“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.”
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.
Brussels and Monaco April 19-20:
Our Modern and Contemporary African Art specialists will be in Brussels (19-20 April) and Monaco (April 20) offering free and confidential appraisals. Artists of interest include William Kentridge, Pascale Marthine Tayou, Chéri Samba, Yusuf Grillo, Irma Stern, Bodys Isek Kingelez, Gerard Sekoto, Ben Enwonwu, El Anatsui, Ibrahim El Salahi and Abdoulaye Konaté among many others.