From epic art exhibitions to illuminating festivals, here are the 10 biggest moments in Arts and Culture in 2018.
1. GTB Food and Drink Fair 2018
The GTB Food and Drink Fair is the peak of cuisine culture in Lagos. As usual, this year’s edition brought the foodies, the first-timers, the casual fans, the career chefs and the businesses together under the big banner of the fair to celebrate the wealth of Nigerian food. The mouthwatering food, vibrant masterclasses, the illustrious farmers market, cold drinks to bring respite from the hot sun, and the overall vibe prove that the GTB Food and Drink Fair 2018 was an intense melting pot for culture and persons in Lagos.
2. Art X Lagos
As usual, Art X Lagos 2018 was a great representation of Nigeria and Africa’s growing credentials on the global contemporary art scene. From November 2-4, 50 pan-African artists from across the world and a total of 18 leading international art galleries came to show their stuff at the third iteration of ART X Lagos holding at the Civic Center, Lagos. This time, the exhibition held its door open to esteemed dignitaries such as the Ooni of Ife Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, the Obi of Onitsha HRM Igwe Nnaemeka Alfred Achebe, and other notable names such as Herbert Wigwe, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, and many other art enthusiasts.
There was the highlight exhibition from Keynote Artist Yinka Shonibare MBE and of course, a solo exhibition from 2018 ART X Prize with Access winner, Bolatito Aderemi-Ibitola. There were also musical performances from Teni the entertainer, Odunsi, BOJ, amongst others.
However, the zenith of the event was the exhibition of legendary Ben Enwonwu’s‘Tutu’, 1974, which was auctioned out at £1.2 million ($1.67 million) and became the highest valued work of Nigerian modern art ever sold. This was the painting’s first public display in Nigeria since 1975 when it was last shown in Lagos.
3. Ake Arts and Book fest
Ake is the most anticipated annual book festival in Nigeria. For the first time in Aké history, the festival was brought "home" to Lagos but that did not take away from the charm. This year's Aké Arts and Book festival, under the theme "Fantastical Futures" held at Radisson Blu Hotel, Ikeja GRA, Lagos, with distinguished guests in attendance such as the Vice President of Nigeria, Professor Yemi Osinbajo. The intense three days had lit book chats, panels, concert, films and the critically acclaimed play, The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives — everything was a hit, back to back.
4. Sao and the Muse 3
Sao and the Muse is not your typical art exhibition, and this year’s proved to be no different. Every year, Sao Cafe Lagos hosts the coolest kids of Lagos to a time of incredible art and lavish fashion all coming together to make a fantastic creative showcase. The three days of the exhibition flooded social media with pictures of Lagosians on the hand-painted vintage Dodge Challenger or in the vibrantly coloured vintage home. Of course, the general vibe was wavy, food was great and so was the music.
5. Chimamanda in Lagos
In September, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie was hosted by her Nigerian publishers, Narrative Landscape Press, in Lagos. The event was packed with fans as well as critics, and had her in conversation about her books and spilling secrets about recent and upcoming projects. She also spoke about feminism, addressed certain comments she had made previously in the media and gave her opinion on bride price and how she feels about Nigerian media. Most of her comments still elicited much buzz in Nigerian media and had many talking about her visit for days. Read about all that went down here.
6. Chale Wote festival
Though in Ghana, this annual street art festival drew people and artists from all over the world, including many Nigerians, to come and witness Accra in its prime form. This year's festival, under the theme ‘Para-other’, was indeed an aesthetic that indeed transcended language. From the street style to the eccentric street art, to the procession of Ga chiefs, Chale Wote 2018 was the art enthusiast's paradise and had Nigerians flocking into Ghana throughout the month of August.
7. LIP Fest
In the month of October, the poets, writers, artists, and thinkers once again gathered at the annual Lagos International Poetry Festival to listen to conscious poetry and have conversations that tipped political and social power structures. The fun was not left out of the equation, as there was also great music, food and parties!
8. Bole Festival
It’s always a time to remember, whenever food is involved. One weekend in August, Portharcourt had the largest gathering of Bole enthusiasts we’ve ever seen in Nigeria. Bole Festival is an annual Bole celebration festival for food enthusiasts in search of fun and a full stomach. From Bole to Bole cake, just the pictures of the event alone had us drooling.
9. Durbar festival
Durbar festival, or Hawan Daushe, is Northern Nigeria's cultural treasure. The Durbar is celebrated at the end of Ramadan, Eid el-Fitr, and at the start of the pilgrimage to Mecca, Eid el-Kabir. Every year, the Durbar festival is celebrated with pomp and pageantry, and this year was no different. People from all over the country gathered in states like Bauchi, Kano, Bida in Niger state, Katsina, Sokoto and Kaduna. The colourful regalia, horsemen and stunts, were just some of the things that make Durbar festival one of the biggest cultural events this year.
10. Tamerri festival
This year’s Tamerri festival was where the alte and artistic kids of Abuja gathered to experience the Nigerian story in all art forms. This year’s Tamerri had all from bonfire camps to a time in African cinema to concerts that featured fantastic African artistes such as Brymo, to even a masquerade exhibition.