7 November 2017

Nigeria: Babajide Olatunji Shines At ART X Lagos With Tribal Marks Painting

The 2017 edition of ART X Lagos opened on Friday, November 3. Art X Lagos. West Africa's first international art fair had artists from 15 countries exhibiting their works. Nigerian hyperrealist artist Babajide Olatunji stunned everyone with his tribal mark pastel painting.

The much anticipated second edition of Art X Lagos dubbed West Africa's first International Art Fair kicked off on November 3rd. It exhibited the works of 45 artists from 10 different countries last year.

In its second edition, Art X Lagos had various art galleries representing a large number of artists. For an art fair that seeks to "reinforce the visual arts as an important component of the creative industry in Nigeria and Africa, and to position Lagos as an emergent cultural capital on the continent," the large turnout of visitors and exhibitors is telling.

The Emir of Kano, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi opened the Art X Lagos with works from over 60 artists from 15 countries being exhibited. Sculptures by late Nigerian artist Ben Enwonwu MBE were displayed at the Civic Centre where the event took place.

Galleries like Bloom Art, Arthouse - The Space, Galerie MAM, Galerie ATISS, Fondation Donwahi, and TAFETA among others showcased the works of various artists they represented.

Interesting sculptures such as Yaw Owusu's use of the 1 Pesewa coin where he used 24,000 coins to create a sculpture that "questions the failure of Ghana's infrastructural development" were on display.

Lemi Ghariokwu, "the mastermind behind 26 record jacket artworks for Afrobeat legend, Fela Anikulapo Kuti" displayed some "ever-before-exhibited archival documents, sketches and photographs" from his private collection.

But if there is a piece that stood out in Art X and had everyone hooked, gasping, lost, and some simply flabbergasted, it was Babajide Olatunji's pastel drawing depicting tribal marks.

Babajide whose works have been exhibited at the Royal Art Academy stole the show at Art X Lagos. The hyperrealist artist is represented by TAFETA Gallery. Babajide doesn't draw from pictures, but rather brings out his characters from within himself.

One man approached Babajide and told him the painting looked like his grandmother. Others saw other things in the painting which felt personal to them. As Art X Lagos came to a close yesterday, it was Babajide that had left an imprint in the minds of art enthusiasts.

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