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ART AFRICA is in Johannesburg for the FNB JoburgArtFair 2015, and the City of Gold is simply buzzing with creative energy! There are so many exciting presentations happening this year that it can become difficult to keep track of them all, so we thought we would put together a list of our “not to miss” highlights for you. Learn more about the Fair from curator, Lucy MacGarry and have a look at some of our favourite things this year.

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The FNB JoburgArtFair gets into full swing today with the VIP Collector’s Preview from 15:00-19:00, where VIP guests will have exclusive access to the Fair before it opens to the public. ART AFRICA is proud to be hosting Ghanaian artist, Paa Joe (Joseph Tetteh Ashong), and will present new artworks by the celebrated palanquin and fantasy coffin maker. Together with his son and apprentice, Jacob Tetteh-Ashong, Paa Joe has been hosted as an artist in residence in Plettenberg Bay, where they created the artworks that will form part of the headline performance piece, entitled The Farewell.
The Farewell will be performed on the opening night of the FNB JAF2015 (Thursday 10th September) at 7:30pm and will certainly be something you don’t want to miss!
In the lead up to his performance piece with ART AFRICA, Paa Joe and his son and apprentice, Jacob Tetteh-Ashong, spoke to us about the cultural significance of their work, the performance at the FNB JAF 2015, and their plans for the future. You will find the link to this exclusive video interview in our weekly newsletter; as well as on ART AFRICA’s dedicated YouTube Channel.
Along with The Farewell, there are a number of other special opening preview performances that we would like to draw your attention to, including Nelisiwe Xaba’s Urban Mermaid (presented by Black Collector’s Forum), Sikhumbuzo Makandula’s Umnikelo (presented by First Floor Gallery, Harare) and Senkaaba “Xenson” Samson’s Ensi Yaleta (presented by Afriart Gallery, Uganda). Tiwani Contemporary will also be presenting a film screening of The Return of the Axum Obelisk by Theo Eshetu.
Given the recent rise of performance art in South Africa and the Johannesburg Pavilion’s dynamic integration at the 56th Venice Biennale, it’s unsurprising that this year’s FNB JoburgArtFair, curated by Lucy MacGarry, sets the stage for contemporary performance art (both live and recorded). As the first major international art fair on the African continent, the FNB JoburgArtFair has grown since its beginnings in 2008 to attract a wide range of galleries, artists, curators, collectors and writers.
“I think that visitors to this year’s fair will see in our new design (by interior architects Studium) that we’ve taken a slightly different approach to the fair. With ‘Special Projects’ as our non-profit component, we are able to offer visitors an all-encompassing experience beyond the classical art show stand. The central theatre will provide a space for performance-based work, talks and film screenings,” says MacGarry.
The recent rise of media publicity for art produced in or around Africa – particularly following the 56th Venice Biennale – has forced both local and international art communities to renegotiate their perceptions of Africa; deconstructing the unconscious impositions of mainstream media.
Testament to this challenge is the appointment of two notable advisors on this years Committee; Koyo Kouoh (the founding director of RAW Material Company, Senegal, and the person in charge of this year’s FORUM at 1:54 Art Fair) and Bisi Silva (Founding Director of the Centre for Contemporary Art in Lagos). Speaking to ART AFRICA about FORUM, Kouoh expresses her desire to see African art production move beyond the geo-political borders to more a fluid state of cultural cross-pollination: “The continent provides so many angles of approach; it is so wide and so diverse and I really think the pathways of artistic inquiry traverse these divisions.” Given their inclusion on this year’s Advisory Committee it is apparent that the fair is indeed taking steps to ensure a more inclusive, well-rounded art fair.
The mélange of work produced by the fifty exhibitors (stemming from eight different countries) this year speaks to current discourse of broader, dynamic and independently experiential identities; a variety of channels through which to explore and engage our current context.
MacGarry notes, “The eighth edition of the FNB JoburgArtFair encourages galleries to bring experimental work and competitive presentations to the fair.” The Fair will also encourage “visitors to come with an open mind to really experience some of the continent’s best contemporary art,” she adds.
