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Art X Lagos introduces a new short film series, Art Across Borders. This special project highlights impactful figures in the African art scene by showcasing meaningful voices rising across the continent. The film series was conceived to inspire the emerging initiatives within the African creative ecosystem.

Art Across Borders is supported by Afreximbank, a Pan-African development institution that seeks to foster, develop and encourage intra-African exchange, with the visual arts as a key anchor of its mission for the continent’s creative and culture industries. Afreximbank is responsible for the launch of the Intra-African Trade Fair (IATF). By bringing together both the business community and policy stakeholders, IATF is not only a unique platform for boosting trade, but a step towards sustainably addressing the gap in trade on the continent.


Nengi Omuku (Nigeria)

Nengi Omuku photographed by Saze Ibraheem

For the first episode of Art Across Borders, which is now streaming here, we meet Nengi Omuku in her Lagos studio. Through her organic body of work, Nengi explores her relationship with the body, conceived as the sensitive key that allows her regain ownership of her identity, emotions and power.

Omuku was commissioned by the Arts Council England in 2018 to paint a mural within an intensive care psychiatric facility in London. Due to the impact of the commission, she later founded The Art of Healing (TAOH), an organisation that uses art therapy to support people in challenging circumstances.

Her works have been collected by private and public international collections including the HSBC Art Collection, the Beth Rudin DeWoody Collection and the Dawn Art Collection.

Hassan Hajjaj (Morocco)

Hassan Hajjaj photographed by Abaoui Ahmed

Hassan Hajjaj creates layered artworks by blending together traditional elements from his North African culture with pop references from the Western world. His works are greatly influenced by the many encounters he has had with popular figures from the global sport and art scenes throughout his career.

In 2011, Hajjaj launched an iconic venue in Morocco’s creative scene, known as Riad Yiad. Riad Yiad is an art residency and events space in Marrakech, which brings together a diverse community of art enthusiasts to celebrate culture in its multiple dimensions.

Hajjaj’s works are part of some of the world’s most important collections, including the Guggenheim Museum, the Museum of African Contemporary Art Al Maaden (MACAAL), the Brooklyn Museum, the Victoria and Albert Museum, and The British Museum.

Mary Sibande (South Africa)

Mary Sibande photographed by Jodie Bieber

In her work, Mary Sibande explores the concepts of family and heritage that offers a reinterpretation of her own family’s history in South Africa. Her photographs and sculptures provide vibrant metaphors of black women’s power and deconstruct the traditional stereotypes associated with them.

Since 2016, Sibande has actively supported ActionAid South Africa and the Young Urban Women Programme’s fundraising campaigns to foster the development of art education programmes that target young girls from the township communities.

Over the course of her artistic career, Sibande represented South Africa at the 54th Venice Biennale (2011), and received numerous awards including the prestigious Smithsonian National Museum of African Arts Award, and the Standard Bank Young Artist Award in the Visual Arts category.

Boniface Maina (Kenya)

Boniface Maina photographed by Densu Moseti

Boniface Maina projects a highly personal style on his mysterious surrealist canvases, inspired by the mundane encounters of his daily life.

In 2013, he co-founded Brush Tu Collective, a collaborative studio space aimed at fostering collaborations within the Kenyan artistic scene.

His works have been presented in Transitions at Nairobi Gallery (2017), and in Waiting, Watching and Wishing at Circle Art Gallery (2020), another solo exhibition held in the Kenyan capital. Maina has also participated in group shows in Johannesburg, Paris, Dubai and Venice.

Make sure to visit Art X Media to watch Art Across Borders.

See also: ART X Live! Presents A Breakdown Of Oxlade’s ‘LIKE SOMEONE’S WATCHING’

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