Jubilee Hall, Watershed, V&A Waterfront, Cape Town, South Africa 24 Feb 2017 - 05 Mar 2017
Francois Knoetze, The Great Circle – Moon, 2016. Image courtesy of the artist
Opening their doors for the first time as a fully-curated international event at the V&A Waterfront, Cape Town, the ART AFRICA FAIR will take place between the 24th February to the 5th March 2017.
As a commercial art fair, their fully-curated approach is a first for the continent. Through their carefully selected panel of curators, the event will present a unique snapshot of Africa’s most exciting contemporary talents, allowing for an immersive, multi-sensory art experience from a diverse range of contemporary artists.
The ART AFRICA FAIR is structured around a dynamic curatorial programme with an open call for participation to artists and galleries. Unlike other commercial fairs, this curatorial model favours an alternative, museum-styled exhibition experience, inviting artists and galleries to propose work that provokes alternate artistic visions of the continent, as defined by individual, lived experiences. This approach is an attempt to transform vernacular African ideas into tangible expressions, to challenge stereotypical understandings, and to introduce, propagate, and take responsibility for new representations about Africa, from Africa.
ART AFRICA FAIR’s illustrious line-up of international curators include Salimata Diop (Senegal/France), Uche Okpa-Iroha (Nigeria), Pierre-Christophe Gam (Cameroon/France/United Kingdom), Thembinkosi Goniwe and Ruzy Rusike (South Africa).
The ART AFRICA FAIR will present a multifaceted, museum-styled experience, comprising four unique, interdisciplinary chapters. These include the BRIGHT YOUNG THINGS Award & Exhibition; the Photography & Lens-based focus; A Flagrant Arcade in Contemporary Art, a VIP Lounge & Social Hub. In addition to this, the fair will host THAT ART PARTY, featuring some of the most exciting musical talents from across the continent.
BRIGHT YOUNG THINGS (BYT) AWARD & EXHIBITION: Curated by Salimata Diop, this programme features exceptionally talented young artists who have excelled in their respective practices.
BRIGHT YOUNG THINGS has been a feature in ART AFRICA magazine for over ten years. To date, this unique component of the publication has showcased the work of 100 young artists, many of whom have since been catapulted into high profile careers.
In order to fast-track this process, eight finalists have been selected to exhibit their work in a dedicated section at the fair. Each artist will create new works for the exhibition, and the three top finalists will be recognized at the event in the form of residency awards. This will assist them in the production of a new body of work. The international selection committee and jury will assist our BYT finalists in securing international gallery and museum exhibitions in the coming year. Young, talented, ambitious, and confident, these artists are not afraid to make a statement.
PHOTOGRAPHY & LENS-BASED MEDIA: Curated by award-winning photographer and educator Uche Okpa-Iroha, the objective of this exhibition is to counter preconcieved notions pertaining to Africa in Western media by looking at works that aim to rewrite African histories. “Our story starts with us” explains Uche, “it is an exciting journey, and who better to tell it but us.”
An ex-resident and Alumnus of the Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten (2011-12), Uche is a founding member of the Nigerian-based Blackbox photography collective, the Invisible Borders Trans-African Project (2009), as well as the founder/director of the Nlele Institute (TNI) and Lagos OPEN RANGE. A passionate educator, Uche has played a pivotal role in building awareness and engagement with photography and lens-based media in Nigeria.
A FLAGRANT ARCADE IN CONTEMPORARY ART: A curatorial duologue between Thembinkosi Goniwe and Ruzy Rusike, A Flagrant Arcade seeks to contribute, even if slightly, to the swelling meaning, value and appreciation of the contemporary art of African artists. We explore the fragile yet enduring pertinent attitudes of our time, whose creative and intellectual quest is the continuous wrestling with and advancing evolutionary offerings of African Contemporary Art.
As part of the ART AFRICA FAIR’s vision to develop the contemporary arts through empowerment, Thembinkosi Goniwe will mentor Ruzy Rusike in the curation of A Flagrant Arcade.
Thembinkosi is an artist and art historian and currently a visiting researcher at the Wits School of Arts. Prior to this Thembinkosi lectured extensively throughout South Africa, and has curated exhibitions as far afield as the United States of America, Venice, and Scotland, including including ‘Desire: Ideal Narratives in Contemporary South African Art’ at the 54th Venice Biennale:2011.
In 2015 Thembinkosi curated ‘Towards Intersections: Negotiating Subjects, Objects and Contexts,’ with Ruzy Rusike as the Curatorial researcher and Exhibition co-ordinator. Ruzy is an artist and aspiring curator, who is currently completing her Honours in Curatorship at the Michaelis School of Fine Art.
VIP LOUNGE & SOCIAL HUB:
Pierre-Christophe Gam will be curating the fair’s VIP Lounge & Social Hub spaces. Designed for the purpose of exchange, these spaces will encourage a relaxed, engaging environment for artists, gallerists, collectors, and thought-leaders to mingle and interact, with open access to the media.
Pierre-Christophe will also present his latest body of work for the very first time at the ART AFRICA FAIR as a solo exhibition entitled Sankara: The Upright Man. Using food, photography, collages, set design, drawing, and digital manipulation, he creates ambiguous yet compelling compositions, where deep cultural references are mixed-up and juxtaposed in a rich and intricate tapestry.
Pierre-Christophe’s work considers how current social and political changes in Africa and the diaspora negotiate with past intellectual and visual heritage.
The hub will be transformed as a presidential campaign meeting room and will include at its core a food installation inspired by one of the main tenets of Sankara, inviting his fellow citizens to take pride in their culture and identity by consuming what they produced, instead of importing food, clothes and other artefacts from the west.
The structure will act as a food counter (serving exclusively African inspired cuisine), a performance space and a talks platform.
THAT ART PARTY:
Music meets art, meets urban cool at THAT ART PARTY. Playing host to 400 guests who will be entertained by some of the most exciting performing artists and DJs. Previous TH AT ART PARTY line-ups have included the likes of DJ Invizible, Spoek Mathambo, The Brother Moves On, and Felix Leband.