FNB Art Joburg
08.09 - 10.09.2023
FNB Art Joburg returns to Sandton Convention Centre from 8–10 September 2023, bringing the best from Africa and the diaspora’s leading institutions, galleries, and their artists. A Johannesburg mainstay for the last decade and a half, FNB Art Joburg plays an instrumental role in developing and sustaining a commercial economy that centres around African and diasporic practitioners.
Taking on a hybrid approach where curatorial and commercial interventions meet, the fair is divided into six specialised sections: gallery HUB, gallery LAB, MAX, ETC, AUX, and ORG.
The gallery HUB is the fair’s central section and presents the best in contemporary art from across the continent. FNB Art Joburg is proud to have the following galleries, among others exhibit this year: BKhz, blank, Eclectic Contemporary, Everard Read, First Floor Gallery Harare, Gallery MOMO, Goodman Gallery, Kalashnikovv Gallery, SMAC Gallery, Stevenson, Suburbia Contemporary and WHATIFTHEWORLD.
The MAX section of the fair houses works from artists in gallery HUB with challenging scale while the ETC section will give fair goers the opportunity to engage with master print and publishing houses.
An incubation to develop emerging galleries and hybrid art spaces, gallery LAB will present, and test new ideas and business models aimed at transforming the contemporary African art landscape. Co-curated by Kim Kandan (Fair Manager, FNB Art Joburg) and Aida Esi Hayfron-Benjamin (Independence Curator, Ghana), the LAB pavilion will feature exhibitors that connect West and East Africa with the Sub-Saharan African region. These include 16:16, Annie Kadjie Art Gallery, CHURCH, EBONY/CURATED, Guns & Rain, ODA ART GALLERY, Ora Loapi, RESERVOIR, Untitled, Village Unhu and Wunika Mukan Gallery.
The ORG section is a representation of Johannesburg’s seminal art institutions. Whether museums, universities, or private institutions, the section looks to redefine how people engage with organisations that were established for the good of the public.
Spanning talks, public lectures and audio essays, the AUX section, sponsored by iToo Artinsure, will explore a plethora of topics including magic realism as practice, biennale reflections, the role of arts writing, and art’s place in the metaverse.
Not to mention the ETC section, made up of master print and publishing houses who will offer an abundance of books prints, catalogues and zines, including: Artist Proof Studio, Atelier le Grand Village, Clarke’s Bookshop, David Krut Projects, Floor House, iwalwabooks, proto~, edition – vero and, of course, ArtThrob.
Open City programme opens doors for artists city-wide
Beyond the three-day fair, FNB Art Joburg remains committed to the city’s cultural landscape through Open City. The city-wide initiative will take over Johannesburg from 31 August – 19 September 2023. It fulfills FNB Art Joburg’s quest for economic stimulation, inclusivity, and better access for all by encouraging Johannesburg’s residents and visitors to immerse themselves in its rich and layered cultural offerings.
Activating the city with art, music, performance, food and fashion, every day of the week for 16+ days, Open City also gives independent and emerging cultural practitioners the opportunity to reach a wider audience of culture consumers.
Exciting happenings on the docket include the opening of The Weight of a Kiss, Motlhoki Nono’s Ernest Cole Award Exhibition; the reprise of Exhibition Match ,an artistic project/social initiative/football game organsied by Alexander Richards and Phokeng Setai; and an intervention by Yassine Balbzioui & Friends called An Ode to Punk. Full programme can be found here.
Open City opens with The BMW Art Generation
To usher in the Open City programming, FNB Art Joburg launches the BMW Art Generation, with proud support from FNB. Taking place from 1–3 September 2023, the BMW Art Generation is a weekend-long event that aims to engross the public and BMW Young Collectors Co. members in the contemporary African culture scene.
Opening the BMW Young Collectors Co. programme to the public, BMW Art Generation brings celebrated, established, and young artists, curators, and academics, from across the world together in conversation with collectors to imagine, celebrate and protect the future of contemporary African art.
Hosted at William Kentridge’s Centre for the Less Good Idea, the BMW Art Generation will give the public access to open studios, performance art, live music and a boutique lifestyle market with stalls dedicated to demonstrating the very best in design and food and wine experiences.
Looking to bring leading artists from Africa and the diaspora to explore contemporary African art within the realm of black intellectual tradition, the weekend presents multiple opportunities to create a thought experiment that inserts an African narrative where art meets history and place. Foregrounding an ethos that fosters innovation, community and an Africa that will continue to set standards for the global contemporary art ecosystem, the BMW Art Generation prioritises access through the transference of knowledge, from one generation to another, in open forums.
