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BerandaLifestyleArt & CultureInvestec Cape Town Art Fair Opens 11th Edition, with an Emphasis on...

Investec Cape Town Art Fair Opens 11th Edition, with an Emphasis on Highlighting South Africa’s Local Art Scene

“Let’s keep in touch,” reads an inscription on a pink ceramic vessel by Cape Town–based sculptor Githan Coopoo that has been placed near the entrance to the Investec Cape Town Art Fair. Coopoo’s optimistic sentiment was palpable in the Cape Town International Convention Centre during the VIP preview on Thursday for the fair’s 11th edition, which includes more than 100 exhibitors from 24 countries. The energy had actually started a few days earlier as the Mother City’s annual art week kicked off with exhibitions, performances, and talks across the breezy ocean town.The vernissage saw a crowd of around 5,000 attendees which included largely local collectors taking an early look at 400 works mainly by African artists and artists its diasporas. Key local market heavyweights like Goodman Gallery, Stevenson, SMAC Gallery, WHATIFTHEWORLD, and Southern Guild, which will open a Los Angeles outpost later this month, showed alongside Kenya’s Circle Art, Galerie Cécile Fakhoury from Côte d’Ivoire, A.Gorgi from Tunisia, Botswana-based Ora Loapi, and Borna Soglo Gallery from Benin. Several  Italian exhibitors, such as Galleria Giovanni Bonelli, Galleria Anna Marra and Shazar Gallery, were also on hand, likely due to the fair’s Milanese owner company, Fiera Milano. 99dewa

Laura Vincenti, the fair’s director, described the last decade as “a learning curve.” In that time, she has focused on bringing “galleries with content that communicates with the local scene,” she told ARTnews. “I have learned that not all galleries are prepared to show in Cape Town.”

In addition to the main gallery section, Investec also includes eight curated sections like Generations, which is new to the fair this year. (Exhibitors can participate in multiple sections.) Organized by Natasha Becker and Amogelang Maledu, Generations pairs young artists with established names to show parallels between artists’ work across decades. Johannesburg-based painter Boemo Diale, who exhibited with South African gallery Kalashnikovv Gallery, received the section’s cash prize of $80,000 South African Rand (around $4,200). 99dewa

“The goal is to create fresh perspective on historical figures through the lens of contemporary artists who are in dialogue with the past,” Becker told ARTnews.

One example is placing SMAC Gallery’s presentation of Bonolo Kavula’s ephemeral geometric cutouts of shweshwe cloth adjacent to the Melrose Gallery’s booth dedicated to color-bursting paintings and sculptures by Esther Mahlangu, the grand dame of South Africa’s art scene, whose career survey at the Iziko South African National Gallery also opened this week. 99dewa