Monday, 14 August 2017

Nigeria is where it's a(r)t... November event (Art x Lagos)

Tokini Peterside is generating a lot of buzz in the art world - and with good reason. She is emerging as a dynamic force in bringing about recognition of West African art to the wider audience - and going about it in a very savvy way.

Tokini Peterside

She is the Creator of Art x Lagos West Africa’s first international contemporary art fair - which should surely be a Lagosian art lover’s dream. It brings together artworks from different artists in Nigeria, West Africa and the rest of the world with the objective to showcase the best and most innovative contemporary art from the African continent and the diaspora and was created in 2016, which went well.

She’s come to London, UK so she can spread the word about Art x Lagos, so we meet at Kaffeine, Great Titchfield Street, and here I see a professional, polished, and accomplished young woman - and why wouldn’t I? She is 31 and as a Strategic Consultant already helped launch Maki Oh - a fashion label worn by the likes of Michelle Obama and Solange Knowles and ALARA - the luxury concept store in Lagos designed by David Adjaye. She also ran the marketing campaign for Half of a Yellow Sun - the film based on Chimamanda Ndidi Adichie’s award-winning novel of the same name, which starred Thandie Newton and Chiwetel Ejiofor.

Sans TĂȘte by Amadou Sanogo, courtesy Galerie Medina - from the 2016 exhibition


Art x Lagos will be taking place at The Civic Centre, Victoria Island Lagos in November 2017 and Tokini told me how it came about: “It came about because I recognised there was a very big gap in Nigeria between the tremendous activity we saw in the arts sector, for solo exhibitions but then locally amongst affluent potential buyers there wasn’t much activity, so we thought it would be good for Nigeria to create a strong nucleus and core for the artists from Nigeria, in the West African region, and around the continent, so we created Art x Lagos to connect the local and international arts scene on the global cultural map.”

I asked Tokini who would be attending, she added: “We have a really broad audience - Art x Lagos is open for three days. The first day is invite only, amongst VIPs etc. On the second and third day we get people from all walks of life attending, free to attend to ensure as many people as possible and from Nigeria and beyond. We have some artists confirmed: Modupeola Fadugba, Alimi Adewale, Portia Zvavahera.” 


The artists Modupeola, Alimi and Portia will all be presented by their galleries SMO Contemporary (Nigeria), Art House The Space (Nigeria) and Stevenson Gallery (South Africa) at the next ART X Lagos art fair.


Back to Tokini, she was born in Otedo, Niger Delta, Nigeria, the family took on the name Peterside from the location of the island in which her grandfather’s great-grandfather was king. Tokini also holds an MBA from INSEAD and a First Class Law degree from LSE, so she has commercial chops. I asked her what the secret of her successful career so far and she said: “I guess the secret is passion. I get a lot of enjoyment from working on projects and people who are working in African contemporary culture and how we present that to a local African and global audience. Another secret is that I have a lot of support from mentors, family and friends I’ve made from the business sector who are never shy to share their ideas. My father Atedo Peterside launched an investment bank in the 80s at age 33 and that has been a huge inspiration for me launching Art X Lagos at a similar age.”

“One of the things I love about living in Nigeria is the amount of people willing to give ten minutes of their time in sharing their business secrets…” She lives by this rule of sharing knowledge and Art x Lagos has an executive team and advisory board.

As part of Art x Lagos Tokini is running Art x Live, an exciting concept live art and music performance, where, as you can imagine, pop and hip-hop musicians and artists perform alongside each other, creating an audio and visual experience. Last year they had music artists including Falana and Poe.

They will also host curated projects, six artists making work across mediums including photography, sculpture and installation, as well as a talks programme.

Next year they hope to expand Art X Lagos with a series of pre-fair events such as more music events, artist events and events targeted at collectors. But she’s keeping her lips sealed for now.

To budding artists who would like to get involved in ART X Lagos in future years, Tokini says: "I would advise that they attend the art fair and experience its many components, to see where they would be best suited."

Funding for Art X Lagos comes from Access Bank, 7Up and Anap Jets as well as Absolut Vodka will be sponsoring the Art x Live event. She adds: “As you know, Nigeria doesn’t have an Arts Council body that we can reach out to, nor investment funds, so it’s been a case of commercial funding.”

And with that Tokini’s publicist draws the interview to a close as she has a number of other meetings to attend. What a whirlwind Tokini is living in right now, and hopefully taking the art world by storm come November.

 Art X Lagos takes place in Lagos from 3rd to 5th November 2017. For more information visit artxlagos.com

Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Summer! Funniest chat-up lines

In the summertime, when the weather is hot, people can be funny and offer some very funny lines, here are two I remember so far:

"Black Beauty - are you okay?" (Not stopping to hear the answer)

"It's good to be beautiful!"

Please help me out here, I want to laugh hard! What's the funniest chat-up/opening line you've ever heard?

