The 5th edition of Cape Town Art Fair showed exponential growth. Over 80 exhibitors, including leading galleries from South Africa, the African continent, the Middle East, and Europe exhibited presentations of contemporary art produced by established and emerging artists from all over the world. CTAF has proven to be an effective access point for international galleries and their artists to connect with an ever-growing market of African collectors, and a magnet for international collectors and institutions looking for best of contemporary art produced on the African continent.
Exhibitors from abroad accounted for over a third of the programme, and included prominent names such as Galleria Minini, Galleria Continua, October Gallery, and Sabrina Amrani Gallery. Local galleries heavily involved in the international art fair circuit, including Goodman Gallery and Stevenson, alongside exhibitors from the continent such as Gallery 1957 from Accra, Circle Art Gallery from Nairobi, Galerie Cecile Fakhoury from Abidjan, BLOOM Art Lagos and Addis Fine Art represented the dynamic conversations surrounding visual art in the region. The combination of local and international exhibitors has resulted in content that offers an engaging view of the art market.
CTAF2017 leaped in sales and attendance, reaching over 20 000 visits, with 2 481 invited guests attending the Vernissage. VIP guests consisted of local and international collectors and curators who spent much of the weekend exploring and buying art at the Fair, and creating connections in the expansive lounge. With access to an extensive programme of events, including walkabouts of museums, private collections, and artist studios, as well as exhibition openings, performances, and cocktail parties at exclusive venues around the city, guests received an intimate experience of Cape Town’s unique and exciting art scene.
CTAF2017 saw the introduction of a new section, Unframed, dedicated to large-scale, often interactive installations and sculpture. Interspersed throughout the Fair, it heightened the fairgoers’ experience and generated widespread media coverage. The section provided galleries and their artists, Mary Sibande (Gallery MOMO), Liza Grobler (Everard Read), and Michael Linders and Katharien de Villiers (SMITH) a platform to present artworks that gave a more ambitious, more conceptual insight into each artists’ practice.
Returning to CTAF was Tomorrows/Today, curated by Fair Curator Tumelo Mosaka, dedicated to solo presentations by emerging artists who are positioned to be prominent names in the art world. Exploring the urban space, the section consisted of ten artists: winner of the Tomorrows/Today prize Jackie Karuti, represented by Circle Art Agency; Serge Attukwei Clottey (Gallery 1957, Accra); Onyis Martin (ARTLabAfrica, Nairobi); Marcia Kure (BLOOM Art, Lagos); Tanya Poole (Everard Read |CIRCA Gallery, Cape Town/Johannesburg/London); Maurice Mbikayi from Kinshasa (Gallery MOMO, Johannesburg/Cape Town); Sandile Zulu (SMAC Gallery, Cape Town/Stellenbosch/Johannesburg); Thabiso Sekgala (Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg/Cape Town); Joël Adrianomearisoa from Madagascar (Sabrina Amrani Gallery, Madrid); and Helen Teede from Harare (Showcase Gallery Dubai in collaboration with First Floor Gallery Harare).
Cape Town Art Fair 2018 will return to the Cape Town International Convention Centre from the 16th to the 18th February. Developing the curatorial strength of the Fair, 2018 will see the introduction of a new section, ‘Solo Projects’. In its inaugural year, the section will be led by an independent curator and will focus upon the wide spread socio-political issues faced by women, while also highlighting the contribution of women to the art world. Returning to the Fair is the Unframed section, as well as Tomorrows/Today led once again by Fair Curator Tumelo Mosaka, and open to entries of solo projects by emerging artists from around the world. CTAF2018 will involve closer cultural partnerships with museums and institutions, as well as a ramped up programme of events that will give the ever-increasing number of international collectors and exhibitors more opportunities to explore all that Cape Town has to offer as a creative capital.