Sandton Convention Centre, Johannesburg
09.09.2016 – 11.09.2016
One year short of hitting the 10 year milestone and the FNB Joburg Art Fair is still going strong. This year’s fair includes an East Africa Focus and a significant expansion of the talks program, in association with Ogojiii magazine, into a series of TEDxJohannesburg Salon Talks.
Opening on Friday, there is plenty to see at the Sandton Convention Centre this weekend. Here are a few things which ArtThrob is definitely looking forward to:
Featured Artist Wangechi Mutu
Born in Kenya and based between the USA and Nairobi, Wangechi Mutu – this year’s featured artist -is a total winner. Creating visually distinctive Afrofuturist forms (imbued with a strong sci-fi/fantasy influence), Mutu weaves vast, imaginative allegories which reimagine gender, race and the destructive forces of colonialism and consumerism. Mutu will be presenting two works at the fair, a sculpture entitled Sleeping Serpent II and her magnum opus The End of eating Everything, an animated short film depicting a monstrous being flying over a polluted, post-apocalyptic landscape and beset with a relentless , insatiable appetite to consume everything in its path. Absolutely not to be missed.
If you’re at the fair on Sunday, American author Greg Tate will be presenting a talk entitled 50 000 Years of Afro Futurism / Wangechi Mutu’s Home in Space at 2pm.
FNB Private Wealth Lounge designed by Kossi Aguessy
Commissioning a fresh guest designer each time, the FNB Private Wealth Lounge undergoes some hefty facelifts from year to year. The designer for 2016 is award-winning artist Kossi Aguessy, renowned for a diverse and hugely impressive portfolio which includes designs for iconic brands as varied as Yves Saint-Laurent, Cartier, Swarovski, ST Dupont, Renault and Branex. Aguessy was also responsible for designing the Stella by Stella McCartney perfume bottle and the Coca Cola Sustainable Design Award trophy. The FNB Private Wealth Lounge will be chock full of Aguessy’s unique and frequently quirky creations including The Stool, a fusion of a Somalian sheep keeper’s stool and a skateboard, and a chair which Aguessy lovingly refers to as the Damn chair.
Aida Muluneh presented by David Krut Projects
We’re looking forward to seeing the work of Aida Muluneh. You’ll recognise her striking photos if you’ve seen any of the publicity material from the fair, but seeing it in the real is a whole other experience. The series of work she is exhibiting, titled ‘The world is nine’ features icon-like portraits, part votive, part high-fashion, in bold colours. Aside from being an award winning photographer, Muluneh is the founder and director of the Addis Foto Fest, which also has a spot at the fair. The Fest is a week-long festival and ongoing platform which aims to build emerging talent in Ethiopia. Their booth showcases some of these artists to great effect, and is well worth the visit.
One of the highlights of every years fair is the art party celebrating the opening of the fair. It’s hosted this year on the new Keyes Art Mile development, who have also sponsored the featured artist. While we’re generally skeptical of lifestyle developments, the temptation of seeing the gallerists and artists boogying down may be too much temptation. Watch out for spilled drinks, spent reputations and wild uncoordinated gesticulation.
East Africa Focus
Besides from the the solo presentations from East Africa, some of which we’ve highlighted above, the fair is featuring a group of platforms and galleries from the region. These spaces span from Kampala and Addis Ababa to Nairobi and Dar Es Salaam. There’s some really exciting work emerging from these spaces, and we’re keen to see whats on offer. Also, kudos to the fair for breaking boundaries and exposing fresh platforms.
Serge Alain Nitegeka’s site-specific installation
Serge Alain Nitegeka’s ‘Black Passage’ (an installation take-over of Stevenson, Cape Town last year) was undoubtedly one of the highlights of 2015. When it comes to sculptural intervention, disruption and use of space, the man is a genius. Inspired by the ‘make-do mechanics that displaced persons employ to erect makeshift shelters’, Nitegeka has described his new site-specific installation as an ‘abstract rendition of a physical transformation that a given space is subjected to’. Needless to say we can’t wait to see what he’s come up with. The installation is presented by Stevenson.
FNB Art Prize Winner: Nolan Oswald Dennis
The FNB Art Prize is a prestigious and lucrative award, as well as an opportunity to display a solo project at the fair. This year’s winner is Nolan Oswald Dennis, with his super contemporary sculptures and drawings. His booth is a highlight of the fair for us. Keep an eye out for our interview with him in the next couple of days.
The most exciting part of the fair is seeing (and buying!) work from top artists from top galleries. Keep an eye out for the solo presentations, separate booths focused on a single artist. Check out the manic tapestries from Grace Cross, Ruann Coleman’s simple sculptural propositions and the cross-border collaboration of Troy Makaza and Io Makandal. The non-profit platform AVA is presenting work by iQhiya, a collective of young black women. Both collectively and individually they are making waves. Catch them while you can.
Art fair talks are an essential component of a successful fair, but are often tricky to incorporate. In a very exciting move, the talks program this year will be handled by TEDxJohannesburg and presented by bi-monthly pan-African magazine Ogojiii. The talks take place at Theatre on The Square and will be filmed and streamed online and live within the Fair. Titled ‘Art for Africa’, the speakers will grapple with 3 main questions: How is art changing us? How is art changing our world? And most pertinently, how might those changes help to shape Africa’s future?
Look out for a stellar lineup of speakers including Ashraf Jamal, Aida Muluneh, William Kentridge, Cobi Labuscagne, Jim Chuchu and Buhlebezwe Siwani.
For more information (and to buy tickets) please click here.
The ArtThrob Booth (Shameless punt!)
We’re very excited to be selling prints from our Editions for ArtThrob series at the fair and can be found at booth #44. We’ll be launching the two most recent additions to the series at this year’s FNB Joburg Art Fair: Zanele Muholi’s Sasa, Bleecker, New York, 2016 and Siemon Allen’s Damaged Archive (Soweto), 2016. Be sure to pop-in and take a look at these stunning new prints.
FNB Joburg Art Fair runs from 9 – 11 September 2016 at the Sandton Convention Centre. For more information, and to purchase tickets, please click here.