Gourmet Fair

Also Out of Africa

A work by Mohammed Omar Khalil (Sudan, born in 1936), Beirut, 2020, exhibited at the AKAA art fair dedicated to contemporary African art and design. Photo ©Bonhams. Handout via The Gourmet Gazette

Paris, France — The groundbreaking art show dedicated to contemporary artists and designers of the African continent, AKAA, Also Known as Africa, Art and Design was played out in the French capital from November 11th to the 14th at the Carreau du Temple. The sixth edition of the show brought a host of African artists and galleries representing African artists to the French capital. Works were exhibited on the venue’s vast exhibition spaces while encounters, conferences and projections, performances and readings rounded out the agenda.

By the artist Morné Visagie, Untitled II (The Last Colour to Fade), 2018-2019, collected, recycled and sewn tarlatan cloth (printing rags) et the AKAA. Courtesy Nuweland. Handout via The Gourmet Gazette

Other highlights of the AKAA art fair included a digital platform to accompany the physical show accessible to the public at large until November 21st at https://akaafair.com/. Meanwhile the artists Tiffanie Delune presented by Congo Biennale and Aristotle Mago, presented by Kin Art Studio were invited for a Carte Blanche in the Great Hall of the Carreau du Temple. While the South African artist Morné Visagie, represented by the Dutch gallery Nuweland presented a monumental work in the central alley of the Great Hall.

From Tiffanie Delune, What I learned from the Seas exhibited at AKAA. Photo courtesy Congo Biennale. Handout via The Gourmet Gazette

The privately owned international auction house Bonhams is one of the prestigious partners of the event and the house conducted an auction of fine and intriguing works by African artists and designers presented at the show on the Bonhams stand at the AKAA. Some 57 works were on display and auctioned during the fair under the hammer of auctioneer Catherine Yaiche, the director of Bonhams France. A large selection of works were on display representing artists from Benin, Algeria, Mozambique, Sudan, Uganda and beyond. Works included The Healer No 1, 1992, by the Ivorian artist Ouattara Watts and J’aime la Couleur (I Like Color) 2004, by Chéri Samba of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Bonhams has been not only a major player but a precursor in the Contemporary African art market. The house held a private exhibition and auction of the works of the Franco-Gabonese artist and activist Owanto the week before the show. Owanto’s works tackle the subject of excision through monumental archive photographs covered with handmade, porcelain flowers. These were exhibited in Bonhams elegant Paris showroom along with the artist’s photographs, neons, an immersive sound installation entitled One Thousand Voices, of audio testimonies from survivors of female excision and a performance of Feeding My Ancestor in a tribute to her Gabonese grandmother.
©Trish Valicenti for The Gourmet Gazette

Overview of the AKAA. Photo courtesy AKAA. Handout via The Gourmet Gazette

A work by Ahmed Ben Driss El Yacoubi (Morocco, 1929-1985) Monkey Head Study, exhibited at the AKAA art fair dedicated to contemporary African art and design. Photo ©Bonhams. Handout via The Gourmet Gazette

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