As 2015 kicks off, and as interest in African contemporary art continues to grow, I canvassed a number of Africa-based gallerists and curators to get a sneak preview of the trends that they’re identifying, and what they’re looking forward to in the year ahead.
Significant numbers of artists from Africa are turning to new media and exploring the paradigm of the moving image. In addition, a number of curators hope to see more maturity in the way the international art community views art from Africa, with some artists making a transition from the "African Contemporary Art" niche into the mainstream "Contemporary Art" market, as peers in terms of quality, content, and price.
Taking a look at events, this year’s Venice Biennale, ‘All the Worlds Futures’, will be directed for the first time by an African-born director, Okwui Enwezor, and African professionals are looking forward to seeing more pavilions presented by African countries, as well as critique, discussion and analysis moving in new directions.
In May, the 1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair will expand its footprint, making its first New York appearance during the already-packed Frieze programme. Later in the year, the Jo’burg Art Fair in South Africa is set to be increasingly pan-African, extending its reach and breadth not only with regards to African countries and artists represented, but in terms of the collectors it attracts to the fair. The 10th edition of Bamako Encounters, the biennale of African Photography, will return in November, after a hiatus due to the political instability in Mali. It will be directed by Bisi Silva, curator and founder/director of Centre for Contemporary Art, Lagos.
Last, but not least, a new contemporary art and design fair and the first in France to be dedicated to African contemporary art, Also Known As Africa (AKAA), will launch in Paris in December.
With thanks to Valerie Kabov, Raphael Chikukwa and Osei Bonsu for sharing their thoughts.