Africa’s Flourishing Art Scene Takes Center Stage at Art X

Nigeria’s Art Month showcases the re-emergence of Lagos as an international art hub

Under the scorching November sun in Lagos, Nigeria, thousands of art enthusiasts, celebrities, and locals flock to Art X, the largest art fair in West Africa. The event, held annually as part of Lagos’ “art month,” symbolizes the resurgence of Nigeria’s art industry and its growing prominence on the global stage. Despite economic challenges and political uncertainties, the art scene in Nigeria has experienced remarkable success, with Nigerian and African artists gaining recognition in Western galleries. Art X, founded in 2016, has played a significant role in fostering this growth. This year’s edition, featuring local galleries and thought-provoking panel discussions, reflects the industry’s resilience and commitment to shaping a sustainable future.

The Rise of Nigerian Art:

Over the past decade, Nigerian artists and galleries have witnessed unprecedented success. One driving force behind this growth is the increasing demand for Black and African art, particularly in the genre of “Black portraiture.” This genre emerged as a response to the historic underrepresentation of Black figures in Western art. Artists like Adulphina Imuede, showcased at Art X, have captivated audiences with their mythical and dreamlike illustrations, attracting both local and international collectors. The art world’s reckoning after the killing of George Floyd further fueled efforts to exhibit a greater diversity of artists and promote Black art.

Art X: A Platform for Dialogue:

Art X has become a platform for dialogue, allowing artists and audiences to explore pressing issues facing Nigeria and the continent. The fair’s amphitheater serves as a space for panel discussions and talks, addressing economic challenges and the future aspirations of citizens. Despite a decrease in the number of participating galleries this year, Art X remains committed to showcasing local talent and fostering connections between artists, collectors, and enthusiasts.

Beyond Art X: Immersive Exhibitions:

Art X is just one highlight of Lagos’ “art month,” which features a diverse range of exhibitions held in alternative and immersive spaces. Farida Folawiyo’s “Image Impressions” exhibition, held at the private residence of Remi Vaugn-Richards, explores themes of migration through intimate family portraits and animated illustrations. The venue itself, blending Yoruba indigenous aesthetics with tropical modernist ideals, creates a unique synergy between the art and its surroundings. These exhibitions demonstrate the city’s vibrant and evolving art scene, attracting both local and international audiences.

Building Local and Sustainable Growth:

While foreign collectors have played a significant role in driving the boom of Nigeria’s art industry, there is a growing emphasis on building local and sustainable growth. Art month discussions often revolve around strategies to nurture and support the local art community, ensuring it is not solely dependent on foreign shifts. The challenge lies in establishing a sustainable future and maintaining the longevity of the African art scene. For Art X and its founder, Tokini Peterside-Schwebig, Africa’s voice in the mainstream art world is not a passing trend but an essential and enduring presence.


Art X and Lagos’ “art month” have become catalysts for Nigeria’s re-emergence as an international art hub. Despite economic challenges and political uncertainties, the art industry in Nigeria continues to thrive, with African artists gaining recognition and representation. The success of Art X and other exhibitions during art month showcases the resilience and commitment of the local art community. As the industry evolves, there is a growing focus on building local and sustainable growth, ensuring that Africa’s voice in the art world remains strong and influential.






Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *