Artists are creative thinkers and makers who provide us with stories that chronicle our own lives and experiences over time. Their work reflects joy and inspiration, but also gives thoughtful critique to our political, economic, and social systems. It reflects cultural values and beliefs, and has the powerful ability to offer solutions to the economic and societal challenges of our shrinking world.
Long before becoming involved in the FNB Joburg Art Fair, I saw it as a vibrant incubator for our most relevant storytellers. It affirmed my commitment to the local art scene, as did my global travels in 2010, during which, immersed in the lifestyles of foreign cities, I witnessed tangible, everyday stories that spoke to the history and character of each place. I knew then that our artists must be the ones to preserve, articulate, and celebrate South Africa’s culture.
Of late, we have enjoyed some exhilarating achievements. The Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa, was opened in Cape Town, as was The Museum of African Contemporary Art Al Maaden in Morocco. Both the Goodman and Stevenson galleries are present at Art Basel. Smithsonian’s National Museum of African Art honoured Mary Sibande from Gallery Momo. Kemang Wa Lehulere was named Deutsche Bank‘s ‘Artist of the Year’ 2017. Umlazi-born Zanele Muholi is collected across three continents. And, further afield, Nigerian Okwui Enwezor was appointed curator at the 2015 Venice Biennale.
Our globally loved artists deserve spaces that stimulate our dreams and aspirations, and interrogate our challenges. For this to happen we must all show support and advocate for culture. Because the more powerful this discourse, the more inspired our nation will be to truly commit to a shared, beneficent vision.
To celebrate vigorous, outspoken South African art, please join me at the 11th edition of the FNB Joburg Art Fair, from 6 to 9 September at the Sandton Convention Centre.
Mandla Sibeko is an entrepreneur and director of the FNB Joburg Art Fair.
- From the September edition of Wanted magazine.