Today marks the end of this years, FNB Jo’burg Art Fair 2016, hosted at the Sandton Convention Centre, from the 9 – 11 September 2016. The fair this year made great steps towards developing the relationship between southern Africa and east Africa. Showcasing East Africa as a hub of art making within Africa.
Faye Mfikwe, FNB Chief Marketing director says, “The FNB Jo’burg Art Fair continues to play a significant role in discovering the value that artists bring to society and has earned a reputation as the ideal place for those interested in African Contemporary art”. This is a great statement made towards the South African art world as it places South African artists in the centre of socio-political commentary. As an artist, this is the true role of art and it is important to have society recognise the role the artist and art has on society.
Each year one sees the fair grow and this year, in its ninth year one sees how the fair is a leader in showcasing cutting edge African art to Africa and the rest of the world. A great step for me was seeing how artists are developing their “African-ness” moving away from colonial territory and social commentary on what it means to be an African based on colonialism. Now, artists are looking at the modern african, what it means to be an African in the world today, moving away from colonial history and developing their African-ness in a world that is their own. For me, it was refreshing to see. Colonialism has had such a fundamental influence on art that to see a new era evolve is to see society evolve too. It is a victory.
Curator Lucy MacGarry chose the focus of East Africa which reflects the changes in art production, focusing on countries like Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, Ethiopia, Somalia and Sudan. One sees a true reflection of change within Africa. Showcasing the Eastern horn of Africa brings about subjects that showcase how the contemporary African art world is progressing in modernity. No longer should the art world focus on the North, Europe and America, the South is the new point of focus.
The show was the best one yet, with 600 artists, 80 exhibitions within 6 categories, contemporary and modern art, special projects, gallery solo projects, limited editions and art platforms. 17 countries across Africa and 15 special projects. The Fair has truly made a stance for years to come. I am looking forward to its 10th anniversary next year. A decade of celebrating art.