Monthly round up: A look back at October

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Charles White, Nobody Knows My Name
Charles White, Nobody Knows My Name, Swann Galleries Catalogue

As expected, Frieze London prompted a host of activities and exhibition previews that made for a very hectic month. Elsewhere, from New York to Washington to Lagos, the global African Art calendar has been filled with events and significant achievements. Here is a recap of October to help you keep track of all the major news you may have missed.

Art Fairs & Auctions

The leading Contemporary African Art fair 1:54 returned to Somerset House in London for the 6th edition. Artnet news reported on the strong sales at the Fair and also mentioned several galleries that sold out “by the end of the preview day.”

Ibrahim El Salahi, Meditation Tree, Courtyard Installation, 1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair
Ibrahim El Salahi, Meditation Tree, Courtyard Installation, 1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair

Still in London, Bonhams and Sotheby’s had their dedicated African Art Auctions last month generating a little over £ 4Million in sales between them. (respectively: £ 1,802, 625 at Bonhams and £ 2,274,625 at Sotheby’s).

Modern and Contemporary African Art Auction at Sotheby's
Modern and Contemporary African Art Auction at Sotheby’s

In New York, Charles White’s Nobody Knows My Name was auctioned off for $485,000 (premium included), over 4 times the low estimate of $100,000. Incidentally, the artist’s retrospective was due to open three days later at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA).

Prizes & Awards:

Titus Kaphar – MacArthur Grant

Titus Kaphar is among the 25 recipients of this years’ MacArthur Grant. The artist uses the codes and language of classical art to write a new version of art history. One that brings to the fore people and stories that were left out.

Diedrick Brackens – Joyce Alexander Wein Artist Prize

Studio Museum in Harlem announced that its Joyce Alexandar Wein Artist Prize went to Diedrick Brackens. The artist explores a wide range of issues including masculinity and identity in his woven work. His work has garnered a lot of attention lately, after a group exhibition at the Hammer Museum in LA (USA).

Simone Leigh – Hugo Boss Prize

Simone Leigh was awarded the Hugo Boss Prize 2018. Her sculptures explore the hidden and often undervalued labour of black women

Lynette Yiadom Boakye – Carnegie Prize

The British-Ghanian artist Lynette Yiadom Boakye was awarded the 2018 Carnegie Prize.

African Art Awards in Washington

The Smithsonian National Museum of African Art, host of the African art Awards dinner presented, the 2018 awards to artists Edson Chagas and Wangechi Mutu


Tate Museum made four acquisitions with its Frieze Tate Fund this year, including, Sonia Boyce’s The Audition 1997 and Claudette Johnson’s Standing Figure with African Masks 2018.

Art Restitution:

Artnet News has announced that Nigeria and 5 European countries have reached an agreement to loan some of the Benin bronze to be displayed in the future Nigerian Royal Museum. The discussions have been ongoing since the Benin Dialogue group was set up in 2007 to find a way to settle the Art restitution claims.

That’s it for October. We will be at AKAA in Paris. If you can’t make it to Paris, we will be sharing the highlights of the fair.

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