Joburg Art Fair was a big success

Patience Bambalele

Patience Bambalele

The Joburg Art Fair held at the Sandton Convention Centre at the weekend was an great success.

The second Africa's contemporary art exhibition attracted thousands of art lovers from all over the world. The event was officially opened by Gauteng MEC for sport, arts, culture and recreation Barbara Creecy.

The turnout was good and the vast wealth of work on display was also impressive. It might sound puerile to point out that much contemporary art requires a lot of attention and digestion, and at times I felt there was simply too much on offer. Art enthusiasts will agree that art fairs are undeniably the most interesting shopping venues left in the country.

In this three-day event, visual artists, galleries, buyers and art professionals from around the world feasted their eyes on the best quality art.

Art lovers were introduced to an eclectic experience, drawing a huge array of creative individuals from across Africa.

Covering more than 5000 square metres of gallery space, about 6500 visitors came last year, and this year more than 10000 people supported the event. Though one of the objectives of the fair is to give artists a platform, most importantly it is to make money.

Last year art pieces to the value of R30million were sold.

"This year's figures have not been released yet," said Matthew McClure.

The Joburg Art Fair offered the best art from multimedia, sculptures, photography, video art, paintings, print making and many more. Boasting the largest collection of African contemporary art, this year's fair featured 36 artists who represented their galleries.

Art fairs are about combining art and lifestyle and appealing to an audience that might ordinarily shy away from a gallery.

This year's Joburg Art Fair offered an excellent opportunity to assess the state of contemporary art, the tastes and buying habits of art buyers.

For the past two years the success and attraction of the Joburg Art Fair has been its ability to provide collectors and connoisseurs or art with a single point of access to galleries and artists.

Some of the local artists who shone at the fair were Mary Sibande, Happy Dhlame, Mbongeni Dominic Tshabangu, Nicholas Hlobo, Bonile Bam, and Santu Mofokeng.

The fair was very broad and encompassed cultural areas beyond fine art, and included design and architectural sections.