Creative fusion of art, tech at Lasmara Artists Fair

From left: Femi Adebayo of 9mobile; Founder, Lasmara Art Consultancy, Hana Omilani; and Ag. Managing Director, 9mobile, Stephane Beuvelet, at the VIP opening of Impart Artists Fair

THE weekend of October 25 to 27 was a beautiful one for art loverswho converged on Alpha One, Eko Atlantic, Victoria Island, Lagos for the Impart Artists Fair that fused technology with the incredible talents of African artists.

Curated by Hana Omilani, Founder and Director of Lasmara Arts Consultancy, the fair themed ‘Arts meet Tech’ sought to promote African artists and raise the value of African art.

The setting was unique as works by established, and emerging artists rubbed shoulders in the tastefully decorated and expansive exhibition hall. Ato Arinze, Roanna Tella, Kobina Nyarko, Haneefah Adam, Mark Noina and Salwa Mohammed amongst others all showed during the Fair.

Explaining the beginnings of the show, Omilani, an Eritrean married to a Nigerian, said: “Over the years, we’ve been working on different projects, including exhibitions and auctions. However, in the past year, we felt that there was a big gap in this African market. I felt that artists were doing a lot from their side and covering some areas that in any other environment should not be theirs. I felt that African artists were doing almost everything, the production, the marketing and the sales. So, I felt the responsibility to create a platform to promote that. Impart Artist Fair is the first platform we are creating to promote African artists and raise the value of African art.”

Apart from contemporary artworks, the Fair also featured immersive technology like virtual and augmented reality that enabled guests and enthusiasts to enjoy art in a more experiential way.From soundless discussion panels to screening on virtual reality, technology was an integral part.

‘Arts Meet Tech’ also featured a digital graffiti wall where visitors could spray paint their imagination on a digital board and have them printed, emailed to them or posted directly on social media.

On the fusion of technology, Omilani said: “I believe that the tech sector has a vast creative amount of potential that is not exposed, especially in our African market. Some creatives in this tech sector are working, that nobody has heard of, but they are artists in their rights. But in the first instance, it is to use technology to promote African artists.”

She added that “technology, for us, is essential and vital. We cannot be left behind in the creative sector. If we don’t catch up with technology, we will be left behind. If we are left behind in the tech sector, that means, even our traditional artists are going to be left behind even more. We also use it as a tool to promote them.”

Another novelty at the fair was that people from all over the world could do a virtual tour of the exhibition and have a feel of the works on display via a unique link.

The fair brought together buyers, collectors, institutions as well as artists from across Nigeria all over Nigeria but also from other African countries like Kenya, Zimbabwe, Cameroun, Ivory Coast, and Sudan.

It also featured the screening of the documentary film, ‘The Daughters of Chibok’ on virtual reality as well as several animation screenings. Happily, this is only the beginning as Omilani intends to take the exhibition to different African cities.

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