2017 Nigeria Art Market Report

2017 Nigeria Art Market Report

In 2014, Tayo Fagbule and I prepared the first of the yearly reports on the Nigerian art market. Four years later, we continue our efforts to provide collectors, artists, art institutions, academics and investors with a reliable tool to assess the development and evolution of the Nigerian art market. For all these players in the Nigerian and international art worlds, data is of primary importance in making informed decisions, but the art market is a social system notorious for its opacity. Whether in the primary or secondary markets, most acquisitions, sales and disposals of artworks are done privately. On the other hand, publicly available auction results, though they offer only a view of a segment of the whole market, give art economists and researchers the opportunity to analyse data in a consistent way and to identify trends and significant variations.

For this report on 2017, we have used the results from nine African art auctions in which there was a predominant or significant presence of artworks by Nigerian artists. Since this is a study of the Nigerian art market, we have not considered other auctions in Africa where Nigerian artists were not present. Four of these nine auctions took place in Lagos: three at Arthouse Contemporary and one at SOGAL auctions. Three others took place in London: two at Bonhams and one at Sotheby’s. The last two held at Piasa, in Paris.

Since the focus of the report is the Nigerian market we have not included the results of Nigerian artists who do not have a presence in the Nigerian market. The case of Njideka Akunyili Crosby is relevant. She is a Nigerian artist but it would be difficult to argue that she is part of the Nigerian–or even, the African- art market. In 2017, her works appeared and obtained better results than any other Nigerian artist, but interestingly, none of her works was included in African auctions, but in international auctions.

In the case of El Anatsui, he maintains a strong presence in both African and international art auctions. By aggregating and analysing these results, we hope to offer the readers a significant amount of quantitative data and a valuable insight into the value, volume, location and segmentation of the artworks by in the Nigerian art market in 2017.

This documentation and analysis of the performance of artworks sold at auctions will, hopefully, draw the attention of young and established collectors, art advisors and other art industry stakeholders to this segment of the thriving creative industries in the country.

Despite its relatively small size compared with other established art markets, the one in Nigeria continues showing a remarkable vitality. As a result of the creation of greater awareness, this report, and subsequent ones will contribute to the growth of the visual arts in Nigeria.

The report is published by the Foundation for Contemporary and Modern Visual Arts (FCMVA) and sponsored by Diamond Bank Plc. I would like to thank both organizations for their support, and specially Yinka Fisher, chairman of FCMVA and Uzoma Dozie, Managing Director of Diamond Bank Plc. Both of them greatly appreciate the value of the arts in any society and have for years supported initiatives aimed at making the Nigeria artworld a deeper and broader one. I would also like to extend my gratitude to Toyin Akinosho, Tayo Fagbule and Sinmi Olayebi, whose research and study of the market made this report possible. Finally, I would like to thank Eche Mpadi for his patient work in compiling and structuring the data.

Thanks to you all.


Click here for the full report.


Lagos-based Spanish architect Jess Castellote started out in Nigeria as a project manager as early as 1984. He has since then combined his professional work with an intense involvement in the Nigerian art scene, as well as organizing significant exhibitions. Castellote has also maintained a widely accessed blog on contemporary art in Nigeria since 2008, “A View from My Corner”, written two books; "Contemporary Nigerian Art in Lagos Private Collection: New Trees in an Old Forest" and "Oshinowo", as well as published several papers focused on developing the Nigerian art scene. In addition, he has acted as an independent art advisor to several private and corporate bodies. He is presently the Director of the Virtual Museum of Modern Nigerian Art, an online educational resource he initiated at the Pan-African University, Lagos.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *