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Be Smart About South Africa

Why Are So Many African Art Fairs Dominated by Non-African Dealers?                          

While the global surge in interest in African contemporary art has certainly been a game changer for many African artists, the same hasn’t necessarily held true for African gallerists. Although their prospects may also improve from the increased attention, the reality remains that the majority of international sales of African works are conducted by non-African dealers. With foreign voices spearheading sales and cultivating artists’ careers, it raises unsettling questions about a new wave of colonialism. Explaining why we see so many Black African artists at non-Black owned galleries, Majid Biggar, the lead curator at the Lagos gallery SMO Contemporary Art, says: “With the surge in demand for works by Black artists, more international galleries have been offering opportunities to young African artists often times at the cost of the organic growth of their careers.” But he warns that what they potentially gain in international exposure, “they risk losing full ownership and autonomy of their art career and works.”

THE ART NEWSPAPER

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