AFC Joins Ecobank , Soto Gallery ,Host +234Art International Art Exhibition , Elevates African Art , Empower artists 

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

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

Announcing the partnership in Lagos, Samaila Zubairu, President & CEO of Africa Finance Corporation, 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, Bolaji Lawal, Managing Director and Regional Executive, Ecobank Nigeria 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.”

Curated by Soto Gallery, one of Africa’s foremost art collections, the collaborative approach by Ecobank and AFC 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, gallerists, and exhibition visitors 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.

The thematic direction for the maiden exhibition – ‘A New Heritage’ – reflects the melting pot of artistic creativity from different strata and states, said Tola Akerele, Founder of the Soto Gallery. “In presenting ‘A New Heritage,’ +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:

Diverse art exhibits: 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.

Art-centric bookstore: A curated selection of publications celebrating the richness of African arts and culture.

Immersive children’s area: Nurturing young minds with a dedicated art tour and a delightful play area for our youngest art enthusiasts.

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.

Engaging masterclasses and workshops: Thought-provoking conversations and engaging sessions that provide a platform for dialogue, knowledge sharing, and creative exploration.

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