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AKAA, Contemporary African Art and Design fair hits its stride on the 4th attempt

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maya-ines-touam-triptyque-vertical-sans-titre-1-tirage-photographique-sous-diassec-mat-3-x-105-x-70-cm-2019-ed-3-1-ap-courtesy-african-arty
Maya-Ines Touam, Triptyque vertical sans titre, Courtesy African Arty

The 4th edition of the Contemporary African Art and Design fair AKAA (Also Known As Africa) opened a day earlier to a select group of collectors and art insiders. By the time the fair opened for the official preview on Friday 8th, the clues that this would be a better, well-rounded selection – compared with preview editions – were evident. This was an edition rooted in the youthfulness of artists recounting a multifaceted contemporary Africa, investigating the continent’s cultural hybridity and, more importantly, reimagining its future. 

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Young Cameroonian artist Marc Padeu sets surprising new records at Piasa Contemporary African art auction

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Marc Padeu, Voici l'homme !, 2019. Courtesy of the artist
Marc Padeu, Voici l’homme !, 2019. Courtesy of the artist.

For African Art lovers, Piasa’s contemporary African art auction has become a standard feature on the Parisian autumnal art calendar alongside the art and design fair AKAA, Also Known As Africa. However, the more surprising aspects of the auction were the new records established by young Cameroonian artist Marc Padeu and other artists recently introduced to the secondary market.

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Ben Enwonwu dominates Sotheby’s Modern and Contemporary African art auction

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Ben Enwonwu, Christine, 1971
Ben Enwonwu, Christine, 1971

In the astronomical world of contemporary art where sales at auctions amounted to $29.1 billion in 2018 (according to the latest Art Basel and USB Global report), £4 m ($4.6m) is infinitesimally small. Yet, it calls for a great deal of relativism as that is precisely the new record for a single auction of Modern and Contemporary African Art.

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Kara Walker’s Fons Americanus, emphatically propels Black History into the collective consciousness.

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Kara Walker, Fons Americanus at the Tate in London
Kara Walker, Fons Americanus at the Tate in London

Veni Vidi Vici. The sentence attributed to Jules Cesar encapsulates the way history is crudely memorialized in public spaces. Grandiloquent and gilded statues often favour the single perspective of those who came, saw, and conquered. Of these constructed heroes, we are collectively required only to remember their reported gestures of self-sacrifice, courage, and endearing ability to triumph against all the odds.

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