Art & Design Lifestyle

Investec Cape Town Art Fair is Unbound for its 11th Edition

February 6, 2024
Investect Cape Town Art Fair

Turning it up to 11: even more you can’t miss at the 11th Investec Cape Town Art Fair

Investec Cape Town Art Fair will be taking place between 16 – 18 February 2024 at the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC). The biggest and best showcase of all the world’s contemporary art on the continent will offer visitors an especially rich array of special features, highlights and extras. 2024 sees the 11th edition of the Investec Cape Town Art Fair and to celebrate, it’ll bring you 11 things that you simply cannot miss, including some fresh new additions to the line-up of events.

The theme for the curated sections of the 2024 edition of the fair is Unbound. It aims to break free from constrictive narratives and focus on emerging, diverse ‘unbound’ voices as a catalyst for the creation of new possibilities. More than ever, Investec Cape Town Art Fair will celebrate the city of Cape Town – Unbound. Visitors will be offered a programme packed with opportunities to explore the artistic life of the Mother City and experience its cultural institutions. They can enjoy meeting the artists and interacting with the creative community while gaining unprecedented insight into the South African and International art world.

Features to enjoy at Investec Cape Town Art Fair

Investect Cape Town Art Fair
Riaan Bolt Antiques, Dorothy Sibiya (with Philda Majozi and Elisa Xaba), _Flowers and birds_ (1965)

Fabulous first-time features will join the lineup of: 

  • Favourite talks
  • Walkabouts
  • Parties
  • Tours 

There’ll also be opportunities to explore the Mother City’s art ecosystem, including: 

  • Yawa Off White Capsule and Lukhanyo Mdingi collab – a first of its kind at the fair)
  • Brand-new focus on ceramics  
  • GENERATIONS, a debut section featuring cross-generational dialogues between artists

In a groundbreaking initiative, a dedicated booth curated by Igsaan Martin will showcase the works of five emerging artists chosen from a pool of twenty participants in the City of Cape Town’s Emerging Artists Programme. Furthermore, an activation centred around the theme of Unbound in Bo Kaap is poised to connect the city through a unique cultural experience.

1.           Fired up 

          This year, for the first time, the Investec Cape Town Art Fair will present a special project on one of the most exciting artistic mediums emerging as a major force in contemporary artistic expression. Titled ‘Cabinet|Clay‘, this project brings together a selection of ceramic works that showcase artists working in clay.

From the refined work of master ceramicists such as Ian Garrett to those who embrace its potential to express contemporary feminist concerns, such as Frances Goodman, others who explore current evolutions of local heritage and traditional techniques, such as Madoda Fani, Chuma Maweni and Clive Sithole, and yet others, like architect Michal Korycki, who engage with clay’s materiality and inherent ability to express form and construction, ‘Cabinet|Clay’ explores the modern embrace of this ancient medium.

Other artists include:

  • Amogelang Maepa
  • John Newdigate
  • Lisa Ringwood
  • Siyabonga Fani
  • Githan Coopoo
  • Jeanne Hoffman
  • King Houndekpinkou
  • Chuma Maweni
  • Louise Gelderblom
  • Geena Wilkinson
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WORLDART, Geena Wilkinson, SPOG! (blue) 2021 Oil paint, epoxy and underglaze on 448 rolled ceramic balls

2.           A new GENERATION 

            Making its debut at this year’s fair, Generations sets artists from different generations in dialogue with each other to create intergenerational conversations and engender a deeper understanding of both emerging and established voices. By setting off interactions between a selection of 10 artists at different stages of their careers, this section aims to bring to light new insights into both evolving concerns that span generations as well as the jumps and discontinuities, intersections and departures.

