Subscribe to our FREE weekly newsletter & market reports

2015 Teach the future of African Art: Market Prediction

Ghita Triki
Head of Art & Culture at Fondation AWB of Attijariwafa Bank
The market was very quiet compared to 2005-2008 but the Marrakech Biennale and some other important events served to reassure collectors about their purchases of works by mature artists. We noticed the appearance of a real hub of emerging artists involved in commenting on or interpreting current affairs and social issues. Despite having visibility thanks to their galleries, the media through which they express themselves (installation, video, interactive environment) remain difficult for the buyers and public to access because they necessitate a discourse.
Nahim suti
Ceo of First Finance
Of course! One feels that there is an awareness of art and of what if offers as a possibility of expression. At Ecole Nationale des Beaux-Arts of Abidjan, the students are becoming aware of deforestation issues and problems linked to the climate. It is also becoming increasingly common to offer a painting as a gift more than anything else. This makes me think that we are going to inevitably follow the evolution of Asian countries.
Barbara Freemantle
Curator of the Standard Bank Gallery
It is great to see how Art Fairs are doing so well.
Touria El Glaoui
Director of 1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair
While wildly poetic, contemporary African art is frequently fiercely political in a myriad of ways. I think this touching combination – between lyricism and political resistance and action – is key to its rising recognition. People are certainly taking note.
cécile Fakhoury
Gallerist, Abidjan
The main thing I have noticed is the massive return of once expatriated artists. This has a tremendous beneficial impact locally as the interactions and exchanges that follow contribute to shaping and dynamizing the contemporary art scene.
Federica Angelucci
Co-director/partner of Stevenson Gallery in Cape Town and Johannesburg
Of course, the Johannesburg and Cape Town art fairs have really changed our local landscape. The gallery ecosystem in the region has changed rapidly as well, particularly in South Africa. However, the biggest change seems to be the amount of attention paid to the African art scene by the global press. Artists from this part of the world have always been getting on with the business of making art but now it seems to have become fashionable to write about them.
Michelle constant
Ceo of Business and Arts South Africa (Basa)
We are definitely seeing a growth in and support of the visual arts. There are diverse art fairs that now take place on an annual basis: the FNB Joburg Art Fair, the Turbine Art Fair and the Cape Town Art Fair. The Joburg Art Fair has been running the longest and is extremely successful. There is a definitely a taste for buying art in South Africa and the secondary market or art auctions have been growing and becoming more successful.
Theo Danjuma
Collector, London
It also seems that contemporary art from Africa has become a popular topic for art market journalists.
Serge Tiroche
Co-founder of Art Vantage PCC Limited investment fund
We’ve experienced a growing interest in African contemporary art by western collectors in recent years. This encourages big western galleries to add African artists to their roster, which increases the region’s exposure in international art fairs, which generates further academic and market interest. It is a virtuous circle that is well underway in African contemporary that I expect to continue. We now see more evidence that several key players are taking important steps to make African Art more accessible to traditional art collectors.
Emma Bedford
Director at Aspire Art Auctions
New initiatives impacting on South Africa’s art market include private collections with public profiles and access. Financier Piet Viljoen pioneered this when he launched The New Church Museum, South Africa’s first contemporary art museum which opened in Cape Town in 2012. Such initiatives play a vital role in a scenario where public institutions like Iziko South African National Gallery are poorly funded and struggle to add significant acquisitions to their collections.
Maria Varnava
Director of Tiwani Contemporary, London
I can share what I think are interesting developments recently and that is a consistent interest in further developing the discourse around art from Africa and its market. I feel this is interesting because in the past we saw perhaps an interest in the discourse but not the market so now you have both elements working together.
You have international fairs like the Armory in NY and Art Paris in Paris giving a focus platform to art from Africa. In London and New York you have the 1:54 African Art Fair going from strength to strength and Paris will see this year the first edition of AKAA African Art Fair. Also in the auction house sector you the successful Bonhams auctions being joined by Sotheby’s that are just launching the Africa sales.
More importantly you have like never before important positive developments on the continent. You have a growing numbers of biennials, the birth or non for profit spaces, more commercial galleries as well the upcoming opening of a museum of contemporary art in Cape Town.
Again in South Africa the Cape Town Art Fair had its fourth edition and is preparing for its fifth. In West Africa we see the first edition of two new fairs one in Lagos and one in Ghana. This is interesting because it shows there is local interest; so these are fantastic initiatives that will nurture a local collector base that can activate the local art scene for the long gem. This is important because the long term growth of art from Africa also depends on the creation and strength of a local art ecosystem and patronage. The future is absolutely exciting.
Stephen Tio Kauma
Collector, Kampala
The number of people interested in acquiring contemporary art from Africa has certainly grown in the last five years. The explosion of social media has made it easier for people like me to find pieces we like. The last two pieces I bought were through social media and I would have been unable to find them otherwise.