COVID hasn’t gone away, but we’re learning to live with it, and the art world is rejoicing. Art Basel will go ahead in September, auctions are back in full swing to levels last seen more than 18 months ago, and gallery openings and biennales are back.
Financial markets continue their ascent, breaking all-time highs, fueled by central banks’ seemingly unstoppable expansionary monetary policy. Rising inflationary expectations however now result in negative real long-term interest rates – this actually means that people are willing to lend their money today and accept less back in future! Nonsensical? Right! Perhaps a better idea is to invest in real physical assets… like art.
The Contemporary African art market continues to blossom in this environment and we are taking part. In the past 7 months we added 45 works to the collection, by 25 artists at different stages of their career, from Benin, Congo, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, UK, USA and Zimbabwe. With prices ranging from a few hundred dollars to about 50 thousand, we maintain our broad geographic and stylistic collecting approach.
With more than 4 years since we started the collection under our belt, the number of artworks has now surpassed 400. Our objective is to limit the size to no more than 500 works while continuously improving the collection. It is therefore time to start selling works by artists whose markets are rising and deepening (particularly artists that we hold numerous works by) and to use the proceeds to reinvest in the next generation of emerging artists. In July we did this publicly for the first time via the Phillips New Now auction in London, where we presented 6 works from the collection by artists Amani Lewis, Wonder Buhle, Emmanuel Taku, Simphiwe Ndzube, Moffat Takadiwa and Igshaan Adams. Five works fared very well setting new auctions records for Lewis, Taku, Ndzube and Takadiwa. The Adams was unsold despite his mesmerizing ongoing exhibition at the Hayward gallery which I went to see. What might explain this is that this work in particular was acquired at an auction in South Africa in 2017 at a much lower price, a matter of public record. No regrets.
We are currently working on our second Africa Present auction collaboration with Artnet, which will take place online from August 31 – September 14. Our inaugural auction in April did very well setting 11 artist auctions records (5 for new artists to auction via the Meet section, and 6 additional records). Several works were acquired by Jorge Perez, noted collector and namesake patron of the Perez Art Museum, who said “I discovered a great number of talents in the Africa Present sale and added seven new artists to my collection”. For this second edition, we are pleased to welcome Latitudes as our curatorial partner for the Meet section. Latitudes was launched as an art fair and quickly moved online to establish itself as a powerful destination for collectors to discover curated Contemporary Art from across Africa. We are accepting consignments now, please get in touch if you wish to propose works for the auction.
We are accepting consignments now, please get in touch if you wish to propose works for the auction.
Last but not least, we are very pleased to announce a new collaboration with Art Harare – Zimbabwe’s new destination to explore the burgeoning local contemporary art scene. For the second edition of the Art Fair, taking place in December 2021, Africa First will sponsor an artist prize which will include an exhibition and a residency in 2022 (Covid permitting) in Israel. More details and an open call will be published in September.
The newsletter contains many additional links to interesting articles I’ve come across about the market and the artists we collect. We hope you find the newsletter useful and look forward to your feedback, comments and suggestions.
Have a lovely summer break,