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To mark the freedom of our continent, when a significant number of countries gained independence from colonial powers, Africa celebrates its liberation on May 25 each year, internationally known as Africa Day. Check out ARTsouthAFRICA’s reasons to celebrate!

Meschac Gaba Ensemble 2012
ABOVE: Meschac Gaba, Ensemble, 2012, inkjet print on canvas. Courtesy of Stevenson Gallery.
So far this year, there have been a number of incredible events and achievements that highlight creative talent from Africa. There has been an increased demand for African contemporary art that not only gives prominence to the significance of African art globally but also exemplifies the hard work that curators, artists and exhibitors around the world have put in to finally give creativity from Africa the attention it deserves.
Here are some of our reasons to celebrate Africa Day 2015:
ABOVE: Okwui Enwezor. Photo: Giorgio Zucchiatti
1. Okwui Enwezor is appointed as Director of the Visual Arts Sector for the Venice Biennale 2015, with the specific responsibility of curating the 56th International Art Exhibition.
On his role, Enwezor stated, “No event or exhibition of contemporary art has continuously existed at the confluence of so many historical changes across the fields of art, politics, technology, and economics, like la Biennale di Venezia. La Biennale is the ideal place to explore all these dialectical fields of reference, and the institution of la Biennale itself will be a source of inspiration in planning the Exhibition.”
You can have a look at various aspects of ARTsouthAFRICA‘s coverage of the Venice Biennale, specifically the South African Pavilion here, the Zimbabwean Pavilion (reviewed by Valerie Kabov) here, and the daily diary entries by The Johannesburg Pavilion’s Roelof Petrus van Wyk here (this link takes you to Day One, but you will find entries for Days 1-9 on our homepage).
ABOVE: THAT ART FAIR in a multilevel parking garage in Salt River, Cape Town. Photo by Nicola van Straaten.
2. THAT ART FAIR has its inaugural event in Cape Town
THAT ART FAIR is an inspired, curated and affordable art fair event providing a platform for African artists who work under the radar of the traditional art establishment and who do things a little differently. You can have a look at some reviews of the very first THAT ART FAIR, celebrating Fresh Art From Africa, by Nicola van Straaten of Another Africa and Thuli Gamedze for Art Meets Camera
El Anatsui
ABOVE: Portrait of El Anatsui. Photo by Lynn Ischay.
In a statement announcing El Anatsui’s selection, Paolo Baratta, the board’s chair, called him “perhaps the most significant living African artist working on the continent today,” noting that “the Golden Lion Award acknowledges not just his recent successes internationally, but also his artistic influence among two generations of artists working in West Africa. It is also an acknowledgment of the sustained, crucial work he has done as an artist, mentor and teacher for the past 45 years.”
Read our exclusive interview with El Anatsui here!
4. AKAA (Also Known As Africa) – the first art fair devoted to African contemporary art and design to be held in France – gets set to launch in December 2015.
AKAA is a celebration of the creative spirit of Africa, as well as a journey of discovery of those artists, leading and emerging, in and out of the contours of the continent, whose talent influences the evolution of African art, and fuels the growing conversation about it. AKAA’s first edition will take place in the Marais district of Paris, from December 3-6 2015, at the beautifully restored Carreau du Temple.
1-54 Roundup 9 Installation
ABOVE: Installation views from 1:54 New York. Photographs by Katrina Sorrentino
5. 1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair makes its New York debut
A reference to fifty-four countries that constitute the African continent, the title of 1:54 establishes the parameters of the fair’s ethos: as a platform that strives to represent multiplicity and showcase the diversity of contemporary African art and cultural production on an international stage.

1:54 is initiated by market developer Touria El Glaoui.

You can have a look at ARTsouthAFRICA’s article on the New York edition of “the leading international art fair dedicated to showcasing the diversity of contemporary art and cultural production from Africa” here (if you’d like to see our roundup of galleries from Africa) and here (if you’d like to see a visual overview of the event).
Join the conversation – please let us know what your reasons are for celebrating our rich and diverse continent on Africa Day 2015 by commenting on our Facebook Page!

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