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Vision #10 H2 2022

Read the Vision #10, H2 2022 here


Installation View: Simphiwe Mbunyuza, Emasimini at the African Studies Gallery

Photo by: Evyatar Hershtik

2023, a change of scenery

Dear friends, You may remember from my previous musings that the inflationary environment and economic contraction we are now experiencing have been my core thesis for some time.

At Africa First, we used the past year to revisit and streamline our economic fundamentals, cut operating costs, eliminate leverage and increase free cash flow from ongoing operations. We come into 2023 relatively prepared for the possibility of my doomsday scenario starting to unfold - a prolonged stagflationary environment that results in increased unemployment, inflation, and substantially reduced, or potentially negative, GDP. I hope to be wrong.

Will the concerted action of central bankers to raise interest rates, with even Japan participating for the first time in about 40 years, suffice to turn things around? Personally, I doubt it and I think that at least the first six months of 2023 will see renewed declines in financial markets following the 4th quarter relief rally. What this means for the art market is probably reduced liquidity and much greater selectivity (which already started to some extent in the fall auctions). Regarding the market for African contemporary art, we expect attention and appetite for figurative works to stay soft during 2023 and to see a greater focus on abstraction and surrealism, led by female and LGBTQ+ artists

That said, 2022 was mostly about figurative art and Africa First participated actively via selling exhibitions we organized in collaboration with Gordon gallery in Israel, JD Malat gallery in London, and the AKAA art fair in Paris. We also had some selling activity via auction houses, primarily Phillips and Sotheby’s in London. In total, we sold some 80 works and acquired 90 new works during the year.

Installation view: Tega Tafadzwa: RWENDO – WHICH MEANS JOURNEY, 11 October - 7 November 2022 at JD Malat Gallery

2023 is off to an exciting start with trips planned in February to both Marrakech and Cape Town. I hope to see some of you in one of these fantastic art destinations where African contemporary art will once again be at the top of the agenda. Best wishes, Serge

To read the full update click here


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