african Art First

Edward Tsumele

Those who love everything artistic will be spoilt for choice at the forthcoming Johannesburg Art Fair at the Sandton Convention Centre next month.

Sponsored by FNB, this will be the country's, and probably the continent's, first art fair.

While the South Africa is well known for hosting international art exhibitions, such as the recently ended AfricanRemix which closed late last year at the Johannesburg Art Gallery, this will be the first time it hosts an international art fair.

Artlogic, the company behind the Johannesburg Art Fair, is co-owned by Ross Douglas and Cobi Laubuscagne.

"The main difference between an art exhibition and an art fair is that an art fair is commercially driven, whereas an exhibition is not," said Douglas.

He told Sowetan that it has cost them R7million to put together the fair.

FNB chief executive of investment banking, Robert Keip, said: "For us, we decided that we needed to be involved as a way of developing the arts.

"However, as FNB we have for a long time been involved in sponsoring the arts, for instance the FNB Dance Umbrella. A lot of sponsorship money is being put into sport, and yet the arts are also a niche market," he said.

"This is the first African contemporary art fair ever.

"Through the 24 participating galleries, local and foreign, buyers will have access to the largest and most prestigious collection of African contemporary artists under one roof, covering 5000 square metres of gallery space," the bank says.

Prices for contemporary African art showcased at the Jo'burg Art Fair will range between R1000 and R5million.

Art is big business all over the world but less so here in South Africa. The Jo'burg Art Fair, held from March 13 to 16, will give you an opportunity to participate in the art market.

For more information, go to for a full list of participating galleries and examples of the art that will be exhibited.

FNB, together with Artlogic, the producers of the art fair, are hosting the opening evening on Thursday March 13 at 6pm at the Sandton Convention Centre.

Buying a ticket for R600 will get you and your partner a seat at the opening evening.