Looking Back / Looking Forward

Director’s Note: FNB JoburgArtFair

Have a look at Creative Feel’s interview with Manda Sibeko here

We welcome you to our tenth annual FNB JoburgArtFair. A landmark year for us, we are excited to celebrate and share with you the depth and breadth of artistic talent that represents and shapes the contemporary African milieu.

Johannesburg, a unique African city with so much diversity and an unquenchable, almost palpable energy, is the perfect backdrop to an event that each year attracts thousands to view art from South Africa, across the African continent and beyond. This year the fair brings together more than 60 participants representing 12 countries in Africa, Europe and the United States. Since our first fair in 2008, we have witnessed significant growth in audience numbers and in the interest shown for African contemporary art locally, a phenomenon mirrored globally. The fair represents a major buying platform for art in South Africa and is a vital component of growth and sustainability for artists, galleries and the entire art economy. We have also been part of contributing to and supporting a burgeoning artistic community of makers, collectors and art admirers.

In ten years we have noted with great pleasure the ongoing shift in the makeup of that community which over time has become richly diverse and pleasingly representative of the continent of which we are a part. In celebrating an exciting decade of art fairs we can’t help but look back in order to shape our path ahead.  With this in mind, our featured artist for 2017 was our inaugural featured artist in 2008 – Cape Town born, Johannesburg bred and Berlin-based Robin Rhode. A multidisciplinary artist Rhode was born in a significant year, 1976, that for South Africans carries the symbolic weight of great change brought about by the voices and actions of youth. Among the many highlights of the programme will be the screening in Nelson Mandela Square of a series of films from the Centre For The Less Good Idea, a groundbreaking space for artistic collaboration and experimentation that was established in Johannesburg earlier this year by William Kentridge.

FNB JoburgArtFair
Mandla Sibeko

A truly global lineup, we are delighted to host Dr Zoe Whitely as special project guest curator. Dr Whitely is a Research Curator at London’s Tate Modern and someone who has made a significant impact through her work, which has included the co-writing of Tate’s revised Africa acquisitions strategy. We look forward to sharing her South African Modern exhibition Truth, or some other abstraction with you. Invested in the success of each art fair is a stellar list of partners that includes our corporate sponsors, representatives of South Africa’s impressive gallery scene and of course the many artists who give us privileged access through their work to their artistic insights. From the start, our sponsoring partner First National Bank has shared our vision. We extend our thanks to the FNB team and the bank as a whole for their incredible and unwavering support that has enabled us to grow the fair from an idea to an event that supports the creative economy and provides a showcase for contemporary African art and meaning. FNB is also the power behind one of the most prestigious art prizes for African contemporary art on the continent: the FNB Art Prize.

An integral part of our annual Special Projects, the prize serves as a critical intervention in the careers of young African artists, awarding the prize winner with the financial means to realise new work for the fair. The prize this year, decided by a jury that included prominent South African collector Pulane Kingston, Performa Founding Director RoseLee Goldberg and FNB JoburgArtFair producer, Nicole Siegenthaler, has been awarded to Nigerian artist Peju Alatise. We extend our thanks for their support to our government partner, Gauteng Provincial Government, and we are grateful to Egon Zehnder for enabling and curating with us our VIP programme for the second consecutive year. We also welcome Cartier and Vodacom to the 2017 FNBJoburgArtFair and we look forward to a mutually rewarding relationship that is underpinned by a shared belief in the power of the art and the need to continually nurture a growing artistic community and economy. We hope and trust that you will enjoy your experience of the FNBJoburgArtFair 2017. Thank you for being a part of it.

For more information about the FNB JoburgArtFair have a look at these articles:

FNB JoburgArtFair 2017: Details of Tenth Edition Announced
Director’s Note: FNB JoburgArtFair, Looking Back / Looking Forward
Creative Feel’s interview with Manda Sibeko
Prestigious annual FNB Art Prize awarded to Peju Alatise
Robin Rhode: The Mysteries
Looking Both Ways by Sean O’Toole
BMW 7 Series Individual by Esther Mahlangu now in South Africa

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