The theme of the fair this year is Looking Back and Looking Forward. In looking back at the role art has played in shaping South African history, visiting curator Zoe Whitley of London’s Tate Modern is staging the exhibition Truth, or Some Other Abstraction. It shines a light on SA’s modern artists before 1994, including some items very seldom seen such as a sculpture by Lucky Sibiya and a wood carving by Cecil Skotnes from FirstRand’s collection.
"We are looking to partner with collections that are publicly accessible, so once the fanfare around the 10th anniversary moment and the weekend of the fair dies down, people will have at the forefront of their minds that there is a lot of art of historical significance that they can access elsewhere in the city," says Whitley.
Artists with international standing are engaged with the fair, which has effect on future generations. William Kentridge’s initiative, The Centre for the Less Good Idea, is launching a film public programme on Mandela Square during the fair. Ndebele artist Esther Mahlangu is exhibiting her new BMW 7 series signature car for the first time to local audiences.
"SA has the healthiest possible environment for creativity to thrive," says Whitley.
There are six young female artists presenting solo works, including a bright star of the future, Bronwyn Katz, represented by Blank Projects. Buhlebezwe Siwani will exhibit at Whatiftheworld’s booth.
"If you look at collections around the world — women artists have not been represented as well, it is quite a milestone for us as an art fair," says Sibeko.
Berlin-based Robin Rhode is the featured artist of the fair. He is putting up an installation that will challenge audiences to think of issues beyond today.
The FNB Joburg Art Fair is at the Sandton Convention Centre on September 8-10.