I recently had the pleasure of attending Africa Now: Contemporary art auction at Bonhams, London and what a night it was. Art, Music, Fashion and Culture all fused together; a night full of glamour, interest and fun! The event featured the likes of African artists such as William Kentridge, Peju Alatise, Gerard Quenum, Yinka Shonibare MBE plus more. There was also an array of entertainment on the night. African drummers, african dancers, models…you name!
The celebration and auctioning of African art at Bonhams was not the first to take place on Oct 6th, 2016. Oh no. Bonhams held it’s first African art auction in 2009 and now holds two auctions per year to showcase ‘Modern art’ and ‘Contemporary art’, to showcase the difference art forms in their own right. In May, the ‘Africa Now: Modern art’ auction saw record sales, reaching nearly 2 million!
Hosting the spectacular Africa Now: Contemporary art event at the international auction house, were the two hottest names in music and fashion, sisters Dj Cuppy and Temi ‘JTO Fashion’ Otedola . The event was also being held in partnership with Aliko Dangote’s ‘Dangote Foundation’.
As soon as you entered the venue, drinks and canapes were available and never stopped flowing with only the best of the best. Models circled the event laced in skilfully designed ankara, with the beat of the african drum accompanying their every move. The fashion presentation was actually masterminded by Temi Otedola.
I mingled, networked and connected with so many talented professionals on the night. I even bumped into old friends who are now doing extremely well either in fashion, music etc. I can’t explain how thrilling it was to be around so many creatives and professionals, all enjoying and celebrating African art, music and fashion under one roof.
In attendance were Aliko Dangote, Femi & Nana Otedola, The Mbadiwe Twins, Alex Amosu, Burna Boy, Lola Rae, Footballer Victor Anichebe, Producer/Artist Maleek Berry, owners of UK fashion brand Marbek…..the list of influentials in attendance goes on.
My personal favourite was a piece by Ghanaian born artist, El Anatsui. To view the collection which was on show at the event, please click here.
To close the night, ‘Dj Cuppy’ showcased her amazing spinning skills with a thrilling, interactive dj set which fused an array of Afrobeat, Pop and songs from other genres. Dancers assisted with performing african dance moves to the vibrant music selection. The dancers even handed out shakers to the audience to enable them to get involved in the musical set.
But even after Dj Cuppy’s musical performance, people just didn’t want to leave! I was one of the last few who were still mingling until the end and didn’t to leave. The energy, the vibe, the settings and people, all left me with a positive buzz from the event which till now, cannot be shifted.
So, what did I take from the event:
Firstly, the love of art was definitely triggered. I loved art as a child, in fact if anyone asked me what I wanted to be, it was to be ‘an artist’. My mum being the supportive mother that she is, would take me galleries all over London on either a Saturday or Sunday, take me to art shops where I would spend hours looking at products I wanted and then get after begging her to buy them for me.
Secondly, the one thing I love about the Otedola sisters, is that they embrace their african roots and use their platforms to showcase the beauty and vibrance of African culture. Its noticeable in both of their work, continuously and something which not many dare to do!
Thirdly, that I MUST attend the next African Now: Modern Art event. It would be interesting to see the difference in style of masterpieces available for auction and again witness African art at it’s finest; in a setting filled with likeminded professionals/creatives.