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Enjoyable highlights at the upcoming ICTAF 2023

With the Investec Cape Town Art Fair just two weeks away, here is a list of what to expect and get excited about for this year’s 10-year-anniversary edition.
Image supplied.

It’s the world in a fair

With the participation of galleries from across Southern Africa, as well as from sub-Saharan centres, Investec Cape Town Art Fair has acquired a genuinely continental identity. Galleries represented have come from Angola, Tunisia and Ivory Coast, to name a few. 

Over the past decade, this has piqued the interest of European and further afar galleries looking to connect with the African art market. The art fair today combines local and international exhibitors, bringing home the best of both.

Image: South African artist Jeanne Gaigher.

Time will bend

The organisers have enlisted the expertise of top curators to explore the theme for 2023: the notion of time. Investigating the passage of experience – both personal and societal – will see some of the world’s leading practitioners putting time in perspective.

Among those appointed are independent curator Natasha Becker (San Francisco, USA), art adviser and Curator Dr Mariella Franzoni (Barcelona, Spain), local writer Sean O’Toole (Cape Town, South Africa) and art dealer and adviser João Ferreira (Lagos, Portugal).

Image: Tanzanian artist Sungi Mlengeya.

SOLO is flying high

SOLO, a special section of the fair, shines a light on the artistic practices of emerging and mid-career artists working locally and abroad through curated solo presentations. From its first iteration, when the special feature explored the effects of the digital world on lived realities and art-making, it has taken audiences through the inner workings of a generation of artists making waves in the world. 

Image: Cape Town-based artist Talia Ramkilawan.

Get a glimpse of Tomorrows/Today and forever 

Officially titled In and Out of Time, the 2023 Investec Cape Town Art Fair theme is woven across the main exhibitions, where Becker and Franzoni explore Maya Angelou’s Still I Rise, a poem about everlasting love and suffering.

Tomorrows/Today & forever engages with the link between our bodies, minds, and social environment; or the affective dimension of our experiences of time, memory, history, imagination, action, and desire.

Artists in this section include Joana Choumali (Côte d’Ivoire) of Gallery 1957, Gino Rubert (Mexico) of LAB36+Galeria Senda, Cassi Namoda (Mozambique) of Goodman Gallery, Deborah Segun (Nigeria) of Bode Projects, Talia Ramkilawan (South Africa) of BKhz Gallery, Githan Coopoo (South Africa) of Everard Read Gallery, Micha Serraf (Zimbabwe) of C24 Gallery, Shamilla Aasha (Zimbabwe) of First Floor Gallery Harare, Carla Hayes (Spain) of Reiners Contemporary Art and Rosie Mudge (South Africa) of SMAC Gallery.

Image: collaboration between artists
Rharha Nembhard and Gemma Shepherd.

There’s both ALT and new

The ALT section made its debut in 2022, dedicated to projects reflecting the many ways the art world had to adapt. For 2023, ALT is dedicated to alternative booth formats and exhibitions that reflect how technological change continuously impacts the art world.

For this section, we encourage applications from non-traditional galleries, including digital and technology-based projects that offer a fresh interpretation of the anti-booth.

Image supplied.

A happening (gathering) space

Art fairs are also excellent networking platforms, and the question of how to connect collectors, galleries, art enthusiasts and institutions across the globe is both a social and cultural one answered by Investec Cape Town Art Fair. The event has, since its debut, offered all visitors, including seasoned art fair aficionados, a highly personalised experience of the Mother City’s art landscape. VIPs can look forward to an exciting programme of events both within the fair and throughout the city.

Talk of the town

Investec Cape Town Art Fair positions its Conversations series firmly in the present, tackling complex debates within the scope of its business-oriented model. Stimulating panel discussions delve into the regional contemporary art scenes and the impact of contemporary African art on the diaspora and beyond. The conversations are not limited to fine art practitioners but also include the experiences of cultural figures, architects, critics and educators.

Cape Town will (once again) transform into a living artwork

The Mother City itself can be likened to a major artwork on display during the Investec Cape Town Art Fair, with special exhibitions and projects taking place across town. The local art scene is booming, and one of the best ways to experience it is by popping into innovative spaces and more traditional galleries. Wherever you go, you can expect to be immersed in diverse, cutting-edge, provocative artworks rich in culture and heritage. 

Art goes walkabout 

Guided tours are open to visitors, offering a chance to see the fair through the eyes of curators, academics, artists and gallerists. The histories and anecdotes about what’s on the walls and what’s in the fair add an extra dimension to the experience. In 2023, the art walkabouts will extrapolate on the theme of time.

You can enjoy darkness and light on Gallery Night

Gallery Night takes the art fair beyond the venue, offering fairgoers a fuller view of Cape Town’s visual art scene. Jump on a City Sightseeing double-decker bus from the Cape Town International Convention Centre on Friday, 17 February, and enjoy a vibrant evening of gallery hopping from the city bowl to Woodstock. Buses are available to all ticket holders of the fair.

The Investec Cape Town Art Fair takes place from Friday, 17 February to Sunday, 19 February at the Cape Town International Conference Centre. Tickets range from R150 – R460 and can be purchased via Webtickets or the official website.