RETURN TO NORMAL: Brendon & Suzette Bell-Roberts introduce Issue 21

The global pandemic will most likely be with us for decades to come. A sobering reality to which we all need to adapt. It has been a time of deep reflection and sober realisation and sharpened our gaze on what is crucial and left us with many life-changing decisions to make.

We decided to create our 202! Chart of Acronyms, reflecting our collective experiences – to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the seismic shifts, resulting in the art world and life in general, during 2020/21.

We felt that this selection was an apt precis for the platforms, movements, technologies and terminologies that almost everyone has had to embrace as we navigate the new normal. The need for rapid response and clear communication is now more crucial than ever, given an abundance of digital information facing us.

Now, more than ever before, presenting creativity innovatively and uniquely – that translates into transactional value – is a sought after skill everyone needs to acquire to prosper in the digital age. Those with deep pockets are at a distinct advantage during these frontier times – but a young tech-savvy generation is blazing new trails in the industry, and only time will tell where our rapidly evolving industry will navigate us to next.

This year we will publish three Digital Editions (each covering four months (January-April, May-August, September-December). BTW, the term to describe four months is a quadrimester. Every week we will publish new features, reviews and profiles that keep you updated and informed about our industry’s latest developments. Each week new stories are uploaded to the Digital Edition so you can regularly revisit the edition to find new content. We will also notify you via our regular newsletters about new stories and uploaded content. At the end of each cycle (quadrimester).

Kicking off our 2021 publishing programme, we have an exciting line-up which firstly includes an interview with Gina Figueira and Helen Harris, founders of StArt Art Gallery, who introduce us to the Namibian art scene. Followed with Is It Advisable! we speak to 6 international collectors about navigating the post-pandemic digital milieu. Dag Henrichsen reviews Nicola Brandt’s new book titled Landscapes Between Then and Now: Recent Histories in Southern African Photography, Performance and Video Art. Finally, Carmen Hogg writes about the Gold Hosts event Urban Futures held at Accra’s Nubuke Foundation. 

Okwui Enwezor’s influence across the art world is noticeable with reference given to him in this issue by Zarina Bhimji in our upcoming focus on her exhibition ‘Black Pocket’ at the Sharjah Art Foundation. We will also be covering Tarek Atoui’s ‘Cycles in 11’ and Sharjah Art Foundation’s March Meeting 21, ‘Unravelling the Present’. We also look at ‘Grief and Grievance: Art and Mourning in America’ at the New Museum, conceived by Okwui Enwezor.

Other features to look forward to including Congo Biennale 2021, where we speak to Fahamu Pecou, co-curator with Armelle Dakouo for the Congo Biennale 2021; tell us about some of the duo’s unique approaches to this year’s edition. A look at the exhibition ‘Orita Meta/Crossroads’ at the new Rele Gallery in Los Angeles. We talk to Steven Rand, founder of apexart in New York. Profile Emerging Painting Invitational’s ART AFRICA Profile Award Winner Dorra Mahjoubi. And we also celebrate Esther Mahlangu’s achievements following her highly successful 85th-year celebratory exhibition at the Melrose Gallery.

We trust our 202! Chart of Acronyms resonates with you and inspires some creative thought!

Enjoy,

– Suzette and Brendon Bell-Roberts