Babajide Sanwoolu, Mo Abudu and Yinka Shonibare.
Guests also mingled between two exquisite VIP lounges designed by ALARA and textile designer, Banke Kuku.
Late Ben Enwonwu’s famous painting “Tutu” which was sold for an impressive £1.2 million ($1.67 million) at an auction earlier in the year was also on display at the art fair.
The organisers noted that the public display of ‘Tutu’ marks a significant moment in Nigeria’s art history as this marks its first public display in Nigeria since 1975.
Mr Peterside and Access Bank Plc CEO Herbert Wigwe also spoke on the importance of the fair and its centrality in the growth of Africa’s art economy in their welcome address.
Thereafter, the Ooni was invited to the stage where he addressed the audience. During his speech, the monarch stated that arts have been in existence long before the advent of photography.
“Art connects the human race with the past and future while playing a pivotal role in binding the human race together,” the monarch noted.
“We can see this from the display of ‘Tutu’ here today and I can attest to you, that this is one of the greatest records in our history for the entire mankind. That art piece has actually recorded a huge milestone all over the world.”
“Art lovers might not know the spirituality involved in the arts; it actually connects, replicates various imagination of things that have happened in the past, present and what will actually happen in the future. What we are doing today is something that binds all of us together,” he said.
The 3-day art exhibition and fair will also feature 18 renowned galleries from different countries from within and outside Africa.
The art fair will also feature ART X Talks, with a host of exciting speakers, artists, and thought leaders set to take the stage. ART X Talks will also run on Sunday when Mr Shonibare will give a keynote talk.
In addition, Teni the Entertainer, Ghanaian musician Amaarae, and BOJ, accompanied by some of Lagos’ finest emerging visual and graphic