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The Art of Collecting: Intersection between design, art

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The Art of Collecting: Intersection between design, art

The African Culture and Design Festival, which presented specially curated pavilions on contemporary and traditional art and design, partnered the Wheatbaker boutique hotel to host a special Art of Collecting event on November 11.

This is on the heels of Art X Lagos, West Africa’s premiere art fair, which recorded over 9,000 visitors at the beginning of November, the African Culture and Design Festival (ACDF) opened last week, attracting delegates from over 100 countries to discuss how world class design can positively impact human development and ensure social progress.

In his remarks, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr. Okechukwu Enelamah, highlighted the importance of the creative industry in strengthening the nation’s economy.

He said: “The future is bright. Numbers do not lie and (recent market) figures tell the story of an industry that is evolving from a marginal to a sizeable segment of the economy.” Highlight of the event was a panel discussion by seasoned Nigerian and international collectors, sharing lessons learned on building private and corporate art collections.

Amongst the panelists was Femi Akinsanya, who has built a museum quality collection of traditional African Art. He spoke alongside author and art critic, Jess Castellote, who has just published “Collecting Art: A Handbook” and Professor Ebun Clark, who was the first Director of the University of Lagos Faculty of Arts.

The panel was moderated by Papa Omotayo, founder of A Whitespace Creative Agency, who is fast becoming a leading contemporary urban design activist. A pioneer in strategically combining art and hospitality, The Wheatbaker “opened its permanent art collection to the public for the first time, showcasing 30 exceptional paintings, sculptures and mixed media works by leading and emerging artists.

The works range from contemporary masters Billy Omabegho, Tayo Adenaike and Obiora Anidi, to award winning artists, Olu Amoda and Peju Alatise, who represented Nigeria at this year’s Venice Biennale to much acclaim. “We have always seen art as an integral part of our corporate DNA, allowing our guests to find solace and inspiration from what is displayed on our walls,” director of the Wheatbaker, Mosun Ogunbanjo, said. According to him, Wheatbaker has hosted 22 curated shows in only six years of its existence.

“Before we completed the hotel, we had set aside significant resources for art, and continue to invest in providing an important regular platform for local and international artists through our quarterly exhibitions,” he added. Also, President of the Interior Design Association of Nigeria (IDAN), Titi Ogufere, said: “The big picture as far as art and design is concerned is that it draws from ideals that are traditional, and also shows influences that depict an intercultural undertone.”

The President of the International Federation of Interior Architects and Designers (IFI), Sebastiano Raneri, acknowledged the importance of Nigeria hosting the IFI’s global congress on the continent.

He noted that: “The ACDF brought together renowned African curators, artists, and collectors from some of the top cultural institutions in Nigeria to showcase traditional, modern and contemporary African art, design and film for a world audience.” Also, founder of SMO Contemporary Art, Sandra Mbanefo Obiago, who has curated the Wheatbaker art events since inception said the event is about “the vital intersection between culture, design and art for our human development.

He said: “We are delighted that many hotels are now using art and hospitality to strengthen creativity in Nigeria, and provide an important platform for art and innovation.”

The event was sponsored by the German wine brand, Louis Guntrum, and Sterling Bank, which has invested in yearly art competitions, including this year’s RecycleArt Initiative, which will announce its winners this week.

“Sterling Bank is committed to supporting art in Africa to strengthen our economy and social development,” said Henry Bassey, the bank’s Chief Marketing Officer, who has used art to further cultural development over the past 20 years in Nigeria, South Africa and the UK. The exhibition continues until the end of November.

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