The First Annual LagosPhoto Fundraiser Attracts Leading Celebrities and Sets Record-Breaking Sales of Contemporary Nigerian Photography.
Stars and celebrities such as Seun Kuti, Tiwa Savage, Basketmouth, Kelechi Amadi Obi and Temi Dollface, rolled out in support of contemporary photography for the for the first annual LagosPhoto Fundraiser at the Eko Hotels & Suites on 23 September. As the intimate candle-lit dinner was underway and a musical performance by Sésu was drawing to an end, the distinguished guests of the LagosPhoto Fundraiser buzzed in anticipation for the Live Auction that was about to take place. As prices for art photography have soared globally in recent years and a new emphasis on photography in contemporary art has placed the medium in a prime spotlight, the art collectors, patrons, and tastemakers who attended the black-tie LagosPhoto Fundraiser knew well that such an auction could make Nigerian art history.
The LagosPhoto Fundraiser is an annual event that celebrates the promotion of photography in Lagos and runs in conjunction with the LagosPhoto Festival. Launched in 2010, LagosPhoto is the first and only international arts festival of photography in Nigeria. Events include exhibitions, workshops, and large scale outdoor prints displayed throughout the city with the aim of reclaiming public spaces and engaging the general public with multifaceted stories of Africa. In its inaugural incarnation, the LagosPhoto Fundraiser aims to benefit the newly created LagosPhoto Foundation, which will serve as an extension of the annual festival and create a year-around permanent home of contemporary photography in Lagos.
The evening began with intimate cocktails provided by Grey Goose, where guests were able to inspect the photographs that would be auctioned. With major support provided by the Eko Hotel & Suites, Mr. Femi Lijadu served as the Chairman for the evening and Wunika Mukan served as the Master of Ceremonies. With inspirational speeches from Zainab Ashadu, Head of Public Relations for LagosPhoto, Kelechi Amadi Obi, leading Nigerian fashion photographer, Ndidi Okpaluba, Director, PMO and Operational Strategy, Etisalat, and Mr. Femi Lijadu, the audience was taken through a journey of the photographic community in Nigeria in an effort to highlight the importance of the art medium as a driving social force. Musical performances by Pauline Udiagha, Sésu, Temi Dollface, and a comedy sketch by Basketmouth set the mood for the lively festivities, and a three course meal added to the simplistic grandeur of the evening.
The highlight of the evening culminated in a record-breaking live auction led by Roger Woodbridge, MD of Mainstreet Bank, of photographs that were included in the previous two editions of LagosPhoto. Photographers included leading local and international photographers such as Peter DiCampo, Benedicte Kurzen, Caline Chagoury, Hans Wilschut, Kadir van Lohuizen, Kelechi Amadi Obi, Medina Dugger, Judith Quax, Chantal Heijnen, Nana Kofi-Acquah, Alafuro Sikoki, Héctor Mediavilla, and Alfredo D’Amato. As the paddles were continually raised and friendly competition for the winning bids stirred in the air, auction prices set record highs when Caline Chagoury’s Delaissé (Left Behind) sold for N5,000,000 and Hans Wilschut’s The Warp sold for N2,800,000. The live auction garnered a total of N13,675,000, allowing the LagosPhoto Foundation to implement exciting new photographic projects in Lagos. The record breaking sales at the LagosPhoto Fundraiser cement photography’s prime place in the contemporary art scene in Lagos and set a precedent for the future of Nigerian contemporary art.
LagosPhoto opens on 13 October 2012 at the Eko Hotel & Suites, with nine simultaneous satellite exhibition venues including the African Artists’ Foundation, A White Space, Nimbus Gallery, Omenka Gallery, Muri Okunola Park, University of Lagos, and the Falomo Roundabout. Internationally renowned photojournalist Stanley Greene will serve as Artistic Director under the theme “Seven Days in the Life of Lagos”, exploring the energy and vibrance that makes the city of Lagos such a unique place. Anton Cobijn’s photographs of Fela Kuti in the early 1980s will also be exhibited at the Kalakuta Fela Museum in a partnership between Felabration and LagosPhoto. An exhibition of photographs that document the demolition of Makoko will inaugurate the newly created LagosPhoto Projects series, where groups of photographers, videographers, and journalists intervene in public spaces to reveal stories of the changing social landscape in Nigeria. The Etisalat Photography Competition winners will also be announced, giving a voice and opportunity to emerging photographers and ushering in the next generation of the Nigerian photography scene.
As a result of the support of its photographers and donors who have donated and participated in the LagosPhoto Fundraiser Auction, it is now possible to bring LagosPhoto one step further in documenting and inspiring change through photography – Joseph Gergel
LagosPhoto opens with an invitation-only VIP Preview on 12 October 2012 at the Eko Hotel & Suites. The Grand Opening Ceremony will take place on 13 October 2012 at the Eko Hotel and Suites. For more information about the programme, please visit the LagosPhoto website at www.lagosphotofestival.com.
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