Press Release

Sotheby’s to Present Exhibition of Contemporary African Art in Tel Aviv

By Sotheby's
Curated by the Ghanaian Artist and Social Entrepreneur Joseph Awuah-Darko

Works from the Olym Collection On View to the Public from 5 February to 5 May 2023
Foster Sakyiamah, Esi Amethystia, 2022

TEL AVIV, 19 JANUARY 2023 – The emergence of young Contemporary African artists, not only living and working on the continent but also across the diaspora, is a well-documented phenomenon of the twenty-first century, in tandem with a growing appreciation internationally and institutionally for contemporary African art. In 2020, for the first time in its history, Tefaf Maastricht featured a booth dedicated to contemporary art from Africa, and the 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair – founded in 2013 - has long been a staple in the annual global art fair calendar. Not least, Sotheby’s began holding dedicated auctions of Modern and Contemporary African Art in London in 2017.

Next month, Sotheby’s will join forces with the founders of the Olym Collection to present ‘Contemporary Redefined: Africa Today’, the first exhibition of its kind to be held by the company in Tel Aviv. Featuring the new vanguard of African Contemporary artists within the Sub-Saharan and Western regions of the continent, the exhibition – opening on 5 February and on view until 5 May at Sotheby’s Tel Aviv office, located at 6 Rothschild Boulevard – is a unique grouping of 31 works by more than 20 artists originating from eight African countries.

The artworks selected for display are being loaned from the Olym Collection, a private collection of contemporary African art founded by two brothers based in Israel. Assembled over recent years, as a result of their frequent trips to Africa, and their personal desire to be exposed to diverse artistic practices across the various geographical regions on the continent, the collection reflects a sustained period of intense collecting activity, drawing on informed custodianship and intellectual curiosity. The Olym Collection takes its name from the Hebrew word ‘Aliyah’, which translates as ‘elevation’ – for them, collecting art is akin to elevating the soul.

The exhibition is curated by the Ghanaian artist and social entrepreneur Joseph Awuah-Darko. As the founder and Director of the Noldor Artist Residency and the President of the Institute Museum of Ghana in Accra, Awuah-Darko is a leading figure in the African art scene. A young entrepreneur and also an artist, a musician, and a social activist, with accomplishments widely documented through outlets including the Financial Times, The Art Newspaper, Forbes and Art Forum, he was selected as a member of Forbes Africa 30 under 30 class of 2019.

Sigal Mordechai, Managing Director, Sotheby’s Tel Aviv, said: “After experiencing two quieter public-facing years as a result of the pandemic, our Tel Aviv team is looking forward to reengaging with art lovers through the launch of ‘Contemporary Redefined: Africa Today’, an event all the more notable as it marks the first time Sotheby’s Tel Aviv is presenting a dedicated exhibition focusing on art exclusively from Africa. The paintings, photographs and sculptures by artists from Senegal, Ghana, Mali, and Nigeria and beyond, are colourful, intellectually stimulating and joyful. In bringing this show to fruition, we have had the pleasure of working with the Olym Collection’s founders – two brothers who remain true to their passion for art and beauty, and the celebration of diversity – together with curator Joseph Awuah-Darko, who brings a local knowledge and thought-provoking perspective to each of the artworks.”

Drawing upon discussions with the artists, gallerists and curators, the collection’s founders sought to explore the individual stories behind the works: “Our aim is to highlight beauty in all its different manifestations and celebrate open mindedness, which we hope to transmit to our children via this collection”.

The artists represented include: Joshua Oheneba-Takyi (GHANA), Samuel Olayombo (NIGERIA), Kassou Seydou (SENEGAL), Aliou Diack (SENEGAL), Kelvin Ansong (GHANA), Emmanuel Taku (GHANA), Ibrahim Ballo (MALI), Jean-David Nkot (CAMEROON), Omar Victor Diop (SENEGAL), Francois-Xavier Gbré (b. France, based IVORY COAST), Prince Gyasi (GHANA), Eric Gyamfi (GHANA), Vincent Michea (b. France, based DAKAR), Foster Sakyiamah (GHANA), Joseph Awuah-Darko (b. UK, based GHANA), Richmond Agamelah (GHANA), Bamouin Sinze (IVORY COAST), Jean-Colomb Efiambelo (MADAGASCAR), Adjaratou Ouedraogo (BURKINA FASO), Samuel Vittu (NIGERIA), Boluwatife Oyediran (NIGERIA).




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