Sunday, May 03, 2015

Art Market - Contemporary African Art Spring 2015

This story has intrigued a number of people both here and in the UK where London has now become the center of the world of contemporary African art. When Bonhams began holding their auctions  there were many that thought there was not a market that could sustain this type of sale. Obviously, they were wrong; and so a contemporary art fund is not necessarily big news.  However, considering the geopolitical realities, I wonder if this art fund will continue to focus only on contemporary African art.

1. LONDON - China and African Art
African Chinese Partnership Leads to African Art Fund
April 13, 2015 by Marion Maneker
Dabing Chen, Herman Steyn
The Art Newspaper has discovered a collaboration between a Chinese entrepreneur and a South African fund manager to create an African art fund that closely tracks the new Zeitz museum:
The Scheryn Art Collectors Fund, which will invest in artists from Africa and its diaspora, has been set up by the South African investment manager Herman Steyn and the Chinese-born, South Africa-based businessman Dabing Chen.
It costs a minimum R500,000 (around $40,500) to buy into the fund and annual management charges are 2%. There is no time limit for investments, but Steyn says that those hoping for a quick return should look elsewhere. […] Steyn and his partner have provided initial funding of R20m ($1.6m) and hope to raise a total R500m ($40.5m).
Steyn says that the trustees of the Scheryn art fund will be advised by a board of art experts and they intend to buy the work of “well established artists who give you more reliable price appreciation; middle tier artists who we believe are going to emerge; and then some really new, young artists”. […]
Dabing is the founder of the Chensia group of companies, which has interests in mining, jewellery and wine, and trades goods between South Africa and China. He has also set up cultural initiatives between the two countries. Meanwhile, Steyn is a director at Prescient, the only African investment fund that has a licence to invest in Chinese markets.
Africa is the new China, so it must be time for a dedicated art fund (The Art Newspaper)

1B. LONDON -Scheryn Art Fund invests in Africa - South African financier Herman Steyn has established the country’s first art fund and is working with Chinese entrepreneur Dabing Chen, also based in Africa. The project has taken three years to create, called the Scheryn Art Collectors Fund, investing in artists from Africa and its diaspora.  A team of researchers and independent evaluators are behind the fund, held by a trust and governed by a board.
Founders Herman Steyn and Dabing Chen. Images courtesy: Scheryn Art Collectors Fund
 Steyn has a background in actuarial science and is now turning to art to apply a professional practice to the marketplace to make investments more valuable, “You want something to appreciate," he told South Africa’s publication Financial Mail, adding "you don’t have to sell it to realise its value."
 The Scheryn Art Fund has already made a donation of several hundred thousand dollars to the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (MOCAA), a project developed at the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town. The move was made to link the two brands together and the cohesion aims to provide further visibility to the fund.
 One of the fund’s concepts is to allow investors to borrow art purchased by the fund. Focusing on artworks with international appeal, Steyn said "this is about putting African art on the world stage and making it globally competitive." However, the fund is not designed for those looking for a quick return on their investment said the creator, suggesting a wait of at least five years, and ideally ten years for investments to mature. It costs a minimum of $40,500 to buy into the Scheryn Art Fund, and annual management charges are 2%, which are the same as more generalist funds. Steyn and his partner have already provided initial funding of $1.6 million.
 Founders told The Art Newspaper that events this year will add much needed fuel to interest in African art. The Venice Biennale is lining up artists, curated by Nigerian-born Okwui Enwezor.

1c. LONDON - African contemporary art long remained on the sidelines, but it is starting to attract a lot of interest from both curators and collectors.
A sign of this change is 1:54, the first art fair dedicated exclusively to African contemporary art, which was launched two years ago in London and which will be opening to a new audience in New York from 15 to 17 May this year. The fair’s founder, Touria El Glaoui believes that it is high time that this kind of event made the news. “It is about independence, recognition and respect for our art. And this status is never given, it’s taken.”
The Venice Biennale Art Director, Okwui Enwezor, no doubt shares this point of view. His African heritage was no doubt one of the reasons for his nomination, with 16 artists of African origin presenting their work this year, including Adel Abdessemed, Barthelemy Toguo, Sammy Baloji, and Ibrahim Mahama.
And these may also be the precursors that drove South African financier Herman Steyn and Chinese business Dabing Chen to create the Scheryn Art Collectors Fund, an investment fund dedicated to contemporary art in Africa. Advised by art market specialists, they intend investing both in safe names and taking a gamble on young contemporary artists.  One slightly unusual feature of the fund is its intention to support African museums.  To this end, a donation has already been made to the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art in Cape Town. The two founders are currently looking for new investors prepared to contribute around $40,000 to the project. But be careful, Herman Steyn recommends that speculators look elsewhere as “it could take up to five years, or possibly even ten, for the artists’ ratings to rise”.

2. LONDON.- Inside the White Cube presents an exhibition of new paintings by Kenyan born, London-based artist Michael Armitage. This is Armitage's first solo exhibition in the UK.
Armitage weaves multiple truths into his lyrical, figurative paintings which focus primarily on narratives from his native country, Kenya. Using oil paint on Lubugo – a traditional bark cloth from Uganda – he applies the paint in layers, sometimes scraping back, revising and repainting his images which are fused together from a wide range of sources including media news, East African legends, internet chat and images lodged in his own personal memory. In the painting Mpeketoni (2015),

Armitage refers to the terrorist attack by Somali militants on the North Coast of Kenya during the last World Cup, where forty-eight men were killed in cold-blood. Armitage depicts a group of women carrying one of the wounded outstretched on a shroud-like cloth, echoing a Goya etching called Feminine Folly from the series ‘Los Disparates’ (c. 1816–23). While in Accident (2015), for which the starting point was a photograph of a bus crash, he revisits a scene of personal trauma: a plane crash he experienced as a teenager, with his father and uncle, deep in the Kenyan bush.

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