Curators Natasha Becker and Amogelang Maledu hope that such conversations will catalyse a more meaningful cultural relationship between past and present. Participating artists include:

  • Esther Mahlangu (The Melrose Gallery) in conversation with Bonolo Kavula (SMAC Gallery)
  • Artists from Rorke’s Drift (Riaan Bolt Antiques) in conversation with Terence Maluleke (Southern Guild)
  • Lulu Mhlana (Jonathan Carver Moore) in conversation with Sedireng Mothibatsela (Ora Loapi)
  • Barry Salzman in conversation with Emme Pretorius (both IS Art Gallery)
  • Kimathi Mafafo (EBONY/CURATED) in conversation with Ayobami Ogungbe (Rele Gallery)
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EBONY:CURATED, Kimathi Mafafo, Emerging Into Self III, 2023 Hand and Machine

3.         What’s the ALTernative?

            The popular ALT section, which made its debut in 2022, has been expanded this year. This fascinating section is dedicated to projects that reflect the “anti-booth”. It’s the many ways in which newly established and non-traditional art project spaces have emerged. The art world has been forced to adapt to circumstance and invent ways that depart from conventional and traditional models. 

ALT represents manifestations of emergent thinking and modes of practice that have broken away from the existing arts ecosystem to reveal the diverse, innovative and alternative artistic universe that exists in and around the continent. There are fourteen exhibitors, which include the likes of:

  • 16 Lerotholi
  • Art Formes
  • artHARARE
  • Borna Soglo Gallery
  • Vela Projects
  • Untitled
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16 on Lerotholi, Mongezi Gum, ‘Midnight Melodies’

4.           Off the WALL 

            This year, WALL will explore one of the hottest and most fascinating areas of recent local art history: the development of South African modernism. WALL will present an overview of work from the 1940s to the recent past that disrupted traditional modes, challenged the art market and forged the foundations of contemporary art production.

This year’s presentation begins by exploring early shifts in the palettes of the works of the likes of Gregoire Boonzaier, George Pemba and Gerard Sekoto and progresses to a more radical rethinking of representational modes in the abstract work of:

  • Cecil Skotnes
  • Ezrom Legae
  • Lucas Sithole
  • Edoardo Villa

It traces the early ‘scapes’ of Kenneth Bakker through to the mystical icons of Larry Scully, Douglas Portway and Kevin Atkinson. Moreover the ‘hidden universe’ made visible by Karel Nel and culminates in the woven ‘spiritualist’ statements of Igshaan Adams. The exhibition also weaves in the narrative approaches in a selection of works by

  • Sam Nhelengethwa
  • Willie Bester
  • Peter Clarke
  • Cecil Skotnes
  • Robert Hodgins
  • Sydney Kumalo
  • Mary Sibanda

Another key component of South Africa’s artistic heritage.

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Anna Laudel, Daniele Sigalot [Italian], Paper planes, 2023

5.           Global gathering 

            After more than a decade, the Investec Cape Town Art Fair has the unique ability to bring together artists from around the globe in a single space. Works from prominent artists from 50 countries around the world are represented by galleries far beyond the traditional art centres, co-mingling and interacting on an equal footing with those from Europe and the USA.

This grand gathering offers art enthusiasts an unparalleled opportunity to appreciate emerging trends and gain insight into the forces shaping cutting-edge collections. The global gathering of artists from around the world includes – from A to Z – the likes of:

  • Romina Ressia (Argentina)
  • Pieter Vermeersch (Belgium)
  • Alfredo Jaar (Chile)
  • Cinthia Sifa Mulanga (DRC)
  • Ibrahim Khatab (Egypt)
  • James Mishio (Ghana)
  • Manjot Kaur (India)
  • Daniele Sigalot (Italy)
  • Carl-Edouard Keïtai (Ivory Coast)
  • Maria Sosa Ruiz (RojoNegro) (Mexico)
  • Ikeorah Chisom Chi-FADA (Nigeria)
  • Dan Perjovschi (Romania)
  • Robert Gabris (Slovakia)
  • William Kentridge (South Africa)
  • Igshaan Adams (South Africa)
  • Maria Lai (South Africa)
  • Sam Nhlengethwa (South Africa)
  • Marc Herrero (Spain)
  • Ardan Özmenoğlu (Turkey)
  • Daniel Atenyi (Uganda)
  • Gabe BC (USA)
  • Yinka Shonibare (UK)
  • Helen Teede (Zimbabwe)

Such diverse influences make for an incredible viewing of contemporary art.