Also new to this year’s fair id the ‘Gallery Solo Projects’ initiative; “In addition to the more traditional salon-style booths, exhibiting galleries were afforded the option of presenting a solo exhibition,” says MacGarry, “In seeing a more extensive range of work by one artist, visitors to the fair gain a greater insight into [that artist’s] thematic concerns and methods.”
MacGarry concludes by saying, “With fifty exhibitors from eight countries and a programme packed with talks, performances and film screenings, the 2015 FNB JoburgArtFair is not to be missed!”
We certainly agree. You can read Lucy MacGarry’s full ‘Curator’s Insight’ in the ‘FNB JoburgArtFair and Beyond’ feature in the inaugural issue of ART AFRICA magazine! Get yours at the Fair. For now, have a look now at our list of highlights for this year; we look forward to seeing you there!
1. SMAC Gallery (Booth #51)
Featuring the work of artists such as Leonce Raphael Agbodjélou, Georgina Gratrix, Chemu Ng’ok, Gareth Nyandoro, Shoshanna Weinberger (our ART AFRICA Issue 01 cover artist), and Ed Young among others, SMAC’s spacious salon-style booth is a must-see. They will also be hosting a ‘Gallery Solo Project’ by Cyrus Kabiru in Booth #54.
2. WORLD ART (Booth #14)
A ‘Gallery Solo Project’ presentation by Khaya Witbooi, the artist featured in an interview in ART AFRICA’s newsletter this week. You can see that interview here.
3. EBONY (FNB Private Wealth Lounge)
EBONY will be participating in a altogether different manner this year, as a Special Project Partner in the FNB Private Wealth Lounge. Designed by EBONY, the lounge will host an exhibition titled ‘African Modernists,’ curated by Gallery MOMO owner Monna Mokoena and featuring the work of Gerard Sekoto, Malangatana Ngwenya, Benedict Enwonwu and Helen Sebidi among others.
Johans Borman Fine Art will be presenting a two-part exhibition at the 2015 Joburg Art Fair. Part one investigates the genre of portraiture and identity, juxtaposing paintings with sculpture as well as works by Modern African Masters with those of contemporary artists; featuring the work of Dumile Feni, Irma Stern, Maggie Laubser, Ezrom Legae and Richard Mudariki among others. Part two explores aspects of movement and abstraction in works by Cecil Skotnes, Owusu-Ankomah, Hennie Niemann Jnr, Anthony Lane and Warrick Kemp.
Artists included are Richard Butler Bowdon, Sikhumbuzo Makandula, Wycliffe Mundopa and Gresham Tapiwa Nyaude.
6. ART FIRST (Booth #19)
Artists included are Louis Maqhubela and Karel Nel
7. BARNARD (Booth #35)
Barnard Gallery features a Solo Exhibition by the enigmatic Cape Town-based painter, Alexia Vogel.
8. GOODMAN (Booth #32)
The Goodman Gallery showcases an impressive array of contemporary artists from the continent and the African diaspora, including Adejoke Tugbiyele, Candice Breitz (this year’s Featured Artist), Nolan Oswald Dennis, Jabulani Dhlamini, Kendell Geers, David Goldblatt, Haroon Gunn-Salie, William Kentridge and Gerald Machona, plus so much more!
9. WARREN EDITIONS (Booth #25)
Warren Editions is a professional printing studio, based in Cape Town. For this year’s Fair, they present a selection of original fine art prints by established and emerging practitioners..
10. EVERARD READ (Booth #04)
One of the oldest established galleries in the country, Everard Read presents the work of Wayne Barker, Deborah Bell, Tamlin Blake, Guy du Toit and Phillemon Hlungwani, Amos Letsoalo, Nelson Makamo, Colbert Mashile, Lionel Smit and Michael MacGarry among others.
Presenting a solo exhibition by Endale Desalegn  and a special installation by Steven Hobbs in Booth #48. You will also be able to view limited editions at the David Krut Workshop in Booth #24
12. AVA (Booth #07)
One of Cape Town’s oldest non-profit art galleries, the AVA will be showcasing the best in contemporary South African art in their Art Platform at the FNB JoburgArtFair this year.
With so much more on offer, have a look at the FNB JoburgArtFair programme here, and find out what else is in store for you at this year’s Fair!

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