Subscribe to our FREE weekly newsletter & market reports

2016 Teach the future of African Art: Market Prediction

Makgati Molebatsi
Art advisor
There has been an increase in the interest to acquire art by African Artists, and the market is responding to that. The increase in Art Fairs which focus on art by African artists has contributed to this awareness and visibility. Established fairs which traditionally feature European or Western based galleries have also responded to this visibility by having galleries from Africa featuring as ”Guest of honour” or ”focus on Africa” for their presence in the fair. Although the FNB Joburg art fair has been in existence for close to ten years – celebrating its tenth year in 2017 – the addition by other art fairs focusing on Contemporary Art by African artists such as 1:54 and Cape Town art fair in the last five years; Artfair X Lagos in Nigeria, Akaa in Paris in 2016 and the inclusion of African galleries in The Armory Show and Art Paris art fair has extended the interest in Art by African artists. Artists whose work is featured in biennales and major exhibition have gained exposure and enhanced the curiosity and desire towards Africa and its artists. The market has responded to this with new galleries opening across the continent, and these galleries showing interest in participating in the art fairs highlighting art by African artists globally.
Tumelo Mosaka
Art curator
There were at least three fairs, plus the Dak’Art biennale in Dakar, so there was a real effort to bring art to the public. This was encouraging because we need more art events taking place on the continent in order to educate local audiences so there can be a greater appreciation of artists. Also, several initiatives were launched by artists’ collectives to create a platform for dialogue between artists and to show their work to the public.
Moncef Msakni
Owner & director of El Marsa gallery, Tunis
Rediscovering Arab artists as a whole: modern and contemporary. A remarkable presence of Diaspora artists alike Nadia Kaabi and Ali Tnani.
Julia Grosse & Yvette Mutumba
co founders of Contemporary And (C&)
What interested us was the events happening on the continent, like the Dakar Biennale in Senegal, which is the oldest biennale in Africa. In 2016, it was a completely international art event with all the collectors and curators from New York attending. Art X, an art fair in Lagos, made its debut last year and was a high-profile, successful first edition. Its founder is Tokini Peterside and its artistic director is Bisi Silva, the founder/artistic director of the Centre for Contemporary Art (CCA), Lagos. Nigeria has a lot of wealthy buyers and a strong collecting scene. Having a professional fair is a good step to bring art to those people, like having Art Basel Hong Kong in Hong Kong. The Also Known As Africa fair, AKAA, also launched its first edition in Paris. It’s Europe’s second Africa-focused fair after 1:54 in London. I was happy that AKAA could realise its first edition after it had been cancelled the year before, following the terrorist attacks. It makes sense to have this fair in Paris, which has a strong collecting scene interested in African perspectives.
Mustapha Orif
Art dealer
Two or three exhibitions of young Algerian artists, including an independent group show titled Picturie Générale III featuring 23 artists, highlighted how the level of creativity has bounced back. This was not obvious 10 years ago when the trend for young artists was to“manufacture” copies of Orientalism works in order to satisfy the expectations of the majority of art buyers.