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Goodman Gallery, Yinka Shonibare [British], Bee Keeper Boy II

6.           It’s a material world 

        The meaningful, unconventional, and original ways in which artists from Africa and the diaspora harness the expressive power of materials in contemporary art practice are nothing short of breathtaking. These approaches open avenues of expression that can be difficult to categorize.

Fabric and textiles, exemplified by the work of Zanoxolo Sylvester Mqeku and Sizwe Sama Sibisi, have gained prominence as a significant medium. Various craft-based techniques are also exemplified such as Pierre Fouché’s lacework, and in others, wire sculpture and Zenaéca Singh, who works with molasses, sugar paste, panes of crystallised sugar and resin. The use of found and discarded materials is multifaceted.

Nicholas Hlobo and Tesprit’s use of sculpted rubber, is just one particularly powerful example. Chris Soal’s use of mundane objects such as toothpicks and bottle caps has the most unexpected results. Usha Seejarim’s reinterpretations of ordinary and domestic objects such as safety pins, wooden pegs, irons and brooms are among the better-known artists using assemblage as a way of incorporating found objects into artworks. Laetitia Ky‘s use of hair, for example, has become the basis of a unique methodology. 

Investect Cape Town Art Fair
LIS10 Gallery, Laetitia Ky, Free c-print, mounting on diasec-plexiglass satin

7.           Fashion Forward + Retail Therapy 

           A pioneering addition to Investec Cape Town Art Fair 2024 is Black Coffee, Themba, and Arie Fabian’s fashion, music and art platform – Yawa. Yawa will exclusively launch their limited-edition fashion capsule collection in collaboration with eponymous designer Lukhanyo Mdingi in an immersive retail experience.

As an LVMH prize alumnus and the recent winner of the Amiri prize, Lukhanyo Mdingi and YAWA’s co-branded “LM x YAWA” collaboration takes inspiration from 1970s/80s music colour-ways. The limited-edition fashion pieces will be available for purchase at the fair. Mdingi will also speak in the Talks Programme as part of “Creativity Unbound” – an exploration into creative collaborations, taking place on day two of Investec Cape Town Art Fair.

YAWA will also release its limited edition “OFF-WHITE™️ LOGIC” capsule collection, celebrating the 10th anniversary of the late fashion designer Virgil Abloh’s label. The fair’s organisers have produced a selection of notebooks, chocolates, T-shirts and totes available for those seeking Investec Cape Town Art Fair memorabilia.

The fair has also collaborated with various local designers on an ‘Exclusives’ range, which includes candles, espresso and cappuccino cups. Granadilla Swimwear has produced an exclusive artist range of swim shorts, especially for the fair, too. A curated range of jewellery by Pichulik will also be available. Beyond this dedicated retail section, the fair will also have a range of art magazines, journals and publications available for visitors to purchase.

Investect Cape Town Art Fair
Galerie Cécile Fakhoury, Carl-Edouard Keïta, Candide, 2022

8.           Through the lens

            The medium of photography has assumed a hugely significant role in the rise of contemporary art from Africa. It has enabling the representation of new perspectives, being harnessed in the exploration of place, history and identity, and being used by artists to develop new aesthetics. It remains a medium through which artists find seemingly unending possibilities, from conventional photography through video work and digital manipulation.

The fair includes a broad range of works throughout its sections, ranging from historic documentary work by the likes of the legendary Jürgen Schadeberg to contemporary masters of the medium such as:

  • Andrew Tshabangu
  • Guy Tillim
  • Jo Ractliff
  • Daniel Naudé

These established photographers are complemented by the most exciting newcomers like 21-year-old Sarfo Emmanuel Annor of Koforidua, Ghana, who uses his smartphone to revive the art of portraiture. The likes of Sabelo Mlangeni and Jabulani Dhlamini (and his protege Thembinkosi Hlatshwayo) keep the documentary tradition alive and well. Photography as a medium continues to spill over in other experimental media, as is the work of LegakwanaLeo Makgekgenene.

