The nine best things I saw at the Investec Cape Town Art Fair this year
Updated: Mar 28, 2019
Since its inception seven years ago (wow, time flies!), the Cape Town Art Fair has been one of my favorites to visit. I'm biased - I consider Cape Town home, and the fair conveniently falls on the same week as my grandmother's birthday each year - but I also think that, in a world where the art market still heavily revolves around the west, and the fair cycle even more so, it's a blessing to attend a fair with a different focus. To be sure, ICTAF does not stand alone, and it was not the first. There are more fairs cropping up in Africa, South America, and Asia each year, and many of them are phenomenal - and calling my name - this is just the one I get to visit regularly.
One of the things I like most about the fair is its set up (although I often find the layout a bit confusing). There is a lot of space at the fair for arts organizations and non-traditional galleries which helps add to the allure of the fair, for me. There is also Tomorrows/Today, a section focusing on emerging artists and giving them solo exhibitions, curated by fair curator Tumelo Mosaka. This is one of the most exciting parts each year; the opportunity to really get to know emerging artists, in booths dedicated to giving them space to truly tell their stories. The fair's SOLO section also gives real space to emerging and mid-career artists, addressing thematic issues with their work. (To see more about the other sections of the fair, or to learn more about the fair itself, you can see their website here. Tickets for the 2020 fair will go on sale in September.)
Below are the nine things I liked best at the fair (at least, according to memory and photos) without explanation. All of the works are by African artists from across the continent, and all confront the idea of "African Art" in different ways. Do any of these works speak to you? If so, why? If you tell me, I'll tell you!
1. Chris Soal / Guns & Rain
2. Penny Siopis / Stevenson Gallery
3. Uólofe Griot / ELA Espaço Luanda Arte
4. Nelo Teixeira / THIS IS NOT A WHITE CUBE
5. Pierre Vermeulen / Smac Gallery
6. Dennis Osadebe / Christopher Moller Gallery
7. Troy Makaza / First Floor Gallery Harare (Winner of the Tomorrows/Today Prize)
8. Dimitri Fagbohoun / Officine Dell'Immagine Contemporary Art
9. Paulo Nazareth / Stevenson Gallery
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