A curatorial focus on art from East Africa, a new TEDxJohannesburg Talks programme and unprecedented art sales make for an unforgettable 9th edition
September 2016: Johannesburg, South Africa: The 9th Edition of the FNB JoburgArtFair brought 80 exhibitors from 17 countries under one roof with groundbreaking sales of R43 million.
Attracting 12 500 visitors, the fair hosted local and international media, artists, school groups, curators and collectors from the Joyner Giuffrida Collection of Abstract Art, Tate Modern, Centre Pompidou, Art Paris, Performa, Zeitz MOCAA, National Gallery of Zimbabwe, South African National Gallery and the Johannesburg Art Gallery. A turnover of R43 million worth of art was sold during the 4 days. These figures have steadily grown over the years with overall sales in 2015 measuring around the R24 million mark. In 2013 they were recorded at R20 million and in 2012 at R16.4 million. Fair Director, Mandla Sibeko commented, “This year’s Fair has achieved unprecedented sales and the visitor response has been fantastic. We also saw the most diversified audience to date. People from disparate walks of life came to see and engage with the work and artists on show. We are now confident of a deepening and sustained appreciation of contemporary African art.” “Particularly rewarding were the enthusiastic responses we received to our East African focus and to the work of featured artists Wangechi Mutu (Kenya / USA), Aida Muluneh (Ethiopia), Sanaa Gateja (Uganda) and Serge Alain Nitegeka (Burundi). This focus helped raise local awareness for artists, galleries and non-profit organisations in East Africa and the resultant exhibitions added a new and exciting dimension to the fair.” explained Fair Curator, Lucy MacGarry. The highlight of our East Africa focus was 2016 Featured Artist, Wangechi Mutu (Kenya) presented by Joburg’s new art precinct Keyes Art Mile. The newly launched TEDxJohannesburg Salon Talks also marked a new and exciting addition to the activities at FNB JoburgArtFair. Made possible by a new partnership with Ogogiii, the TEDxJohannesburg Salon was held at the Theatre on The Square where it was also filmed and streamed live online to make it accessible to a global audience who couldn’t be in audience at the event. The local and international list of speakers ranged from SA artist, William Kentridge and Tate Modern Curator, Zoe Whitley to Kenyan filmmaker Jim Chuchu and local performance artist Lerato Shadi. Tickets to this event were quickly sold out confirming the audience for a broad and accessible platform for a dialogue on contemporary African art. Guided Tours of the Fair were made possible this year by Artinsure and FNB Insurance Brokers. These were well attended and led by academic, arts writer and editor of Africa is a Country, M. Neelika Jayawardane; writer and cultural analyst, Ashraf Jamal and renowned American author Greg Tate. It is also near impossible to overstate the number positive responses to the Lalela Education Programme that saw children from various locations and regions of Gauteng visit the fair to join the guided tours and interact with Lalela team. Lalela is an organisation set up to provide educational arts for at-risk youth to spark creative thinking and awaken the entrepreneurial spirit. The education programme at the Fair demonstrated how broadening access to the event and to the world of contemporary art can translate into enriching the experience and interests of young audiences. The FNB Private Wealth and FNB Private Clients Lounge Featured Designer was Kossi Aguessy (Togo / Brazil /UK). Aguessy has been referred to as the Togolese magician of design. His inclusion is a coup for the inspiration behind the overall aesthetic of this year’s layout. Many loyal fair goers made specific mention of the spacious layout with wide walkways of this year’s exhibition space. Michelle Constant, CEO of BASA, was impressed with how the 9th FNB JoburgArtFair went: “Thank you so much for an excellent FNB JoburgArtFair. I have heard from a few people that the lay-out this year was far more user friendly. The diversity of artists, and countries was great.” Thanks is extended to our government partner, Gauteng Provincial Government. We are very grateful to Egon Zehnder for enabling and curating with us our VIP programme for the second year in a row. We also welcome Joburg Tourism, Perrier-Jouët, Artinsure, FNB Insurance Brokers, FNB Private Wealth, FNB Private Clients and Mercedes-Benz and look forward to long working relationships with these prestigious brands. The FNB JoburgArtFair was founded as the first art fair on the African continent. From the beginning, Artlogic has set out to bring together the best of contemporary art from Africa, and to create a platform for dialogue and exchange on which the continent’s artists, curators, collectors, writers and art lovers can congregate. The FNB JoburgArtFair is an Artlogic event and generously supported by First National Bank, the oldest bank in South Africa.