“I’m not meant to be buying at the moment,” says Robert Devereux with the air of a man who is easily, delightedly persuaded by art. He ought, perhaps, to stay away from fairs, but as a former chair of Frieze and a current board member of the 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair, he is drawn to them in an ambassadorial capacity – “I have a few light duties because I know all the galleries,” he says – and he knows he will inevitably end up buying, too. MICHAEL SOI, THE POSTER IN TOWN, 2011. FROM THE COLLECTION OF ROBERT DEVEREUX. COURTESY THE ARTIST, PHOTO BY © CHRIS MCANDREW. The uniqueness of a piece of art is what has him by the throat. “Standing in front of a work, whether it’s a painting by William Kentridge, or a great three-dimensional El Anatsui, and seeing where the artist’s hand has been at work, it’s just incredibly moving,” says the collector. “There really is something powerful about a unique artefact, a one-off.”
Emerging from the shadow of a long civil war, the Angolan art scene has experienced significant growth in recent years, attracting more attention than ever before. Adriana La Lime from Sotheby's Modern and Contemporary African Art Department sat down with leading contemporary artist and one of Angola's most celebrated talents, António Ole, at his studio in Luanda to discuss his practice, the art scene in Angola and works sold in Sotheby's inaugural auction of Modern and Contemporary African Art in May 2017 and the Bowie/Collector sale in 2016.
2017 has seen a stellar line-up of exhibitions of African art in France. This prominence has brought the art of this vast continent of 54 countries to the forefront of the Parisian scene. Sometimes referred to as 'a fad', African art, both from the continent as well as from the Diaspora, is putting its mark on the French cultural landscape and these summertime exhibitions throughout France act as irrefutable proof.
Ghanaian-born Ibrahim Mahama is an artist at the forefront of pushing narratives in contemporary art. He has exhibited at the Venice Biennale, Documenta 14, Moderna Museet in Stockholm and the Tel Aviv Museum of Art. Sharon Obuobi, Junior Cataloguer in the Modern & Contemporary African Art department, sat down with him to talk about his creative process and his 2014 work, Chale Wote, which will be offered in the upcoming Modern & Contemporary African Art auction on 28 March. Sharon Obuobi: You are most known for your large-scale installations of jute sacks stitched together to form large textiles, often hung over multi-storey buildings. Created with your team of local collaborators from a variety of backgrounds. Tell me more about the significance of your choice of the jute sacks and what they mean to you.
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