Home to many artists’ studios, including William Kentridge, Mikhael Subotzky and Mary Sibande, the BMW Art Generation also looks to re-establish the Maboneng district as a flagship for culture. “Johannesburg is home to FNB Art Joburg, the longest running contemporary art fair on the African continent. Feeding off the city’s grit, desperation, tenacity and irreverent energy, artists, curators, and cultural policy makers living in or visiting Johannesburg understand its position and growing potential to be the continent’s cultural capital,” says Mandla Sibeko, Managing Director of FNB Art Joburg. “Hosted in central Johannesburg, where culture thrives and informs community’s daily lives, BMW Art Generation also seeks to reignite engagement and investment dedicated to stimulating and sustaining the city as a natural incubator for contemporary art.”
The BMW Art Generation will welcome the likes of Swiss curator and director at the Serpentine Galleries, Hans Ulrich Obrist; Dutch architect, Rem Koolhaas; Global Head of BMW Group Cultural Engagement, Prof. Dr. Thomas Girst; Princeton-based Nigerian artist and historian, Chika Okeke-Agulu; and William Kentridge American collector and radiologist, Dr. Joy Simmons. A pilgrimage for some and a homecoming for others, the BMW Art Generation is an opportunity for long overdue connections.
Tickets for BMW Art Generation range from R250 to R950. To purchase tickets, visit: artjoburg.com.
The winner of this year’s FNB Art Prize is Lindokuhle Sobekwa
An artist working in the medium of documentary photography, Sobekwa’s practice uses the camera to historically contemplate the present. Soaked in materialism and subtly resolving geographical and temporal distances, in his hand the camera invites absent presences, that were there when his images were made, into the present.
The 2023 FNB Art Prize jury is made up of Abigail Rands (marketing manager of Krone), Dr Joy Simmons (collector, philanthropist, radiologist), and Kim Kandan (fair manager, FNB Art Joburg representative). On their decision, the jury for the 2023 FNB Art Prize said, “Creating compelling documentary photography, Lindokule Sobekwa’s work represents an explicitly South African narrative. He brings into focus a poignant reality in which both strife and soft moments exist – exposing, questioning and reflecting on current times and experiences.”
By winning the FNB Art Prize, Sobekwa becomes the first documentarian to join previous winners Dada Khanyisa, Wycliffe Mundopa, Lady Skollie, Bronwyn Katz, Haroon Gunn-Salie, Peju Alatise, Nolan Oswald Dennis, Turiya Magadlela, Portia Zvavahera, Nelisiwe Xaba, Mocke J van Veuren, and Kudzanai Chiurai.
Born in Katlehong, Johannesburg, Sobekwa is from a generation of South African photographers born after the first democratic elections of 1994. Through his participation in the Of Soul and Joy photography education programme in Thokoza during 2012, he realised that the medium of photography would be essential in telling stories that interest and concern him.
As Africa’s leading and longest running contemporary art fair, FNB Art Joburg’s mandate is to sustainably support and grow the continent’s cultural offering in ways that go beyond the fair. One of the ways this is achieved is through the annual FNB Art Prize. “When you look back at the calibre of artists who have won this prize, they are awe inspiring to the public and their peers. They find new ways to use existing materials to interrogate important issues,” says FNB Art Joburg’s Managing Director, Sibeko. “Lindokuhle is no different because the way he works with the camera has managed to continue the reflective, conscious and delicate legacies left behind by the likes of Ernest Cole.”
Connecting the dots of kinship and allegiance within the photographic terrain Sobekwa recalls the first time he encountered Ernest Cole’s work at the age of 17. “House of Bondage became a great reference in terms of what I was pursuing in my language as a photographer,” said Sobekwa.
In 2014, his photo essay Nyaope was published in several prolific platforms including the Mail & Guardian, Vice magazine’s annual Photo Issue and in the Belgian publication, De Standaard. Thereafter he received a scholarship to study at the Market Photo Workshop where he refined his approach to the camera in both concept and technique. Since then, Sobekwa’s success has included being selected by the Magnum Foundation for Photography and Social Justice in New York to develop his project, I carry Her photo of Me. Two years later, the hand-made photo book was included in the African Cosmologies exhibition at the FotoFest Biennial Houston.
In 2022 the artist made his museum show debut at Huis Marseille in the Netherlands before becoming a member of Magnum Photos and receiving the inaugural John Kobal Foundation Fellowship.
As the winner of the 2023 prize, Sobekwa will receive a cash prize as well as a solo exhibition at Johannesburg Art Gallery where the largest art collection, on the continent, resides.
Stayed tuned for a Q&A.
Tickets to the fair are now available at https://artjoburg.com/tickets/.
FNB Art Joburg will return to the Sandton Convention Centre 8–10 September 2023.
Fair dates and times
08.09.23 – 11am to 8pm
09.09.23 – 11am to 7pm
10.09.23 – 11am to 5pm