FNB Jorbug Art Fair features blossoming East African art

The just concluded FNB Joburg Art Fair engaged in regional show case with their main focus on East Africa. The Sandton Convention Centre exhibition attracted art and artists from Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia, Burundi and Tanzania, hailed as the organizers best attempt in positioning it as an African event.

The artists list included: Wangechi Mutu, a Kenyan-born US based artist who exhibited a multi-media installation presented by Keyes Art Mile and solo presentations by Ethiopian Aida Muluneh, Jim Chuchu from Kenya and The Nest Collective representing Kenya also featured alongside site-specific works by Burundi’s Serge Alain Nitegeka and Sanaa Gateja from Uganda. 

Kenyan born Wangechi Mutu’s works included “The End of Eating Everything” a 2013 short film and a sculpture installation christened “Sleeping Serpent II”, while the Nest Collective in collaboration with Goethe Institut showcased two films “They Sent You” and “Black Fantasia” an imaginative documentation of Nairobi.

Inspiring Ethiopian photographer Aida Muluneh, whose photography showcased historic events and including her “Denkinesh Series”, a collection of photographs representing the artist’s interpretation of “Lucy” an early hominid species, Australopithecus afarensis, discovered in Ethiopia in 1974 and dated to about 3.2 million years ago.’ Besides the “Denkinesh Series”, Muluneh also brought to the fair photos from her “World 9 Series” a reflection of her nine years in Ethiopia after living abroad, coincidentally celebrated her 9-year stay in Ethiopia by showcasing her work at the 9th FNB Joburg Art Fair!

South African based Serge Alain Nitegeka still considers himself as an East African. He was born in Burundi, but was forced to flee during the 1993 civil war consequently living in many countries including Rwanda, Central Africa Republic, and Kenya among others. He later settled in South Africa, where as an invisible refugee he horned his artistic side and attracted a huge fan base. His installations mirrored the experiences of refugees and the challenges they have to face.

Ugandan artist Sanaa Gateja showcased art that would be described as mixed media experimental, titled; ‘Youth as One’ Sanaa uses recycled materials to make a collage of well-crafted masterpieces. The top Ugandan artist has earned a great international reputation due to his unique creativity.

Kenya’s Artspace Gallery, who were among the featured galleries from Africa, exhibited “Helter Skelter” a mixed media series from Kenyan-born artist Paul Onditi’s catalogue, “Helter Skelter” relates to the socio-political and humanity. On the other hand, The National Gallery of Zimbabwe presented a solo exhibition titled “Seuswa/Akin to Grass” featuring veteran artist and scholar Chikonzero Chazunguza, an internationally renowned artist whose career spans 20 years. His art majorly, looks at post-colonial Africa with her inherited problems and challenges occasioned by war, famine and ignorance.

The fair also hosted a series of TEDxJohannesburg Talks themed on the contemporary visual arts of Africa.     

The successful FNB Joburg Art fair was held at the Sandton Convention Centre and ran from 9th to 11th September.

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