This time 2 weeks ago, I had landed in New York after a full day of travelling, rested for a little bit and was on schedule to meet up with my partners in crime for what was my very first art fair!! (Whoop! Whoop!)
Participating in the 8th Annual Art Hamptons was a great opportunity to showcase some of the super talented Artists that Nigeria has to a different community and what a great experience it was!
The process of attending had started sometime in March, brainstorming with my co-participator Ayo Adeyinka of Tafeta London. Ayo has 10 years of experience in the art business so I relied on him to steer the ship! I learnt a whole lot in the process, the creative process (deciding what artist to show and how to display the works), the administrative process (paper work seemed endless!) and the funding process (ah, another story for another day!)
I have lived and worked in the U.S, and although I had visited New York a few times, I had never been to the Hamptons. So part of the excitement for me was getting to experience a new town for the first time. We got to the Hamptons on a Wednesday evening to set up. Photographer extraordinaire Jide Alakija was kind enough to drive us down, exhibiting Artist Victor Ehikhamenor also came along on the trip, having just finished a residency in Italy and visiting family in the U.S.
I get excited at everything, so pardon me. I got excited when I saw our booth, when I saw our crate inside the booth, when I saw our names written beside the booth, the catalog, our page in the catalog; the entire thing was exciting!
Setting up would be a breeze, or so we thought. We didn’t have some supplies, so rushed to the hardware store to get materials. I found out a few tidbits on the Hamptons during the process, most stores close really early! Who closes at 5pm?
Anyway, as we unwrapped the works, we realized that some of the works had shifted around due to the long distance shipping. Bummer! We had to manually try and fix them. Time was running out and the security folks at the Art Hamptons fair ground don’t play! They kicked us out at 9pm.
The next day, it turned out the “manual labor” we had been through the previous night didn’t help much. With the help of the fair organizers, we were able to get a solution going.
Opening night was great and the other days flew by so quickly! Press and attendees loved our booth, so many important people stopped by and we were quite glad at the feedback we were getting. Our booth was the talk of the fair, coming from far away Lagos; other galleries even sent people to see our works. We were super proud of that! It is one thing for attendees to love our booth, but for other participating galleries to recommend us? Speechless!
One minor downside was how unbelievably cold the tent was. The AC on the fair grounds was on full blast!!! Several attendees came by wondering why it was so cold. One said to me “Is it so cold because the art works need to be kept under a certain temperature?” (Ah no o! even if, are the art works ice block?), another one said “I hear its so cold because it gives off a “rich” feel” (Ah lets act rich then!)
All in all, I was so happy that our hard work and also Rele’s vision of exposing a larger, global audience for Nigerian art was tested to a positive outcome.
We can't wait to share our next adventure with you!
Thank you for reading,
Adenrele Sonariwo xxx