AFC, Ecobank, Soto Gallery to Host +234Art International Exhibition for African art

The Africa Finance Corporation (AFC), the continent’s leading instrumental infrastructure solutions provider, in collaboration with Ecobank Nigeria and Soto Gallery will host the +234Art Fair, a 10-day international exhibition to promote Africa’s art and its artists.

The exhibition will display over 1000 works of art from emerging and “un-galleried” artists starting Friday March 22, 2024 at the Ecobank Pan African Centre (EPAC) on 270 Ozumba Mbadiwe Avenue, Victoria Island, Lagos.

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Announcing the partnership in Lagos, President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of AFC, Samaila Zubairu, said: “The +234Art Fair aligns with AFC’s advocacy strategy of empowering and elevating Africa’s youthful population, thereby fostering job creation, skills development, value retention and rapid economic growth.

“We are proud to collaborate with Ecobank to help drive Africa’s creative industry forward by creating a catalyst for promoting African art and artists locally and on the global stage.”

Commenting on the exhibition, Managing Director and Regional Executive, Ecobank Nigeria, Bolaji Lawal, said: “Our shared objective as the pan-African Bank is to project Africa’s creatives including visual artists, by highlighting and developing talent, and providing a platform and opportunities for artists to showcase their works locally and globally.

“All arrangements are in place to make the fair exciting and fulfilling for both the ‘un-galleried’ artists and art enthusiasts across the world. We are so impressed with the interest and enthusiasm generated among young and emerging artists.”

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Curated by one of Africa’s foremost art collections, Soto Gallery, Ecobank and AFC’s approach sets out to catalyze the creative sector by enabling emerging artists to achieve recognition and livelihoods, contributing to economic growth through art sales locally and internationally.

Alongside showcasing artwork, +234Art Fair will focus on enhancing the creative skills of participating artists through workshops with established local and international artists. A series of discussions between artists, collectors, gallery and visitors to exhibitions will impart critical knowledge of the global art world.

The exhibition’s title ‘+234Art’ combines Nigeria’s country dialing code with the concept of art to signpost a thorough exposition of what regional art looks like today, and how it interacts with the larger art community across the continent and beyond.

Founder of Soto Gallery, Tola Akerele, said with the theme: A New Heritage, the maiden exhibition reflects the melting pot of artistic creativity from different strata and states,

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“In presenting ‘A New Heritage,’ the +234Art Fair seeks to connect Nigerian art from the past to the present, fostering a sense of pride and purpose among emerging artists. The event prompts essential questions: What does it mean to be a Nigerian artist? What heritage underlies our artistic practice? How can we celebrate emerging artists, knowing they will contribute to our artistic heritage and legacy in the future?”

Already, hundreds of works of art have arrived at the 2,000 square meter venue in preparation for the exhibition.

Highlights of the +234Art Fair include different art exhibits that will feature paintings, sculptures, curated photography by Lagos Photo, an international photography festival presented in Nigeria, and compelling art installations, each with price tags to spur an affordable local marketplace.

 There will also be an art-centric bookstore: A curated selection of publications celebrating the richness of African arts and culture and an immersive children’s area aimed at nurturing young minds with a dedicated art tour and a delightful play area for our youngest art enthusiasts.

 Others are a VIP lounge: An exclusive space for connoisseurs to immerse themselves in the artistic ambiance; culinary delights: A rich culinary experience awaits visitors at our in-house food court and master classes and workshops targeted at thought-provoking conversations and engaging sessions for dialogue, knowledge sharing and creative exploration.

Joshua Okoria

Joshua Okoria is a Lagos based multi-skilled journalist covering the maritime industry. His ICT and graphic design skills makes him a resourceful person in any modern newsroom. He read mass communication at the Olabisi Onabanjo University and has sharpened his knowledge in media practice from several other short courses. 07030562600,

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