By Nii B. Andrews.
Over the past decade, CAA has gained major prominence in the world of contemporary art.
The artists from Africa and its diaspora have been in the limelight; collectors and major institutions have come to understand that the under representation of CAA in their collections is a reflection of the limited extent of their reach, exposure and understanding of contemporary art.
In the last several weeks, two events have further concretized the place of CAA in the canon and its growing prominence.
First, was the Africa Wealth Report 2023, published by Henley and Partners with New World Wealth.
The report valued CAA as over USD 1.8 Billion as of December 2022. But what is interesting is that this figure is based only on the quantum of CAA sold at auction; it does not include private sales whether done through galleries or direct purchases from artists or through collectors.
As to whether the auction house figure points to CAA as a symbol of social status or luxury or an investment opportunity is an entirely separate question with unclear parameters for adjudication.
Second, the prestigious 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair is scheduled to be held at a new venue the – the Malt House in the Manhattanville Factory District in West Harlem, New York City (439 W 127th Street) from May 18 through Sunday May 21, 2023.
“It’s an honor to be back in Harlem for what we anticipate will be our largest and best-attended New York fair to date,” said 1-54 Founding Director Touria El Glaoui.
“We strive to grow and evolve with each edition and are delighted to be collaborating with several galleries for the first time as well as a breadth of new artists.
We look forward to welcoming visitors to the Manhattanville Factory District this May.”
***Gala Night, 1-54, MACAAL, Marrakech Feb 2023. The work of Joël Andrianomearisoa in the background; giant textiles which he “develops around a non-explicit, often abstract, narration, which everyone perceives yet, cannot put a name to….”****
El Glaoui mentioned two, young, emerging artists with work she’s excited to see at this month’s event; they are Emma Odumade (b. 2000, Lagos, Nigeria) and Delali Ayivi (b. 1998, Baltimore).
In addition to exhibitions, the fair will host educational forums, performances, and other programs for African art lovers and collectors.
This year’s New York edition features a total of 26 galleries from across Africa, Europe and the U.S. thus providing diverse perspectives and dynamic interpretations of CAA.
Artsy will be hosting the fair online from May 18 – 31, 2023 at artsy.net.
The 1-54 fair is held annually across three continents, in London, New York and Marrakech, it is the leading global event series dedicated to CAA.
****Cornelius Annor, W) ta shi – we have taken our seat, 2022. Courtesy of the artist and MARUANI MERCIER Gallery.****