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Contemporary African Art and What Art Means in Our Lives: Cape Town Art Fair

100 local and international art galleries come to Cape Town to explore African art, the meaning of art and diversifying art

When you hear the 7th annual Investec Cape Town Art Fair is happening soon, you traditionally either get excited because this is “your thing”, or you brush over it because you feel that you’re normally excluded. “It shouldn’t be a reality that in 2019 I still refer to myself as the first black female curator in South Africa,” says Ernestine White, curator of contemporary art at Iziko Museums.

And that sentiment sets the tone for what this year’s Investec Cape Town Art Fair, taking place 15–16 February 2019 at the CTICC, has set out to achieve: truly exploring African art, discussing the decolonisation of art and showing how art impacts us in our everyday lives.

“We want people to know that you don’t have to be a part of an elitist group of people who have a specific way of communicating with the world. Art is in everything around us.”

“And you don’t have to be an artist to understand what art is saying,” adds Investec Cape Town Art Fair 2019 curator, Tumelo Mosaka. “Art is the language of expression, and we can all learn to interpret this language.”

CAPE TOWN ART FAIR 2019: GOING BEYOND ART GALLERIES
Cape Town is a hub for art, and over 100 galleries, both local (and promoting African art) and international (with the aim of promoting the idea of exhibiting “traditional” art in an African setting) are participating. Over 18 000 guests are expected, and, besides the participating galleries at the CTICC fair itself, visitors will be able to explore specially curated exhibits and take part in a series of talks on Africa’s art scene at various venues around the city during the entire week of Art Week Cape Town (more below).

LOCAL EMERGING ARTISTS STEALING THE SHOW
A cross-section of the most exciting and emerging artists will be on display in the TOMORROWS/TODAY exhibit. The exhibit will be selected byTumelo Mosaka and the best work in the category will receive a cash prize and a solo exhibition at the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary African Art in the V&A Waterfront.

HOW WILL INTERNATIONAL GALLERIES FURTHER THE CAUSE OF AFRICAN ART?
The top international galleries that will be displaying their artists in Cape Town are doing so with explicit intent: They come to display their art in an African context with the aim of delving into the history, cultural heritage, and global relevance of African art. One of the major galleries is Galerie Perrotin, founded by Emmanuel Perrotin, with galleries in Paris, New York, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Seoul and Shanghai.

And, already in the lead-up to Cape Town Art Fair 2019, the event has started opening up some interesting discussion around African art:

WATCH: ART FAIR CURATORS ON DECOLONISING AFRICAN ART
White says that art still remains a white male-dominated industry and Mosaka notes the importance of always being aware of the continued influence of colonisation, especially when it comes to art.

WATCH: WHAT ART MEANS IN OUR EVERYDAY LIVES
White recounts her own first introduction with art through her mother, then a domestic worker. And notes how art is for everyone and touches our lives every day.

MORE ACCESSIBLE ART FOR EVERYONE: ART WEEK CAPE TOWN
The Investec Cape Town Art Fair is a part of Art Week Cape Town, where you can fully immerse yourself in a week of events and activations all around the city. The programme is diverse and often includes public performances, exhibitions, public talks and presentations, art and cultural city tours, artists’ studio visits and more. The programme will be released soon. For more information, read more on Art Week Cape Town 2019.

TICKETS FOR THE 2019 INVESTEC CAPE TOWN ART FAIR AT CTICC
Phase 1 tickets are already sold out. Phase 2: general pre-sale tickets cost R150pp for adults, R110pp for students, children 6–18 and pensioners. Weekend passes cost R285pp and door tickets cost R180pp for adults.
Phase 3: R130pp for students, children 6–-18  and pensioners and door weekend passes cost R385pp. Investec clients: only pay R228pp for pre-sale weekend passes.

Times for the Cape Town Art Fair:

Friday 15 Feb 11am – 8pm

Saturday 16 Feb 11am – 8pm

Sunday 17 Feb 11am – 4pm

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Free exhibition and walk-about with artists at Everard Read.
Discover your artsy side at these galleries.
See the best in African Contemporary art at the Zeitz MOCAA
Experience nine days of live street art at the International Public Arts Festival
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