ArtWa News: Four Women Top the Auction Market for African Art and More Stories


FOUR WOMEN TOP THE AUCTION MARKET FOR AFRICAN ART. According to the head of Modern and contemporary African art at Sotheby’s, Hannah O’Leary, “The growing market for African artists often addresses two demands, being the lack of both ethnic and geographic diversity in the mainstream art market.” But with being male rapidly going out of fashion at auctions and the prices for women artists of different ethnicities being on the rise, the African art market is led by these four women—Marlene Dumas ($6.3m), Julie Mehretu ($5.6m), Irma Stern ($4m) and Njideka Akunyili Crosby ($3.4m). Their prices eclipse the likes of Ben Enwonwu ($1.7m), El Anatsui ($1.5m) and William Kentridge ($1.5m). [The Art Newspaper]

REMEMBERING BILL AINSLIE, THE VISIONARY OF JOHANNESBURG ART FOUNDATION. 30 years ago this month, the South African artist, Bill Ainslie, died in a car accident. Michael Gardiner remembers Ainslie, who through his close professional relationship with Dumile Feni was drawn into the turmoil of the townships and to their leading figures including Peter Magubane, Winnie Mandela and Mongane Wally Serote. Ainslie played a major role in the establishment of the Federated Union of Black Artists, the Alexandra Arts Centre, and, with David Koloane, the annual Thupelo Artists’ Workshops—a project which now has offshoots in more than 30 African countries. [Daily Maverick]

NESG’S ‘2050: NIGERIA OF OUR DREAMS’ ART CONTEST. The Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG), a not-for profit/non-partisan group with a mandate to promote and champion the reform of the Nigerian economy, is entertaining submissions for its art competition. Application to participate in the competition, which is open to Visual Artists including photographers, illustrators, sculptors and graphic designers; Architects, Filmmakers, Animators; performing artists including Poets and spoken word artists and fashion designers, closes on 6 September 2019. [NESG]

CREATIVE PHOTOGRAPHY MASTERCLASS 2019 HOLDS AT THOUGHT PYRAMID ART CENTRE. The second edition of the yearly photography workshop commenced on 17th August 2019 at the Ikoyi, Lagos gallery of Thought Pyramid Art Centre. One of the elite photography workshops in Africa, it is facilitated by accomplished and award-winning photographers including Tam Fiofori, Don Barber, Uche James Iroha, Kelechi Amadi-Obi, George Osodi, Hakeem Salaam, Yetunde Babaeko, Andrew Esiebo and Adolphus Opara. []


Sculpture at SculptX


SCULPTX, THE LARGEST SCULPTURE FAIR IN SOUTH AFRICA HOLDS IN SEPTEMBER. Two hundred artworks created by more than 90 established and emerging sculptors will be exhibited at the third installment of SculptX, which will run from 30 August to 29 September 2019 at Melrose Arch in South Africa. Organized by The Melrose Gallery, SculptX provides a platform to promote sculpture and sculptors. This year, the organizer announced it made efforts to source female and young artists from disadvantaged communities to give them the benefit of the platform. Participating artists include Noria Mabasa, Vusi Khumalo, Adejoke Tugbiyele and Strijdom van der Merwe. [The Melrose Gallery]


Triptych, c 1960/70, Roka Studio, Mali


‘AFRICAN SPIRITS’ IS STILL OPEN AT THE YOSSI MILO GALLERY. With images ranging from a guy on a bike in the 1970s to Cardi B, the exhibition of photographs by pioneering African portrait photographers, Seydou Keita (1921-2001), Malick Sidibé (1935-2016), and contemporary photographers such as Samuel Fosso, and Leonce Raphael Agbodjelelou, which runs till 23 August 2019 at the New York gallery, focuses on “… everyday life [in different African countries] amid the transition from colonial rule to independence, showing informally dressed party-goers as well as solemn-faced portrait-sitters in traditional outfits.” [NPR]

CENTRAL PARK’S SUFFRAGISTS STATUE REDESIGNED TO INCLUDE SOJOURNER TRUTH. Following months of acrimonious accusation of racism and whitewashing history regarding the designs for Central Park’s proposed permanent monument to women’s suffrage, the abolitionist and women’s rights activist, Sojourner Truth, will join Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony in the sculpture. Sojourner Truth (c. 1797 – November 26, 1883) was an African-American abolitionist and women’s rights activist, who was born into slavery, escaped with her infant daughter to freedom in 1826, and after going to court to recover her son in 1828, she became the first black woman to win such a case against a white man. [Omenka]


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