Many renowned multimedia artists include elements of photography in their work. Including depictions of the artists themselves in diverse personas, notably by artists such as Mary Sibande, Thania Petersen and Nandipha Mnthambo. Ugandan photographer Ethel Aanyu does something similar. And everywhere, photography and video art combined with performance, assemblage and other multimedia forms. The ongoing innovation through the medium of photography in contemporary art from Africa and the diaspora remains hugely significant and a burgeoning field of invention. 

Investect Cape Town Art Fair
No Man’s Art Gallery_María Sosa [Mexican], Tepalcates de Xipe (Series) (2023)

9.           Cultural connections 

            Investec Cape Town Art Fair not only brings together galleries and artists, but also a wide range of the city’s other cultural institutions. Large foundations with private collections such as the Norval Foundation, Zeitz MOCAA, Irma Stern and the A4 Arts Foundation all play a significant role in the cultural and social life of the region. This sustains the artistic ecosystem, education and broader artistic and cultural economy as much as public museums and institutions such as Iziko Museums do.

Through research, public exhibitions, publications and educational programmes – as well as the custodianship and preservation of collections – these organisations contribute enormously to the enrichment of the region’s cultural life. Moreover, educational projects like the Lalela Project, which will also participate in the fair, collaborate with contemporary artists in an innovative after-school arts education programme to bring positive social change to at-risk youth.

Furthermore, visitors to the fair will have an opportunity to gain insight into and understanding of the non-commercial arts activities that sustain contemporary arts production. These activities establish the cultural climate that catalyses artistic innovation, not to mention fostering cross-cultural understanding in the region.

10.        Bo-Kaap and beyond 

            Among the events, a public art and urban intervention has been planned for the historic inner-city area of the Bo-Kaap, giving visitors a taste of how Cape Town has established itself as one of the most attractive and interesting art destinations in the world. In Bo-Kaap, two pop-up exhibitions hosted by international galleries, Galerie EIGEN + ART, will run for the duration of the Fair, from 10th to 18th February and Suburbia Contemporary, will run from 10th to 15th February. Additionally, all participating Cape Town galleries will also be open with exciting exhibitions, tours, and picnics taking place throughout the city. The Bo Kaap Museum will host a performance piece by Thania Petersen, accompanied by local dancers and musicians in a reimagining piece about the Cape’s history and the stories of its people.

Investect Cape Town Art Fair
Osart Gallery, Ikeorah Chisom Chi-FADA, Besides the Still Waters, 2023

11.        Talks and walks 

            One of the major draw cards of the Investec Cape Town Art Fair has always been its programme of talks, dialogues, conversations, debates, discussions and presentations by artists, curators, gallerists, academics, writers and collectors. A daily programme of guided walkabouts will again be on offer this year – a perfect opportunity for first-time visitors to orient themselves, gain an overview of the offerings on the fair and establish an understanding of the artists and artworks on view.  The full programme of talks and the schedule of walkabouts is available on the fair website.

            The Walkabouts Programme, curated by Art School Africa, will feature walkabouts by:

  • Dr. Mariella Franzoni (curator of Tomorrows/Today)
  • Sean O’Toole (curator of SOLO)
  • Phokeng Setai and Alex Richards (co-founders of Exhibition Match)
  • Natasha Becker and Amogelang Maledu (co-curators of the new GENERATIONS section)
  • Alice Toich (Artist)
  • Max Melvill (Creative)
  • Karabo Morule (Entrepreneur)
  • Andrew Lamprecht (Curator)
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Podnar, Dan Perjovschi [Romanian, Untitled I, (2023)

The Investec Cape Town Art Fair in numbers

Investect Cape Town Art Fair
WALL, Kumalo, Sydney ‘Mother and child’

Need to know details about Investec Cape Town Art Fair 

Investect Cape Town Art Fair
Iadema Studio, Tamary Kudita, Hair tales

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