For President Emmanuel Macron, ART X Lagos exhibits contemporary Nigerian art

French President Emmanuel Macron (C) dances next to Lagos Governor Akinwunmi Ambode (L) at the Shrine Afrika in Lagos on July 3, 2018.<br /> French President Emmanuel Macron has arrived in Abuja for a meeting with his Nigerian counterpart Muhammadu Buhari, in his latest attempt to forge closer ties with English-speaking Africa. / AFP PHOTO / POOL / Ludovic MARIN

ART X Lagos was not left out during French President Emmanuel Macron’s visit to the iconic New Afrika Shrine, as it curated a special exhibition of artworks.The show featured works by three of Nigeria’s leading contemporary artists, Victor Ehikhamenor, Abraham Oghobase and Ndidi Emefiele.

Macron, who is a lover of the arts, is currently working towards making France more attractive to artists from all over the world, with a particular interest in African contemporary art and talent.

It was an opportunity for ART X Lagos founder, Tokini Peterside, introduced the artists to the French President Emmanuel Macron and the Lagos State Governor, Akinwumi Ambode. The work on display covered a wide range of forms including, photography and mixed media.

While presenting his work to Macron, photographer Oghobase said, “meeting Macron, Ambode and other distinguished guests, was a fantastic and surreal experience. I was honoured to exhibit my work alongside Emefiele and Ehikhamenor as part of the ART X Lagos special presentation. ‘Ecstatic’ is a series that means a lot to me for its place in my early artistic journey as well as for how it connects me to the city of Lagos, where I was born, brought up and have lived for most of my life. I truly appreciate the hard work by all of the event’s organisers, especially the ART X Lagos team.”

Award winning visual artist and writer Ehikhamenor, remarked, “what makes or mars a nation state is the range of its critical cultural output. In the past, Nigerian rulers and cultural promoters have neglected the visual arts and relegated their importance. The addition of curated visuals by ART X Lagos to the cultural event during President Macron’s visit to the New Afrika Shrine in Lagos strengthens this belief in the value and importance of our artistic production. Thank you to ART X Lagos and the show’s organisers for this important moment in our contemporary history.”

The culture showcase was one of Macron’s stops during a two-day visit to Nigeria focused on fostering bilateral relationships based on socio-cultural interaction and cooperation. He also announced the launch of the African Cultural Season, scheduled to hold in France in 2020.

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