May your dreams be jolly and bright...

I hope the first half of 2017 went well for you.

I feel like I've taken more risks, started processes, received new messages and am learning along the way, and the second half of the year will bring about the manifestations of these new things I've learnt, so we shall see.

I hope the latter half of 2017 is stronger for you too.


Friday, 17 March 2017

Entrepreneur: Ape to Gentleman's Chris Beastall



There are certain people who when you are in contact with them, they exude graciousness and get-up-and-go, Chris Beastall is one. He's on a mission to get other men educated in all things grooming and lifestyle. I got to chat with him...
  1. What is the name and nature of your business?
Ape to Gentleman - an online men's grooming, fashion and lifestyle magazine helping the modern man continue his evolution through a focus on style, quality and value.

  1. How did you come up it?
It came from the desire to talk about men’s grooming in more detail - which was an emerging market. It’s since grown to encompass all things men’s lifestyle.

  1. What’s the structure of your business?
We have a small team at HQ, and a team of expert freelancers around the UK - who have strong knowledge in each of their sectors.
  1. What’s the USP of your business?
Men’s lifestyle features and brands through our own unique eye.

  1. What made you choose this type of business?
From a feeling there was a gap in the market to do something unique in the men’s online space - adhering to our target man and his values.

  1. How did you fund your business?
Self-funded entirely, with some investment from family.

  1. What are your responsibilities as the business owner?
As Editor - I’m in charge of overseeing the advertising, editorial schedule and managing our team.



  1. Where are you based and why there?
Based in Derbyshire, in the UK. It’s where I was born, and enjoy the Peak District and its fresh air. We all travel a lot so its handy for Manchester and Birmingham airport, and also just a short hour or so train ride to central London.

  1. What was the underlying mission for the business when you created it?
To help men - to educate them and make better decisions in their buying process. To make sure we feature what is best, and not just who has the biggest advertising budget.

  1. What do you think has been key to your success?
An honest approach, and providing useful information.

  1. Do you have staff or do you run the business alone?
We have myself and two full-time staff plus a small team of expert freelancers.

  1. And if you do, what do you look for in an employee/contributor?
Somebody who has love for what we are achieving at Ape - the brand and its values. And of course an in-depth knowledge of their field with an ability to convey it with beautiful words.

  1. How do you promote your business and its products/services - ie traditionally, via social media?
Social media, organic SEO traffic and our email newsletter.

  1. What are your future goals for the company?
To boost traffic with much more quality content and further cement our reputation as the go to for brands wishing to reach their target market - our beloved audience.
  1. If you had one piece of advice for a fellow entrepreneur, what would it be?
Find something you love doing, apply a business model to it and work like there’s no tomorrow.

You can check out Chris's site here


Monday, 6 February 2017

2017

I hope your first month of 2017 went well and you are working to reach your goals for the year ahead...

Blessings
x

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Autumn

Autumn always feels like a time for evaluation. Evaluating how you feel about yourself and how the year has progressed. Are you happy with how the months have evolved, your character; your interaction with friends; family; acquaintances; colleagues; lovers; enemies :)

Autumn is a beauty x

Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Music Review: Corinne Bailey Rae - The Heart Speaks in Whispers


I've been a fan of Grammy-winning Corinne Bailey Rae since her debut Like a Star - not so much Put Your Records On which was her biggest hit - so was really excited to hear she was releasing a new album. The Heart Speaks in Whispers is her third album, following her eponymous first album and the heartbreaking The Sea which was written in the midst of grief. 

I couldn't helped but be moved by the upbeat tone of the new album - there's a hint of Prince's Little Red Corvette or Raspberry Beret in Horse Print Dress. The kaleidoscope of emotions and tempo is Taken by Dreams moves me. There's an undertone of soul throughout the album with a host of different genres - funk rock, pop, jazz, lo-fi. There's a theme of the outer space and cosmos in and out of the album too.

In terms of collaborations it's exciting to see that the sister ladies from King (Amber Strother and Paris Strother) feature in the vocals.

No song immediately grabs me like Choux Pastry Heart, Enchantment or I Would Like to Call It Beauty but it's great to hear her sweet soulful vocals in a new body of work that sits cohesively as an album.

Download:
Tracks - 1, 4, 10

On another note, I read Corinne's thoughts on happiness on Garance Dore's site and it is so beautiful:

'On happiness…
I feel like it’s so easy for us to hold happiness away from ourselves, so you say “when I get that great job I’ll be happy” or “when I get a partner I’ll be happy.” You make all these provisos in your mind about what happiness looks like for you. But I love the idea of ritualizing and celebrating the moment, not waiting for everything to be perfect, just do it! Don’t think, “oh when I get a new kitchen I’ll have my friends around for dinner,” just be there! In the mess, in the chaos, in the pain, that is life. If you’re waiting for your life to be perfect, you’ll never arrive at that point.'