It is with great pride and excitement that we introduce the first issue of ART AFRICA – an all-new, bigger and more international publication.
Together, we have over twenty years of experience in building new art audiences, occupying a prominent place at the forefront of the contemporary African art scene – most notably through our tenure as the founders and publishers of ART AFRICA magazine.
Focusing the spotlight on valuable cultural and creative production from the continent and the diaspora, ART AFRICA is a barometer of current trends and discourse, responding to relevant issues and initiating vital conversations. On our trajectory towards becoming a truly global publication, the magazine and its associated projects will now be present at over twelve international art fairs and events annually. Leading opinion, sparking debate and leveraging our already extensive (and growing) global network, ART AFRICA extends its reach to focus specifically on the following four global art regions – Europe; The Global South; North Africa, The Middle East & Asia and The United States.
Taking into account the voices of previous editors of ARTsouthAFRICA, Ashraf Jamal and Sean O’Toole – who open this issue with their critical positioning pieces – we have christened this issue ‘Becoming African.’1 To this end we have commissioned various international contributions in order to further explore what that means and, furthermore, what it looks like. In anticipation of the third edition of 1:54 and the emergence of Also Known As Africa (AKAA), this issue examines the representation of artists from the African continent in Europe. Through exclusive interviews with Touria El Glaoui, Koyo Kouoh and Victoria Mann, we gain insight into the vision and core concerns of these expositions.
As Africa goes to Europe, Europe comes to Africa; we speak to Hans Ulrich Obrist and Simon Castets, founders of 89plus, on the occasion of the first-ever ‘Brutally Early Club’ in Johannesburg. Also of international interest in the City of Gold is the FNB JoburgArtFair 2015. In our in-depth feature, Lucy MacGarry offers us her ‘Curator’s Insight’ and we preview some of the work on show. Fresh from Venice, Roelof Petrus Van Wyk and the artists of the Johannesburg Pavilion 2015 share their experiences as a non-official pavilion working on the fringes of the so-called “Art Olympics.”2 Exhibition reviews and curator’s insights offer critical examinations of some of the most recent work coming from the continent, while our Bright Young Things triple-feature presents fresh and promising talent from South Africa and Nigeria.
We are also incredibly excited to announce the ART AFRICA COLLECTORS REPORT, a mini-edition of which we present now. Launched in partnership with Auriti Fine Art Advisory and Consulting, the first edition of the AACR features interviews with and analysis from private and corporate collectors.
In an effort to broaden our scope even further, we introduce our sister publications, snapped and ComicArtAfrica, as special supplements going forward.
We hope that this inaugural edition inspires you to join us in our journey to ‘Becoming African!’