Contemporary African art raises interest in Basel
“Die Kuratorin Christine Eyene über Kunst aus Afrika” reads one of the titles of today’s Basler Zeitung front page. Africa’s presence at the Swiss edition of the most important art fair, Art Basel, cannot go unnoticed. For some days now and until 20 June, a contingent of African artists have invested 32 Utengasse, a quiet street located ten minutes from Art 41 Basel, Scope, Liste, Hot Art Fair and Selection.
FOCUS10 - Contemporary Art Africa successfully launched on Tuesday evening attracting local and international artists, collectors and gallery owners. FOCUS10 presents two curatorial visions with a selection of artists represented by Galerie Peter Herrmann (Berlin, Germany) and a show curated by Christine Eyene (London, UK).
Galerie Peter Herrmann, spread out over the ground and top floors of FOCUS10’s venue, features Dalila Dalleas (Algeria/Germany); Amouzou Glikpa (Togo/Germany); Bill Kouelany (Congo-Brazzaville); Malam (Cameroon/France); George Osodi (Nigeria/England), Cheri Samba (DRC) and Ransome Stanley (Germany).
“Artists visions – A snapshot of contemporary African art”, curated by Christine Eyene, occupies the courtyard, ground and first floors of FOCUS10. The show is the result of artists’ submissions following an open call launched by FOCUS in 2009. Twelve artists were selected by Lerato Bereng (Cape Town, South Africa) and Christine Eyene on the basis that the topics they explore, their aesthetics, choice of medium and technique are innovative and reflect current trends from Africa and the Diaspora.
Artists featured include:
Steve Bandoma (South Africa), Faith47 and Rowan Pybus (South Africa), Justin Fiske (South Africa), Ricky Lee Gordon (South Africa) Bers Grandsinge (DRC/Belgium), Ibrahim El Haddad (Egypt/Switzerland), Milumbe Haimbe (Zambia) Victor Mutelekesha (Zambia/Norway), Cameron Platter (South Africa), Frauke Stegmann (Namibia), thanksthanksafrica (Canada/Nigeria), Christian Tundula (DRC), Breeze Yoko (South Africa).
Also on show, Farafin a ni Toubabou by French artist and performance theorist Adrien Sina, presented in collaboration with Fondation Blachère (France).
Additionally to the exhibition, a series of tea-time talks have been programmed.
Yesterday, Cape Town-based Joburger Ricky Lee Gordon, a young prolific graffiti artist and curator presented /A WORD OF ART, Write on Africa, and a series of groundbreaking projects blending art, corporate collaborations and branding.
Justin Fiske’s presentation entitled “Who does the Grail serve?” is programmed today at 6.00, alongside a discussion on the African art scene on Radio Openbroadcast Art | Report Live by Barbara Strebel with Justin Fiske, Christine Eyene, Ricky Lee Gordon and Victor Mutelekesha.
For some artists, being in Basel brought the opportunity to engage with the main fair beyond the walls of FOCUS10. Berlin-based Algerian artist Dalila Dalleas placed her guerrilla penguins in one of the halls, in a sort of transient performative act that she likens to the ephemera of graffiti. Her intervention shifted the relation between the “in” and the “off”, placing Art Basel, the official fair, as the “off” venue of her participation to FOCUS10.
Find out more to come on FOCUS10 here.
FOCUS10 - Contemporary Art Africa is part of Art Basel Parallel Events and Shows