Last year, with just a few days to go before the first Art X Lagos fair, only 800 people had registered to attend what was to become West Africa’s premier art fair. This year, 4,000 people have already registered and organizer Tokini Peterside is relying on Nigerians’ notorious love of last-minute planning to top the 5,000 visitors who eventually visited last year’s debut fair.

More so, the rising numbers of visitors and sponsors are testament to the world’s growing interest in African art and the increasing number of collectors on the continent. It’s also part of the commercial success of international art fairs. While the global art world is now wrestling with just how disruptive art fairs have become to the traditional business model of galleries marketing art and artists, in Africa they’re opening up a new market.

Art X Lagos follows a similar format that has made art fairs around the world so successful—including dozens of artists, live performances and a program of speakers—with one notable exception: it positions itself as an international art fair in a region that has largely been neglected by the global art industry. Read more