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A Glimpse into Africa’s Burgeoning Art Market in 2023

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Artsy released a collector insight as of September 2023 that prompts contemplation about Africa’s position in the global art investment landscape. With its burgeoning community of artists and collectors, Africa stands ready to make significant strides in the art market, thanks partly to initiatives like the recent launch of the BMW Young Collectors Program. However, many questions remain unanswered: What percentage of Africa’s growing population actively engages with the arts? How are they connecting with both private and public art dealers? And most crucially, how are these interactions translating into art sales?

The year’s first three quarters have proven particularly significant for Africa’s art scene. Local and international artists have been showcasing their works at major art fairs. These include the prestigious Art Basel and the renowned 1-54 Art Fair. In light of these developments, let’s delve into three critical insights regarding the African art market.

Miska Mohammed, Sudanese, 1995- Artsy Curators pick this week.
Tranquility ||, Acrylic on canvas, 120×200 cm. Series: The magic of forgotten places 202

Digital Connectivity Boosts Local Art Sales for Emerging Artists

The digital realm has become an undeniable catalyst for the art market’s evolution. According to Artsy and the Art Basel 2023 report, digital art sales have surged. They account for at least 60% of art transactions in recent months. The growing presence of artists on social media platforms, especially Instagram, contributes to this surge. Instagram has enabled them to connect easily with a vast and diverse audience.

But how does this heightened digital engagement translate into tangible sales? The answer is clear: More emerging artists are selling their artworks and digital creations through online channels, meaning that the art market has become more accessible and inclusive. Art dealers, who wield significant influence in the art world, are increasingly turning to online platforms for talent scouting. A simple online search can connect them with artists who have already made a name for themselves internationally.

Rising Interest in Art and Collecting

One of Africa’s most encouraging trends in its evolving art landscape is its population’s interest in art and collecting. As the continent experiences economic growth and urbanization, more individuals recognize art’s cultural and financial value. Galleries, museums, and educational institutions are pivotal in nurturing this interest by organizing Antique art auctions, exhibitions, workshops, and educational programs. Through these programs, audiences understand Art investments and collections.

This growing passion for art is not limited to the elite; a more diverse and inclusive group of collectors is emerging. With programs like the BMW Young Collectors Program, which seeks to support and mentor young collectors, the art world is becoming increasingly accessible to individuals from various backgrounds. This democratization of art collecting enriches cultural identity and drives market growth.

Hazel Mphande- showing at 1-54 London. A Fatalistic Warning, 2021, Archival pigment on Felix Schoeller True Fibre, 62 x 45 cm, 

Bridging the Gap Between Local and Global Markets

The African art market is no longer confined to local boundaries in an era of increased global connectivity. Thanks to international art fairs like Art Basel and the 1-54 Art Fair, African artists have a platform to showcase their work on the global stage. These events attract international collectors and foster collaborations between African and international artists.

Moreover, African art is being increasingly integrated into the global art market. Auction houses feature works by African artists, and major art institutions are dedicating space to showcase African contemporary art. This integration allows African artists to gain recognition and appreciation beyond their local markets.

Africa’s art market is experiencing a remarkable transformation. This is marked by increasing digital connectivity, rising interest in art and collecting, and greater integration into the global art arena. While challenges remain, including preserving traditional art forms and navigating cultural sensitivities, the trajectory is undeniably positive. Africa’s artists and collectors are at the forefront of shaping a vibrant and inclusive art landscape that promises cultural enrichment and economic growth.


Rose Mwikali Musyoki is a creative writer from Nairobi, Kenya. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Business and Finance from the University of Embu, Kenya, and is the founder of Bloom Inc, an art startup in Kenya. Currently, she works as a writer for Art News Africa.

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